Janice Dell, a thirty-five-year-old accountant was still working when the other accountants left for the day. Harry Carson, a colleague, stopped at her cubicle. “Hey, Janice, it’s time to go home. Come on, I’ll walk you out.”
“No, thanks, Harry, I’m going to stay for a while longer and take care of some unfinished work.”
“Okay. See you tomorrow,” he said and left.
Janice sat back and sighed. “What’s the point of going home to an empty apartment? Everybody has somebody, but I don’t have anybody. The bar scene is terrible, a waste of time. Match-making is a waste of time. There has to be a way. My biological clock is ticking, and I’m afraid I’ll never have a child. Oh, well, I might as well go home,” she said, turned off her computer, went to her car, and drove home.
As she was driving slowly along a foggy, two-lane road, her steering and brakes failed, the car went into the oncoming lane and she crashed into an oncoming car. She was transported to a hospital emergency room where she was examined and admitted.
The next afternoon, Dr. Elway visited Janice. “Well, Ms. Dell, other than a few cuts and bruises, you are in good shape. Your seat belt and air bag probably saved your life. With rest, you’ll be fine. If you have a comfortable night, I’ll discharge you tomorrow after breakfast. Have a good night,” he said and left. A short while later, a man about forty entered her room. “Ms. Dell, my name is Jason Weld. May I come in?”
“Uh, do I know you?”
“Actually, you don’t. I was in the car your car hit.”
“Oh, my God. I’m so glad you’re alright. Please, come in.”
“Thank you,” he said and pulled a chair up to her bed. “I wanted to know how you were, and I see you’re okay. I’m glad.”
“I have a few cuts and bruises, but nothing serious. The doctor said the seat belt and air bag probably saved me. The doctor said he’s going to discharge me after breakfast tomorrow.”
“Can I give you a ride home?”
“Did you get a new car?”
“I had two cars, so how about a ride.”
“That would be great if it’s not an inconvenience.”
“It’s not an inconvenience. I’ll come back tomorrow morning around ten. Have a good night,” he said and left. The next morning, Jason arrived at ten, drove her home, and walked with her to her front door. “Uh, Janice, would you join me for dinner tomorrow?”
“Dinner? Uh, yes, I would like that.”
“Great. I’ll pick you up at 7:00. Will that be okay?”
“Yes. I’ll be waiting out front.”
“Okay. See you then,” he said and left.
There were many more dates, and after three months of dating, at dinner one evening, Janice and Jason confessed their love for each other.
“Well, since we love each other, I think it’s time for us to live together.”
“Janice, I would love that, but it’s not simple.”
“What do you mean?”
He took her hands in his. “Darling, I love you, and I would love for us to be together, but, but…”
“But what, Jason?”
“This is so difficult to explain. Janice, do you agree that there is a lot we don’t understand about…about life and…and death?
“Of course, but what are you getting at?”
“After the accident, you ended up in the hospital. When I came to see you, did you wonder why I didn’t have a scratch on me? Did you wonder why I didn’t look like a person who was in a an accident?”
Janice thought for several moments. “I didn’t think about it then, but I’m thinking about it now, and now I’m really confused.”
“Janice, when we collided, I, well, you’re not going to believe this, but the truth is, I died.
“Jason, do you hear yourself? You died? Jason, did you escape from a mental institution?”
“Believe me, Janice, I’m not insane.”
“Okay, what’s the rest of this absurd story?”
“It sounds absurd, but it’s true. After the accident, as though by magic, at the moment I died, I stood on the road and watched the EMTs put you in the ambulance.”
“You stood on the road and…what? Okay, now you’re supposed to tell me what the joke is.”
“I’m not joking. Janice, I died in the accident. As I watched, I heard a voice…in my head. The voice told me that I was not ready to be taken, and could function almost like a live person, but, at some time in the future, and I would never know when, I would be taken.”
“This is preposterous. Are you a writer? Are you writing a fantasy? I don’t believe any of this. Taken? Taken where? What are you talking about? Look, I love you, but…”
“Janice, please believe me. It sounds crazy, I know and I agree, but it’s true. I’m dead, and I could be taken any time. How can I prove that I’m dead? Remember, I said I could function almost like a live person. Almost,” he said, stood and helped Janice stand. “Now, I want you to push your hand against my chest.”
“Okay,” she said and pushed her hand against his chest and her arm went through his body. “Oh, my God,” she yelled, pulled her arm out, and fainted. After a few moments, she opened her eyes.
“Well, do you believe me, now?”
“I believe you.”
“If we are in love, if we live together, you will eventually want to get married. Janice, knowing that I could be taken at any time, would you want to marry me? We could be making love, and I could disappear. Do you want to live like that?”
Janice looked at Jason for several moments. “Alright, I believe you, and I love you. Yes, I’ll take the risk. Now, let’s plan our wedding. Time is our enemy.”
“Janice, we don’t have time for a wedding.”
“You’re right. We don’t have time,” she said, put her hands to her face and sobbed. After a few moments, she looked at Jason through tear-filled eyes. “It just struck me. I could lose you at any moment. Jason, I love you and I don’t want to lose you.”
“I don’t want to lose you either, but it’s going to happen. I’m going to be taken,” he said and hugged her. “I’ve caused you pain. I never should have let this happen. I’m sorry.”
“Please don’t be sorry. Before you came into my life, I was lonely. Now, I’m not lonely. I’m happy. Even if we have a short time together, it will be a happy time for me. I don’t have any regrets. Jason, my love, before it’s too late, I want a baby. I want your baby.”
Jason looked lovingly at her for several moments. “Okay. You’ll have a baby.”
The next morning, at breakfast, Jason held her hands. “Darling, you are going to be a mother,” he said, and, as she looked into his eyes, he disappeared; he was taken.
Nine months later, Janice gave birth to a boy. Her son, whom she named Jason, grew into a healthy, handsome young man, who would not let her forget his father. Her son looked, talked, and sounded like his father. As her son grew up and went his way, and she grew old, the man she loved and had in her life for a short time, was in her heart to the end when she was taken, possibly to be with the man she loved.
While teaching speech and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College. After retiring, he wrote short stories, novellas, and plays. Several of his stories were published in on-line magazines, and others were published in print anthologies.
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