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A Life Re-Started
by Tanya Shliahov
3/15/2020 / Short Stories
Michael Auret had been up all night, mopping his cheeky 18-month-old daughter’s brow with a damp washer. She had had a temperature and a runny nose, so he had lain awake with her trying to lower her pyrexia with a hand-held fan and reading her her favourite book, ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch’. Finally, the fever had evapourated and her soft, drowsy breathing had signified that he had completed his fatherly duty to perfection and could now put his need for sleep foremost. It felt like he had only been asleep for a few moments though, when he was rudely awoken by the energetic music of his wake-up alarm. He lay a little while in bed stuck in those last few moments of sleep, that dimness between a heavy slumber and a light doze, before he finally rolled out of bed.
After a quick shower and a light breakfast of cereal and toast, he had helped his wife to find his son’s school shoes, which always seemed to disappear right when they were needed most. Then, he gave his son a pat on the shoulder and wisped his daughter’s scant hair away from her green eyes.
“I’ll try to be home by four” He had told his wife, as she gently grazed his cheek with her lips.
“That’ll be the day!” she had playfully called back.
Then, Michael, a 39-year-old electrician, had sat in his work truck driving with his grisly colleague, Jared. Jared had not enjoyed his job. He had put in the bare minimum and had been fond of calling in sick, even when he wasn’t. Michael had tried to ignite in Jared a spark of interest in the profession he quite enjoyed, but to no avail. Michael had enjoyed working outdoors and he liked how every day, he worked somewhere different. Jared, however, had still been trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life, so they had spent many work breaks discussing the good and bad of a number of career options and whether Jared would be suited to any of them. After many months, they had decided that Jared’s next career move would be obtaining a painter’s apprenticeship with an old school friend of Michael’s.
“You must be looking forward to Monday” Michael had said.
“Monday’s the day I start doing something real with my life” Jared had agreed. “It’s been nice working with you though. I hope your school friend will be just as good-natured”.
“He’s always been a great friend to me” Michael had affirmed as they pulled up at their assigned work location. It had been a section of power line, adjacent to a nursing home, on a leafy suburban street.
They had made the necessary safety checks before Michael had entered the booth of the cherry-picker attached to the work truck. Slowly the cherry-picker arm had risen until it reached just under the power line, which was suspended between two green wooden posts. Michael had worked contentedly for a while, expertly repairing the damaged power line. Suddenly, there had been a loud ZAP and then an even louder BOOM. Michael had been rendered unconscious, for he wasn’t show how long, before he was suddenly awakened by a panicked Jared, whose grisly persona had softened for a while.
“Michael! Michael!” Jared’s terse voice had sounded inside his head.
An admin assistant had poked her head out of the electronic sliding doors of the nursing home before scurrying back inside. Then, all hell had broken loose as nurse after nurse had tumbled out of the nursing home to offer assistance. An ambulance was called, and he had been taken to the nearest Emergency Department with lights and sirens blaring.
Later, he was discharged from the Emergency Department and delivered to an inpatient ward at the hospital. The hospital was owned by a church. It had its own television station and one of the channels was a Christian channel run by the hospital chaplains. Whenever his hospital room was empty of visitors, he would watch the chaplain-run channel. He would also read the Gideon’s Bible that he found in his bedside draw. During the long nights of his recovery, he would wonder why God had allowed this to happen to him. He didn’t consider himself to be a terribly bad person.
Gradually, though, he began to realise that although he had made a decision for God during his teenage years, God had often been on the backburner in his life. God had filled his life with many blessings, two gorgeous children, a loving wife, a humble home and many other things but Michael, on the other hand, barely attended church. He rarely gave Him just one day of his week to worship and thank God for all the many blessings he had been showered with. That, in his books, made him a very bad person! On discharge from hospital, Michael renewed his commitment to God. He vowed to be a fervent Christian from now on, rather than being lukewarm.
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