by Josh T. Alto
Do we really believe that our wishes can come true?
|The bells of a nearby church rang, signalling the passing time. It was half past ten; the sound of the bells floated in small waves over tinned roofs in the warm air and died away after a while.
A falling star flared up on the starlit sky and drew a bright line near the handle of the Big Dipper, almost totally unnoticed by the guests sitting on the terrace of Tom’s Seaside Restaurant.
Albeit there was one man, rather young, wearing only shorts and a T-shirt, who looked up exactly at the right time to see the phenomenon. He had not seen many falling stars before; he was more interested in his own career, making money and self-indulgence rather than the beauties of the night sky.
On this one-week holiday at the sea that he nobly granted himself he tried to escape his daily stress at the office and spend most of the time sitting at one of the numerous bars and restaurants eating and drinking. That day he even had another occasion to drink: exactly one week before, his girlfriend had left him. It had happened too late to cancel the vacation and he could not choose but travel alone, take the prepaid double room and pity himself.
Although sometimes he even contented himself with his decision, that day he was in a rather frustrated state of mind. As he saw the flash almost above his head it fascinated him somehow, and for the first time in his life he thought he felt the cooling breeze of destiny sweeping beyond his head. As if it had not been simply a piece of interstellar debris flashing up in the atmosphere but God’s hand that wanted to show him the way. But what was the way it tried to show him?
The most obvious answer was certainly that it showed him a direction, but what was it for? His next thought was he must have drunken too much. How could a falling star give him any advice? But slowly, a curious feeling crept up into his mind and surprisingly it stayed there for a while. He realized, as a revelation, that he was not the only one who saw that flash and there must be other people somewhere, maybe quite near who share his experience.
He did not know why, but somehow he was sure that he had to find at least one of them. On the terrace people continued their murmur, glasses were quietly clinking together and the music played without a break; the phenomenon disappeared unremarkably. He drank up his whisky and ran to his car, a white convertible, which parked on the other side of the street. He had rented the car for the whole vacation.
He preferred driving through unknown landscapes, especially here where there was almost no traffic at all. The thought made him almost fanatical, he had to find someone who saw the falling star; they were now bound together in a way. He knew he drank too much but he felt quite sure he would find the one he was looking for and the roads were almost empty so late at night.
First he drove aimlessly on the empty streets, looking for someone who would match his expectations, but how should he know how she would look like and how he would know that she was the one. His fantasy got underway and he did not doubt it any more that it would be a girl and rather pretty.
After a few minutes of driving he remembered the direction the star was drawing on the sky and he turned the car back in a U-turn, tires screeching and dirt flying. Driving back on the street at one corner he felt a pull, as if attracted by a magnet, to turn to the right, and suddenly he found himself on an empty street with almost no streetlamps at all.
He slowed down a little bit and looked around but he could not see much. His eyes were still fighting with the darkness when after about fifty meters, all of a sudden, he felt a shock and heard a thump from the front of the car. He immediately realized that he had hit someone he had not seen walking on the roadway.
He stopped the car and ran back to the place the crash had happened. At the side of the ditch he found someone motionless lying on the ground. It was a girl with long brown hair. He took her in his arms, and brought her to one of the still working street lamps to find out whether she was all right.
The girl had not seen the car coming while running home from the park across the street from her house. Actually the street is really a dead end street in the town; there is no traffic there all day long. She felt a sudden jerk and she was toppled down to the ditch in the grass.
When she opened her eyes she could see someone in the dim light bending over her, taking her into his arms and running in the direction of a streetlamp. Her head was aching and she was afraid she would faint immediately, lights were dancing around her, blinding her eyes. Her head swaying, scenes of her life were running in front of her eyes at an incredible speed, her childhood, the school years, lost friends, the last hours as she walked through the park and sat down on a bench, imagined her prince riding on a white horse, taking her in his arms and talking to her.
She could even hear him talking, a warm gentle voice. And then she realized that someone really held her in his arms and talked to her, and it was the same voice she imagined while sitting on the bench. Then she remembered the last few minutes when she had seen that falling star passing through the sky and she wished she would meet her prince that evening.
And then she could not remember anything more and perceived nothing but herself slowly moving through a long tunnel, the darkness behind her nape creeping nearer and nearer and the lights at the end of the tunnel, waiting for her.
And very vaguely two eyes in the distance filtrating through the curtain of light. Or were they the eyes of her prince still watching her, his lips moving and his warm gentle voice calling from far away, calling her back to the other side.
(Word count 1090)