by Trevor Greer


This Idea came to me, just like my last work, I wanted to be present a choice. A choice that I, the author, would not solve. A choice that the reader would make for him or herself.

Before his first thoughts were formed, I was there. Long Before he was conceived, I knew that his eyes would be bluer than the ocean, and his heart deeper than one. His first cries, steps, and date were all witnessed by me. 5,840 days, sixteen years, for every single moment I was present unbeknownst to him. Cole had grown into an exceptional young man, any mother's dream. He will never know how much I've done for him, so my job has been done well.

Today is a very special day, Cole will celebrate his birthday. A milestone for the both of us, he acts like he doesn't care, but I've seen the way his eyes flicker at the mere mention of the date. It's hilarious to see how he nonchalantly talks about the topic. Carrie, his mother, has a surprise party setup, she's been planning tirelessly for months. I assume this must be a milestone for her as well. John, an active Marine, will be arriving back today. Another surprise handled by his mother. He comes bearing special news, that he'll be retiring permanently. This will probably be the highlight of all the gifts, Cole has always craved for more time with his father. Each birthday prior to this one being spent in tears after all the guests had departed. Tears hidden from everyone, except the person he couldn't hide them from. Today is a special day indeed.

Finally, Cole awakens, He slowly rises perching himself on his forearms. Like every morning he stays that way for about a solid thirty seconds deciding whether or not he should even get up. The deafening screech of his name echoes throughout the house, Carrie made the decision for him, he stares off into the distance at his poster of WonderWoman, his friends were quick to tease him over this, I always stand in front of the poster. The next part of the morning was the same as any other teenage boy, nothing special there. Carrie decided to skip making breakfast, or acknowledge that it was even Cole's birthday. She's a very crafty lady. The disappointment was all over Cole's face, he wasn't too good at masking emotion, he said goodbye to his mother before he exited the house and began his walk to school.

Cole's walk to class was always a highlight of the day, today was no different, his thoughts were all over the place. Will Lana give me a birthday kiss? No, she probably won't. I wonder if Michael has a birthday present for me. Was that history homework due today? Yes it was. A teenager's mind indeed. Cole absent mindedly crossed the street while staring at his phone, a few cars honked their horns to get him to walk faster, this snapped him out of his daze. A few blocks away from the school his best friend, Michael, was standing outside his house waiting for him. This was the usual routine, Cole hated walking alone.

The two of them walked to school talking about regular teenage boy stuff, sports, girls, and some more girls. Michael craftily avoided the topic of Cole's birthday, he was was probably instructed by Carrie to do so. He refused to show it but the lack of acknowledgment was worrying him, so her plan was working out. Eventually the two arrived at the school entrance and did some sort of handshake before parting ways for their classes. Cole lazily walked to his class, casually interacting with some of his friends as he sauntered through the halls. His smile's were distant, just going through the morning routine. When Cole saw her she instantly captured his attention.

Lana always had this effect on him, at the young age of sixteen, Cole truly felt like she was the one. He loved Lana. His smile stretched from ear-to-ear as he approached was the day, he had decided no more hiding his feelings from her. Trust me, if Lana didn't know Cole had feelings for her, she was blind, deaf, and horrendously naive. Nonetheless, he still felt the need to confess, and ask her out. Hoping that it being his birthday would edge things in his favor, birthday boy always gets his wish right? Needless to say the conversation started extremely awkward, imagine Clark Kent awkwardness, then multiply that by six. That barely gets you in the ballpark. Thankfully! After some much needed course correction, he was finally able to choke out the words he needed to say...Then after a silence that seemed to put a pause on life, it became the happiest day in his.

The rest of the school day snailed along, the numerous hugs and high fives paled in comparison to Lana agreeing date him. Cole just wanted to rush home and tell his mom, tell michael, and make sure he wasn't dreaming. He hurried toward the exit, he was nearly sprinting out the door. The walk home felt shorter than ever, excitement will do that, excitement will also make you careless. Cole never saw it coming. The car collided with him, no pain, no idea of how it happened. The brightest blues and the radiating yellow of the sun, all turned black. The noise around him had became silent, his own heart had been muted.

When the sound returned and his eyes finally opened...he saw me, the stranger that he knew.

"Where am I?" His voice was shaky, panicked. I had to control my urge to break out in tears of joy.

"You're in between life and death, this is the veil." My voice stayed calm, almost cold as I tried to prevent my emotion from ringing through.

He rose to his feet cautiously surveying the area. Cole did his best to maintain his composure, but his fear was not lost on me. Eventually his breathing steadied and realized there was nothing to see. There was only the infinite gray, and of course him and I.

"Who are you?" calmly he spoke, doing his best to regain control, regain composure.

"I have no name, I simply exist." The cold tone was still there.

He stepped closer to me, his hand reached out and touched mine, warmth, bliss, all these rushed through me. I loved him like he were my own son, watched over him with skills beyond that of the greatest mother. Yet now we were strangers. His blue eyes peered into my own.

"I want to go back, I have to hurry home." A plea for help.

Would he want to go back if he knew that Lana would break his heart, if he knew that his father would never make it home? I could save him from so much pain...freeze the happiest day in his life forever in time. I could do that for him...a mother's job is to save their child from pain. I could send him back, this accident came before his time, but sending him back after he saw me...erases our connection. 5,840 days.

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