Flashes of Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1) - DNR

Submitted: September 05, 2019

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Submitted: September 05, 2019

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Jules started walking towards a wooden platform extending over the water of the pond. I was still trying to grapple with the significance of what he had just told me. Wait – this can’t be real. This has to be part of my hallucinations. Isabel tells me she’s going to have a baby and now my mind is using this information to incorporate it into this fantasy world. I chastised myself mentally for over-reacting.

I walked over to where Jules was as he was leaning against the wooden ledge overlooking the pond. “So, all this time – all these visions that I’ve been having with you, now you’re telling me you’re Isabel’s unborn son? Really?” I started chuckling. “If this is the new direction my visions want to take me, then so be it. I guess deep down inside, my mind is trying to rationalize and justify my decision all those years ago to save your mom’s life at the expense of my own future. Is that it? Is that what’s going on?”

As much as I tried to keep myself calm, I started feeling angry. This new information is starting to change the dynamic and the feel of my visions. They don’t feel as comforting and fulfilling as they did before. “Jules, I don’t buy this … this notion that because I saved Isabel so she could have children is such a noble thing. And even if what you’re telling me is true, what about all the children that I couldn’t have because of my so-called heroic impulses? How come she gets to have children and live a normal life and I don’t?”

“Because there is no such thing as destiny,” Jules said softly. “The flow of events has always been unpredictable, always uncertain and always changing. Every single event has the capacity to affect all future events – you know that. Remember that time when you were in Elementary School and you were looking for a book in the library? When you found it, you reached up to pull it out and you accidentally dropped another book on the floor.

“It was a book about the speed of light and about how long it takes the light from the stars to reach your eyes, remember? You went to sit down on the table and you read that book from start to finish. That night you asked your dad to buy you a telescope for your birthday. After that, it was a chemistry set. Then it was a microscope. Even after your mom died, you decided you wanted to study the sciences and make a career out of it. And you excelled. That one book dropping next to your feet when you were little may have set the course of your history and put you in that power plant on that fateful day.”

“How do I know if this is really true and not just part of these hallucinations that my mind is conjuring up?”

“I can prove to you that what I am saying is the truth. I will tell you a secret that you don’t already know. After the accident, my mom felt very guilty for what she had caused. She had trouble coping with her anxieties to the point when less than a year ago, she tried to take her own life. Then she found out she was pregnant with me.”

“That’s not proof. How do I know that my own mind isn’t lying to me?”

Then he morphed again.

(Jules at five years old)

Jules was sitting on the wooden ledge merrily swinging his feet. He brought up his little arms wanting me to hold him. As I picked him up, he looked up to the sky. “Do you know how big the universe is?” he asked with his cute lisp. “It’s this big!” he said in awe holding his arms up to the heavens as wide as he could. “The universe has always done whatever it wants to. It has never done nothin’ that we’ve ever wanted it to do.” He kept staring up at the sky. “But sometimes, when you’re really, really good, the universe will give you a big surprise.”

“What kind of surprise?” I asked.

He wrapped his little arms around my neck. “It’s a surprise that’ll last a lifetime.” He cupped my cheeks with his hands and stared into my eyes. “But you can’t get your surprise until after you let go okay?”

This little boy seemed so innocent, but yet something about him made him seem wiser beyond his years, even beyond my years. I feel like he has all the answers but he’s only giving me little puzzle pieces of the whole picture waiting for me to piece them together. Could all these different versions of Jules actually be true manifestations of Isabel’s son? And why a son? According to Isabel, she didn’t know if it was going to be a boy or a girl. If she ends up having a girl, that would certainly throw a wrench into the validity of all these visions I’ve been having.

“Jules, I don’t understand. You keep telling me that I need to let go. All your other selves keep telling me the same thing. Let go of what?

(Jules at age thirteen)

At first, it was quite disorienting watching Jules shifting from one age to another. There was no pattern and no way to predict which version of Jules would be appearing in front of me next. But now for some strange reason, it just seemed natural, almost like an expectation.

“Julian, you have been given something really special that not too many people get the privilege to receive. You’ve always wondered what it would’ve been like to have children of your own. Every time you saw other parents playing with their kids – teaching them; hugging them; protecting them; holding them; pushing them on a swing; teaching a son how to put on a tie – you have been given a glimpse into the life that your sacrifice has helped to create. A glimpse of how my life will be as I’m growing up before you die.

“You should be grateful knowing that I’m going to have a relatively good life in a stable environment with a loving family. You got to see a sample of some of the good times in my new life, as well as some of the bad times. Even though there is no destiny, there is a high level of certainty that I’m going to have a good and fulfilling life. And that wouldn’t have been possible if you had left my mom to die. Now it’s time for you to move on Julian. It’s time for you to go.”

