Restoration

9 07 2012

I had been completely caught up in my own thoughts when I nearly ran into him. “God bless you, sir,” he said. I could tell he had been through some rough times. His white-bearded face angled down between his stooped shoulders and he didn’t quite meet my eyes with his. In one hand he held a battered guitar case.  In the other he held a grimy, plastic grocery store bag. They were all his possessions in the world.

I stopped and turned to him.  He stopped as well and waited. Perhaps he expected a curse or hoped for a handout, but he waited nonetheless. My mind had been swirling, caught in little selfish eddies of how my newfound power might benefit me and lift me up from my own lows. Then, looking at a man who had fallen into much greater depths than myself, everything cleared.

He looked at me strangely at first when I held out my hand for him to take. Setting his guitar case on the ground, he reached out and grasped my hand with a weak grip. He moved to pull his hand back but I clasped it firmer using both of mine. Looking up into my intently staring eyes, he widened his.

I didn’t know exactly what would happen. I had used my powers to restore my own leg when it had been broken that morning, but I had no idea what I hoped to accomplish with an old homeless man. I let out a little bit of a laugh when I felt the warmth and tingle move down my arms into my hands. 

The man’s clear blue eyes were still fixed on my own. Tears started streaming down his cheeks.  He no longer struggled to free his hand, but just stood there looking at me with wonder as a change started taking place. It was subtle at first but I could soon see what effect my power was having. Years were shedding off his face, the crinkle around his eyes softened. The hoary color of his beard and balding head began darkening while the crown of his head sprouted new hair. His shoulders straightened up and life returned to those eyes that were still locked with mine.

In a matter of mere seconds, the old man who stood before me was transformed into a young man.  I let go of his hand and then nearly collapsed.  He grabbed my arm to steady me and then helped me sit down on the curb. My limbs were weak and pinpricks of light swarmed over my vision.  The feeling of certainty that I would pass out quickly left, but I knew it would be a while before I could stand on my own.

I looked up at the completely changed man that stood before me and smiled feebly. He examined his hands carefully and then turned his attention to his reflection in the glass storefront. He shook his head slowly. “It’s like I’m twenty again.” Then he looked at me with a bit of suspicion. “Am I dead? Is this what happens when you pass on?”

“No,” I said.  “You aren’t dead and this sure isn’t heaven.” 

He looked up and down the street and chuckled. “You sure got that right, mister.” He sighed and shook his head again. “Say, how did you do it?”

I shook my head wearily.  “I don’t know myself. It’s … it’s just something I started to be able to do.  I can fix things just by touching them, restore them to brand new. I … I’ve never tried it on a person before.”

“I wish I could do something for you, you know, to pay you back for … for this,” he said indicating his new youthful self.

As he spoke, I had a vision of old and decrepit men lined up around the block waiting for me to restore them while I lay on the ground with no strength left to lift my arm. “There is something you can do.  Forget you ever met me. Just go on and start your life over or whatever. Just forget I ever existed and tell no one about me.”

I remembered that I still had the money from selling my car earlier that afternoon. I reached into my pocket and pulled out three hundred dollars.  I counted it out in front of him and then held it out to him. “Here,” I said. “Take this money, buy yourself a suit or something. Start your life over, I don’t care, just remember you don’t remember me.”

He took the money, picked up his guitar case and started off up the road. I waited until I couldn’t see him anymore and then pulled myself to my feet. A wave of vertigo hit me, but I forced my way through it and started in the other direction. After a couple blocks I sat down in a covered bus stop. My head spun and blackness enveloped my consciousness. I passed out there in the bus stop. I didn’t know it then, but it was a good thing that I had relocated myself because that man didn’t forget about me. Our lives would intersect again, but I’m sure if he had found me sitting there on that same curb he left me only twenty minutes later, things would have turned out a lot differently for the both of us.

(If you are interested in me turning this short excerpt into a longer piece, let me know in the comments.)

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One response

10 07 2012
Nita Montgomery

I would love to see this a longer piece. I love your style.

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