Wilson's Wish

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
75 year old Wilson Perry wakes up to find he has been granted a wish. Rather than impulsively deciding to have a new house or car or money, he wishes to see what events have happened in his past that have cause him to be so unfulfilled in life.

Submitted: February 28, 2017

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Submitted: February 28, 2017



Wilson Perry opened his eyes and stared up at his ceiling. His whole life he had relished those first few moments when he woke up, when nothing in the world seems to matter and thoughts drifted in and out of his head like birdsong. Every morning he longed to not have to leave the warm, comforting embrace of his duvet but he knew that was no way to live. Slowly he edged himself out of bed and let his feet fall into his slippers before pulling his dressing gown off his bedroom door. With every passing morning his old legs were finding it harder and harder to push him up from his bed, and he dreaded to think the day was coming when he would have to invest in one of those mechanical beds that tip you out with the least possible effort. He had realised long ago his best years were behind him but that didn’t make it any easier. He sighed. At 75 not just his body but his mind was growing weary as well. With a dejected slump of the shoulders he trudged to his bathroom to clean his teeth and splash some water over his wrinkled face.

Heavy clouds were obscuring any November sun that might break through so he had to switch the light above his bathroom mirror on. He lifted his head to have a look at himself. As per usual his worn, tired eyes stared back at him, full of regret and longing. He knew his eyes well; both a deep shade of green and the right one had the smallest of black dots below the pupil. Just as he was about to look away and pick up his toothbrush however he saw the small black dot shine and glint in a way he had never seen before. He leant in closer and pulled his eyelid wide open to get a better look. The dot seemed to be glowing and suddenly Wilson’s legs buckled beneath him and he had to hold onto the sink hard to stop himself from falling. Stumbling, he managed to find his way back to his bed and before he could fall into it he blacked out and fell face first onto the mattress.

When he awoke Wilson could feel something monumental had happened. He searched his mind to see if he could figure out what it was and all of a sudden it hit him. He had been granted a wish. He didn’t know how, he didn’t know why but he could feel it in the very core of his heart. It felt like sunshine had seeped through every pore of his being and was radiating out of his body. He leapt up from his bed with a new spring in his step. He hadn’t felt this amazing in years. Thoughts began racing through his mind, what was he going to wish for? He tried thinking of what he needed, what would make him happy. A new place to live perhaps? Or for his youth to be regained? As his thoughts turned to prospects like this however, he realised something. No man should be allowed to relive his life. ‘Surely that’s the point?’ He thought to himself. Every person who has ever lived gets one chance at life; one chance to take it by the scruff of the neck and do the absolute best you can with it. Wilson was shocked it had taken him this long to realise such a simple fact. All his life he had been casually letting consequence make decisions for him, relying on the idea that he would get what he deserved at some point. But he was three quarters of the way to 100 and he still didn’t have the life that would make him happy. He had no wife, no children and not even a life of work he could be proud of.

Wilson sat back on his bed and closed his eyes. He could still feel the power of the wish seeping through his body but he knew it wasn’t given to him for any material purpose. All his life he had been making excuses for the mundane existence he had been living and once he realised this he knew what he was going to wish for.

He had no idea how to make the wish or if any ceremony needed to be observed so he did the thing that seemed the most obvious. He went back to the bathroom mirror, stared into his eyes once more and without hesitation in a clear and steady voice he said his wish to his reflection.

“I wish to go and see the mistakes I’ve made in my life that have led me to this unenviable position I find myself in at the closing stages of my existence.”

Wilson didn’t have a single idea what was going to happen next. He continued to stare at his reflection, waiting for a bright flash of light or for some doorway into the past. But no, nothing happened apart from a fly diving in through his bathroom window and buzzing erratically against the light bulb. Sighing heavier than he had ever done before he dropped his head in disappointment and walked back to his bedroom with his hands stretching down over his face. When he looked back up however he knew it had happened. The bedroom he had walked into was his but one he hadn’t seen for over 50 years. Wilson had stepped into his 19 year old self’s bedroom. He nearly passed out in shock. Everything was there; his huge record collection next to his brand new record player and his faithful battered guitar that Wilson had always been impressed would make anything close to a nice sound. He could barely believe his eyes but he was there, it would seem the wish had worked. But why had he been brought here? There must be a reason.

