Twenty-One Stories

A man has flashbacks about his life before he dies.

Twenty-One Stories

      I remember asking her to marry me. I picture her face as she jumped in the air. I imagine holding her in my embrace. I visualize her smile, her look at me. I recall the feel from her eyes. I remember where it was warm. I felt the sand and the crisp breeze from the water. I flash through everyday we spent together.

      I remember him, my first son. I named him after his grandfather Adrian who died overseas. I hear him say dad, his first word. I can see me holding him towards the sky; I’m watching him laugh. I recalled the day he told me he wanted to work in an office like me. I persisted in telling him to not be like me. He never listened. I talked at his career day at P.S. Manhattan New School. I remember taking him to the Museum of Natural History. I remember walking through Central Park.

      I remember today. I remember telling my co-worker Tim about my gift for my wife. Tim and I always shared long chats in the long elevator going up the North Tower. I showed it to Tim before we got to the 21st floor. I told Tim that I am going to give it to Whitney right after work, before she asked how my day was. I placed it on the corner of my desk. I remember the pink ribbon. She hates ribbon.

       I kneel here in the darkness, with the death and sorrow. The rubble clogs the space behind me, and I’m trapped against the edge of the building. But yet the smoke continuously pours into the office space through every direction. I kneel in the circle of space I cleared next to the  window. I gaze upon the cracked window stretched in front of me. Suddenly I hear a man’s scream. Tim? The scream immediately becomes louder and louder, and within a single breath, a single mass jumps over the debris behind me. A scorching flame as bright as a tangerine sizzles right over my head, directly shattering through the window. The scream lasts for about two more seconds before it becomes muffled.

Time is gradually closing in. Paper flies through the window, and the roof collapses. I am becoming even more pinned into my confinement. I take out my cell phone and hit redial. No answer. I look from the cell phone to the shattered window. I redialed again, and left a message “Listen to me very carefully, okay?...Don’t worry about me alright? Everything will be fine...make sure to tell my boy I love him, I’m afraid I won’t be able to tell him tonight...I have to go...I love you..happy anniversary, remember me.” I shut the phone as tears welled up in my eyes. In the debris I see a broken picture of Adrian and Whitney. I see his toy car, and her ribbon. The memories flow in as my life flows out. Metal and shards of wood fly past me. Out the window, debris and other things fall from above. I stand up and walk to the edge of the window. I leap.


The End

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