Gilbert, Arizona. 2030. Friday.
The marble headstone glistened as the rain reflected the sun that peeked through the cloud cover. A rainbow stretched across the sky as the clouds moved, uncovering the sun. A shadow covered the headstone as the visitor approached.
“Hey,” he said, “It’s been a while. Sorry I couldn’t come sooner. I’ve been trying to make things right. You shouldn’t be here. It should be me under that marble.”
He placed a single red rose atop the marble headstone along with a fresh copy of The Gunslinger. He had placed the book and rose inside a clear box. The rain stopped.
“Hmph. Part of me believes you did that somehow. But I also know better. I guess I just hope you can hear me. I wish I had gotten to really know you when you were alive. I was too busy doing… other things. I’m sorry. I thought you might want something to read. I remember you like this one.”
He sat on the bench next to the headstone and continued, “I’m doing better now. I thought you’d want to know that. I’m teaching at our old high school if you can believe it. Well, not teaching. I’m the guidance counselor. I wanna help kids like me; kids like you. I want to make the next generation better than we were. I want to do right by you and the others.”
As the rain began again, he sat in silence. His mind wandered to that day, so many years before. He would never forget it. That day changed his life. It changed who he was. That day took everything from him but gave him so much more in the end. He stood and took one last look at the headstone.
“See you soon,” he said, then walked away, the clear box protecting the book and rose to glisten with raindrops.
He stepped out of his car and sighed upon arriving at Highland High School. There were times when this new job was fulfilling. There were other times at which the sight of the school brought back painful memories that would never disappear. Today seemed as if it would be one of the latter.
He entered the campus, moving through the empty halls to the Guidance Counselor’s office. The office was modest. The occupant being a minimalist, there was very little furniture and a small number of wall hangings on the plain white walls. Near the back of the room sat a large oak desk. A frame sat on the desk. In it was a picture of a woman. He glanced at the image while sitting behind the desk. He looked at his watch. It was time to begin greeting the students as they filed onto campus to start their day.