Wilson sat down on the chair in front of his old desk and looked around, smiling at all the memories of his chequered youth that were flooding his mind. He turned back to the desk and picked up a framed picture upon it. Suddenly Wilson knew why he had been brought back here. The picture was of him and his first love, Holly, and just as he picked it up the door opened and in came his 19-year-old self with Holly close behind. Wilson made an effort to try and hide himself but they paid no attention to him as they lay down on the bed next to each other. Wilson moved near them and shook his hand in front of their faces just to make sure and when they didn’t acknowledge him he realised he must merely be a visitor in this particular event of his life. This was the first time he had seen Holly in years and only now did he remember just how beautiful she was. Her hair was the golden colour of a fresh field of rapeseed in spring and her lilac blue eyes were always open wide so when you gazed into them for a while you could see into her very soul.

But what event exactly? Wilson had a growing suspicion what it might be and he knew he wasn’t going to enjoy being here. He noticed the jumper he was wearing and it confirmed his suspicions: it was the jumper he had bought the day before he had broken up with Holly and he was back watching over the very moment it had happened.

Lost in thought he hadn’t been paying attention to what his younger self and Holly had been talking about. Sitting back on the chair he watched events unfold.

“This jumper really does suit you Will.” Wilson had forgotten she called him Will, no one else had ever done, hearing her say it shot a pang of longing through his heart.

“Thanks, I uh, thought you would like it. It’s a bit itchy though, feels like I’ve got bugs crawling all over me.” Will supported his claim with a few erratic scratches and an exasperated close of his eyes. Wilson knew he wasn’t just making that face because of how uncomfortable the jumper was.

“Well how about we…”

Holly began to slip her hand under Wills jumper

“Take it off to get you a bit more comfortable?”

She reached up to kiss the nape of his neck but before she could Will placed his hand on her shoulder and pushed her away. Already Wilson’s stomach was twisting with regret, how could young him even think of doing what he was about to?

“Holly there’s something I need to say and I’ve been putting it off for a while.”

Will rubbed his face with his hand furiously. Wilson could remember the inner torment he was going through at the time, it had torn him apart.

“I don’t think we can do this anymore. I’m just not feeling as strong toward you as I used to. And the most annoying thing is I don’t know why. I can’t explain it, I feel like my soul is being torn apart by two different parts of my mind and I just can’t handle it anymore.” Will said though gritted teeth and his eyes clenched shut the whole time. Wilson remembered how hard he had found it to even look at Holly at that point because he knew the flood of emotion would have been far too much to take. But now Wilson was here, watching the whole scene unfold, and he could see the look on Holly’s face. It was one of utter destruction. Wilson had to stifle the stream of tears that were already building in his eyes.

“But, but why? Is it something I’ve done? What is it Will? I love you. I love you more than anything I ever have and ever will. Why are you doing this to me?” Wilson had always remembered the pain in her voice when she had said that and hearing it again made his heart stop. He nearly collapsed to the ground in anguish and regret.

“Holly I really am so sorry but there’s nothing I can do about my feelings. I still love you, oh gosh you don’t know how much I do but I’m just too confused. My mind’s in disarray and I can’t take it anymore! It’s not going to work anymore.” Will still hadn’t opened his eyes. Wilson remembered doing everything in his power not to look at her because he knew if he did his mind would have been sent into a turmoil of distress.

Holly burst into tears. They streamed down her face and soaked the pillow her head was resting on. Wilson couldn’t take it anymore. He screamed out in pain.

“Take me back! I can’t watch this anymore! Please, I’m done! I’ve seen enough!”

 Wilson blacked out, the pain of the memory overwhelming him. He awoke back in the present and he bolted upright, breathing heavily. He fumbled around for his inhaler. Old age and a lot of smoking in his youth had severely affected his ability to breathe. His hands clasped around the inhaler on his bedside table and he took a long, deep breath and exhaled. His mind was still in disarray and he went over to a little box he kept on his windowsill for emergencies. In it were a single cigarette and the lighter he had kept since he was a young man. He knew smoking was the worst thing for his health at the moment but if ever there was a time he needed a cigarette it was now.

