Part Thirty - Loose Ends
Success! Tom got his parents to go back to their church of eight years ago. It took some doing, but they agreed. Tom noticed Rick sitting in the front row, but since they were late arriving, he couldn’t talk till after service.
Tom tried to listen to the pastor, but his mind kept wandering. He couldn’t wait to talk to Rick. After two long hours of waiting, the pastor finished the prayer before the dismissal. Tom had forgotten about how long the services were here. But, he could finally talk to Rick. As soon as the pastor dismissed everyone, Tom bee lined for Rick.
“Mr. Dianik!” Tom said reaching him just as he stood up.
“Well, look who’s here!” Rick said reaching out his hand. Tom accepted the handshake. “So, what brings you back? I hope things are going better.”
“You have no idea,” Tom said leading the way out of the sanctuary. “I want to ask you a question.”
“Oh, on what?” Rick asked, his hand on Tom’s back.
“I’ll show you, I left it in my car.” Within minutes Tom was pulling the picture out of the backseat. “Remember this?”
“Uh, yes, sort of,” Rick said taking it from Tom. “I remember you buying this at the Mini Market, but it isn’t exactly as I remembered it.”
“No, it changed since then.”
“Changed? How?” Rick asked looking up at Tom.
“It’s a long story which I will tell you later if you want, but where’d you get it?”
Rick took a deep breath. “Oh, let’s see here,” he said looking at the picture again. “I believe it was left on my front porch with a sticky-note on it saying ‘For the Mini Market’.” Rick looked up at Tom again. “I don’t know who left it there or why, but I did as it instructed. Three weeks later you bought it. The last week we were going to keep it up because absolutely no one was even remotely interested in it. I guess you were.”
“Yes,” Tom said nodding. “Yes I was, but not for what the picture was of, but for what the picture did.”
“Did? I didn’t know they ‘did’ anything,” Rick said puzzled.
“As I said, it’s a long story,” Tom said reaching into his pocket. He pulled out Rick’s letter. “I finally understand what you wrote in this.”
“Wow! I had no idea I would ever see this again,” Rick said sliding his fingers over it. “I’m glad my hopes and prayers for you have finally made it to your heart.” Rick looked up at Tom again. “But then, it wasn’t my words that did it is it?”
Tom shook his head, “Not at all.”
“I suppose that is another part of this ‘long story’ you won’t tell me about.”
“I am ready to tell it to you now if you want?” Rick nodded but Tom stopped him from speaking, “It will take several hours.”
“Well, in that case,” Rick said putting his hands at his own sides. “You’ll need to tell me another time. Your parents are even now coming to go home.”
“No, I told them to go shopping and come back after,” Tom said smiling. “We got until this afternoon to talk.”
“Well then, why don’t we go to my office and talk there?”
“Sounds great to me!” Tom said opening the passenger door for his Mom. He shut the door behind her and his Dad drove away. “Now,” Tom said putting his arm on Rick’s shoulders. “It all started the night I bought that picture…”
Tom went on to explain everything, everything from that brief encounter eight years ago, to the death of Zawkane. Nothing was omitted, not even Aetos’ words which he will never forget:
“It is possible for a single moment to transcend time.
It is a rare occurrence and it is only possible with My help.
This is a simple example of the moment which all universes share.
They all were created and they all will be destroyed,
but those events either start or end time.
They happen before the first moment or after the last.
There is a moment which they all share.
That moment was and is a gift which I have given My creations.”