(Jules at age ten)

I shook my head in denial as I started getting emotional. “But I don’t want to go. Jules, I want to stay. I … I still haven’t seen the rest of your story. I want to see you graduate and get married and have children and … Please Jules. Please. I love you like the son I never had. For some reason, I have memories of your whole life, since the day you were born. I can’t explain it, but you simply can’t ask me to let go just like that. I wanna stay. Please let me stay,” I pleaded wiping my tears.

“But you will get to see all that.” Jules came over and squeezed my shoulder. “Come on, let’s keep going,” Jules said climbing on his bike.

I was now walking along one of the trails following Jules as he meandered on his bike as slow as he could without losing his balance. “You’ll get to see me graduate and get married and have a real girlfriend and have my own kids and all of that. You get to see all of it,” he said riding in circles around me.

“But how? Didn’t you just say I couldn’t stay here and that I had to go?”

Suddenly, dark clouds started rolling in with incredible speed blocking the sun. There was a strong breeze making the tall pine trees sway from side to side. Jules looked around and smiled widely. “Yes! … Yeeesss!” He looked up to the skies and started jumping up and down and laughing with joy. He dropped his bike and ran towards me. “Julian, it’s time. You did it. Woohoo! You’re finally letting go. Aw, thank you so much Julian. You’ve been so great with me. I’ll never forget it.” he said grabbing both of my hands. “

Something started happening. The dark ominous clouds started morphing into concentric circles forming a giant tunnel encompassing half of the sky with a blinding light shining through a hole above the horizon. Jules slowly started to fade away like a ghost. “You’re just in time Julian. Everything’s gonna be alright now,” Jules said smiling joyfully with a fading voice. He seemed so relieved for some reason. “You’re not gonna regret this. I promise. You’ll see,” he said reassuringly.

I found myself being lifted off the ground and heading into the blinding light. A light that felt so comforting and blissful and for just one second, I knew everything. I had all the knowledge and finally knew exactly what was happening to me. And then all of a sudden that knowledge was gone, ripped out of my conscious so suddenly that it left me in agony and feeling a great sense of loss. The entire tunnel started flickering and popping in and out of existence until it finally faded away completely and I found myself back on the ground. Jules became solid again and looked up to the sky looking extremely agitated. His face of joy had suddenly turned into an expression of horror. “No – no, no, no. Julian, what have you done? What have you done?!” he screamed in anguish.

I suddenly felt violent jolts of electricity going through my entire body making my back arch backwards as I found myself falling to the ground as if in slow motion. Then I felt myself stiffening again as I felt another strong and violent jolt.

And then my reality shifted back to the hospice center, but just barely. In my delirium I could hear distorted voices and sounds as if they were echoing from distant chambers. But I felt immobilized. I couldn’t even open my eyes. What’s happening to me?

“We have a heartbeat doctor,” I heard a nurse echoing in my head.

“Good,” said Melanie with relief. “Keep the defibrillator on standby just in case.”

“Doctor, I don’t mean to overstep but, didn’t the patient have a DNR on record?”

“Yes, he did. But he rescinded it verbally before going down again. Isabel was present at the time. I don’t mean to sound insensitive but, it would’ve been a lot easier on him if he would’ve just let himself go.”

I must’ve flatlined. Melanie used the paddles to restart my heart just like I wanted her to. I must be getting close to the end. It’s only a matter of days or even hours before my body will start to shut down completely. But I don’t remember canceling the DNR? Why would I do that? It doesn’t make any sense. I could’ve just died peacefully in my sleep right now and be done with it already.

Then I had a flashback of … something. I had visions of something in the outskirts of my memory that was just out of my reach. I remembered being next to a river … no – a pond. There was a forest with some kind of park in the middle. A bicycle … a backpack … pinecones … a school. It was like trying to remember a dream that was rapidly fading away after waking up. But even as the dream was fading away, I felt a sense of urgency for some reason.

“Doctor!” shouted a nurse from across the room. “We need you over here. The heartbeat on the fetus is dropping.”

“Isabel,” Mel breathed with concern. “Oh no,” she said as I heard her quickly stepping away.

“Doctor, what’s going on?” asked Isabel with alarm. “What’s happening to my baby?”

“Isabel, I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about. It’s not uncommon to have false readings on a fetus with this type of equipment. I’ve called an ambulance and they’ll be taking you to the hospital soon. Whatever the problem is, I’m sure we’ll figure it out and I promise I’ll keep you informed okay? In the meantime, I’ve called your husband and he’s on his way.”

There seemed to be a serious problem with Isabel’s baby. I could hear Melanie discussing options with the various members of her team. I could hear Isabel getting agitated as Mel tried to calm her down. There was something about her baby that seemed important in some way. I smiled inwardly as I remembered putting my hand on her stomach and felt the baby moving.

“It’s okay,” Mel said soothingly. “You and the baby are gonna be fine. If the heartbeat keeps dropping, we may have to induce labor and then we can deal with the problem directly.”

“I’m scared doctor,” Isabel cried. “I don’t want my baby to die.”

“Listen, you need to relax. The more you get stressed, the more your baby is going to get stressed. Do you know the sex of your baby yet?”