The flame licked the end of the tobacco and as soon as the first wisp of smoke passed through his throat he relaxed a little. The memory of that fateful day had been hidden long in the depths of his psyche and only after seeing the whole situation with his old eyes could he see how terrible a mistake he had made. Him and Holly had found true, sacred love with one another, a gift the universe rarely gives and he had thrown it all away for what? To explore the mysteries of multiple women? That ambition had gone terribly. Never again in his life had he found a girl so beautiful, so perfect for him that when this realisation hit him, it nearly shattered his fragile aging mind. He hung his head and his shoulders trembled as tears formed in his eyes.

Reaching for the bottle of whiskey he kept by his bed he took a drink. And then another drink. Before long the bottle was finished and he fell back onto his bed, the alcohol knocking his mind out.

When he awoke, he once again wasn’t in his bedroom. He found himself in a conference room with large windows offering a view of a massive city outside. Wilson knew where he was. This was his old place of work, the place he had devoted the better part of 40 years of his life. He had been an accountant. He had always been good with numbers and he excelled in his work far more than anyone else. He never enjoyed it though. Every day he would go to office and sit at his desk and wonder just what the hell he was doing there. Everyday of those 40 years he knew he was wasting his life and yet he never mustered up the courage to leave.

Wilson knew what point in his life he was visiting now as well; this was the moment he was offered a promotion to Head of Accounts. It came with a pay rise just big enough to be tantalising and an office of his very own. Wilson wondered around the conference room, remembering all those dreary meeting he had to attend where he would spend the time daydreaming of being deep in an Amazonian jungle or surfing off the coast of Australia. He had always wanted to travel, it had been his biggest ambition in life but he never mustered up the courage to do it, preferring the comfort of nice, simple England.

The door to the conference room opened and Wilson looked up to see himself, 39 years old, walk in with his old boss, Mr Drake who as always, looked immaculate in his thousand pound suit. Wilson knew they couldn’t see him so he took a seat at the conference table, placed his hands on his lap and watched.

“Please Mr Perry. Have a seat.”

Mr Perry took a seat opposite his boss and placed his hands across his lap just as Wilson had just done.

“Now, myself and the board have been chatting and as you know Harry is going to retire.” Mr Drake said whilst adjusting his already perfectly formed tie.

“I had heard something yes.” Mr Perry replied.

Wilson could remember the thoughts running through his head at the time; how much he hated his job, the fact he wanted to throw himself out of the window and how it was too late to change the course his life was heading.

Mr Drake eyed Mr Perry intently.

“Now, you have shown consistently how apt you are in your position and myself and the board have decided to offer you Harry’s position of Head of Accounts. It comes with a generous pay rise and pension package. All that’s left now is for you to sign on this dotted line here,’ He indicated the contract in front of him with a tap of his well manicured fingers, “and you’ll be our new Head of Accounts. How does that sound Mr Perry?” Mr Drake said with the utmost rehearsed precision.

Wilson could see right through his younger self’s eyes. He could see the despondency and disappointment running through his mind and he remembered himself wanting to take the contract in front of him, tear it to pieces and storm out of the room feeling free. But of course Wilson knew his younger self wouldn’t do that.

With tears brimming in Wilson’s eyes he watched as this man nearly half his age slowly pulled the contract towards him and with only the slightest hesitation…signed on the dotted line. Wilson hung his head. He remembered the thoughts of defeat and failure that ran through his head in that moment and how at the time he had to stifle back a cry of despair.

“No more, I’ve seen enough. Take me back to the present.”

And when Wilson lifted his head he was back in his room, his feelings of regret weighing heavier than ever before. The cigarette he had smoked was still smouldering and he took another drag, but the smoke went in his eyes and he stubbed it out in exasperation. Tears began to drop to the carpet as the reality of the events he had witnessed dawned on him. How could he have let Holly go? She was the most beautiful thing he had ever had in his life and he had thrown it away like the end of his cigarette. And his 40 years of mundane, mindless accounting had given him no fulfilment at all. How could he have been so blind as to not see how terrible those mistakes had been?

Wilson was full of regret and pain. He hadn’t even seen anymore of the world aside from England. It was then that it dawned on him. His life wasn’t over just yet. He still had some years left didn’t he? Well he was damned if he wasn’t going to do the best he could do with them. Reaching for the phone book he found the first number for a travel agency and with the beginnings of a smile dawning on his face Wilson Perry, at the grand age of 75 years, 7months and 8days decided once and for all that he was finally going to live his life.

© Copyright 2019 Samuel Stevens. All rights reserved.

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