“No, not yet. We want it to be a surprise,” she said a bit calmer.

“How many children do you have?”

“This will be our first one, believe it or not. In a way I’m surprised that I was even able to get pregnant at my age. Needless to say, it was unplanned.”

“What about names? Have you decided on any names yet?”

“Yeah,” she said. I could hear the smile in her voice. One thing I liked about Mel is that she was an expert in calming people down. “If it’s a girl, we’re gonna name her Layla.”

“Layla … that’s a beautiful name. And what if it’s a boy?”

“Well, we haven’t come to a final decision yet. It’s down to two finalists. We might name him Theodore after my husband but, he’s not too fond of everyone calling him Junior for the rest of his life. If it’s a boy, he wants him to be his own person with his own identity.” She paused for a moment. “Doctor, how’s Julian doing?”

“Not good. We almost lost him a few minutes ago. It could be a matter of hours. He’s holding on strong I’ll tell you that. By the way, you can call me Melanie.”

“Thank you, Melanie. You know, I almost didn’t have this baby at all.”

“How so?”

“Can I tell you something in confidence?”

“Of course you can.”

“After the accident at the plant, I was having trouble coping with the trauma I had experienced. I was diagnosed with PTSD and I even joined a support group to help me deal with my anxieties. But I couldn’t shake the flashbacks of seeing Julian’s face as I kept pounding on the containment door that was trapping him inside. Later on, when I heard the news that he had cancer, I felt so guilty that I went into a downward spiral of depression.

“I should’ve just ran out of that room as soon as he ordered us to evacuate. Those extra seconds would’ve made a difference. He’s dying over there and it’s all because of my arrogant stupidity. I got to a point where eventually, I stopped going to the meetings and I stopped taking my medications. Even though I had a loving husband who did all he could to be supportive, I felt so hopeless that I felt like I couldn’t go on with this guilt any longer. I just wanted to end the pain.

“One day I stopped by at the pharmacy hoping to find some pills that I could use to overdose myself. I remember pushing the cart in a daze and bumping into things. I was feeling so despondent that at times I couldn’t remember why I was even there. I barely remember going to the register and paying for whatever I had in the cart.

“When I got home, I walked into the bathroom, I locked the door, and started dumping all the pill bottles that I had bought onto the sink. As I was opening one of the pill bottles, something caught my attention. It was a package containing a pregnancy test that I didn’t remember buying. It must’ve fallen into the cart when I accidentally bumped into one of the shelves. I kept looking at the pill bottle and at the pregnancy test back and forth, back and forth and well – I did need to go pee.

“So, I followed the instructions on the package and to my utter surprise, that’s when I found out I was pregnant. My God, I was pregnant at my age. From that point forward, everything changed. It wasn’t an instant cure to my depression, but it certainly gave me a new outlook in life. My actions had already shortened the life of one person. I wasn’t about to do something that would completely deny the life of another. This was a game changer Melanie. This new life inside of me was the miracle that saved my own life.”

I could hear Mel taking in a deep breath. “Wow,” Mel breathed. “That was very inspiring. Thank you, Isabel for sharing that with me.”

“Um, you won’t tell anyone, will you?” Isabel asked in a low voice.

“Of course not. Your secret is safe with me. Well, I’ll let you get some rest and I’ll be right back. Oh, by the way, what was the other name you were thinking about if it’s a boy?”

“Well, Theodore had suggested we use the name Julian, but that would’ve been a little awkward, don’t you think? So, we settled on naming him Jules if it’s a boy.”

I heard Melanie give out an almost inaudible gasp. “Jules? Isabel, I’ve heard that name before. In fact, I’ve heard it from Julian a few times during his states of delirium. Have you mentioned any of this to him before?”

“No, not at all. Are you sure he said Jules?”

“Yes, I’m positive.”

Jules … Jules … Oh my God – Jules! Suddenly, all the memories from my visions came crashing down like a tidal wave – the park, pushing Jules on the swing, fixing his bike, giving him a pony ride, the girlfriend, the bullies, the gun – the baby. Jules was telling me the truth. Jules really is the unborn child that Isabel is about to give birth to. He told me she had tried to commit suicide – something I hadn’t known until now when Isabel was telling Melanie about it.

I tried opening my eyes, but I couldn’t. I tried saying something, but I could feel a breathing tube going down my throat. I started concentrating really hard and tried opening my eyes again. Finally, I could feel my eyes opening slowly little by little. I saw a figure standing at the side of my bed, but my vision was too blurry to make out any details. As my vision began to clear up, I suddenly recognized the face of Jules. But he was no longer a child. He was a young adult.

“Hello Julian,” he said in a serious voice. “There’s something really important I need to discuss with you,” he said calmly, but gravely. “Isabel is in serious danger of losing her child. If her child dies, not only will she be losing me, she will also be losing you. And right now, you are the only one who can save me – who can save us.”

Whaaaaaaat?


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