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Someone or something was standing at the foot of my bed, possibly staring at me. I could not make out his features to his body let alone his face. Due to the darkness and lack of light. I could however tell that his lips were moving, but no words seemed to escape them. I sat frozen in my covers as the person or thing made its way towards me. Not wanting to make eye contact with the thing I looked towards the ground at objects to distract me. Eventually I had to look up and when I did it stood over me. Staring with its cold, black eyes as they bore into my own. Then the temperature dropped dramatically. Exhaling I could see my breath, the windows started freezing with in minutes. I turned to my right to my night stand just in time to see my water freeze in the cup. I picked it up trying to see if this was just a dream, thinking that the water would come pouring out any second. When it didn’t I realized something was wrong. I looked back to the figure and as I did he backed away slowly and disappeared into a white flash that had a light blue glow to it. Leaving only my horrible but comforting memories behind.
I sat there wondering if I had known this person. While the dark engulfed me long with my thought, I sat shivering. I was sure that he had spoken, but no words escaped. Maybe I wasn’t paying good enough attention.
“Okay” I though to myself, “relax and take a take a deep, deep, breath and just regain yourself.” It was easier said than done.
“Could the figure just be a figment of my imagination?” “Maybe it was from all of the cough syrup I had taken?” After all I had taken four spoons of it, when the bottle only recommended two spoons. And then on top of that I had some Mountain Dew. Yeah not a good combination at midnight. And maybe I had been stressed about the test for next week. What ever it was it was playing with my mind. And I didn’t like that. I fell back to my pillow and closed my eyes trying to think. But then someone’s voices rang out plan as day. It was like they were standing right beside me. My eyes shot opened and I sat straight up. Again no one was there, and I was left alone in my room.
“Just ignore everything, right now, you need focus and get your head in the game.” “You can’t waste another minute here, time is everything.” I took pair profound breaths and closed my eyes for the ultimate time that night.
The following day I knew that something weird had happened last night, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Nothing seemed unusual when I looked around my room. But my window had been opened last night. And I never leave me windows open at any time of the day. “Just forget it and what ever happened last night.” I said almost laughing at myself. I had a gut feeling that something wrong had happened though and I knew that it wasn’t going to be pretty. With tears in my eyes I considered my options for what could have happened to some one I love. With everything ready and waiting to go, I climbed into my Sliver Dodge Ram 1500 by myself. With the radio turned down real low I called a friend that was already at the school to let them know that I was on my way.
“Hey Brandon, Yeah it’s me Jess I just wanted to let you know that I’m on my way.” “I over slept and I didn’t have the best night sleep either.” Silences followed at his end of the conversation. I knew that when that happened something bad had happened.
“Um... Yeah just take your time getting here and meet me in the in the High school office.” He said in an emotional way.
“Brandon, wait what happened, is there something wrong?” My eyes began to water; my heart was beating rapidly, and my mind racing.
“Just get here when you can.” Then I heard a click and his end was no longer there.
Time had changed with out any warning and I was left to deal with it. I didn’t take Brandon’s advice and entered the school parking lot at 8:10 A. M. and was in the High school office at 8: 12 A.M. Brandon was standing there waiting for me, remorse on his face. He took me by the hand and led me into a separate room.
“Brandon if this is a joke I’m not impressed nor am I amused.” By this time I had to fight from expecting the worse. Tears began to fill in my eyes and I tired to hold them back but I couldn’t. I looked at his face one more time before I asked him the question that I didn’t want an answer to. Then with in a few seconds of quiet the words hit me with such force I didn’t believe them.
“There was a bad accident last night and … Mr. Taylor was killed.” He said not wanting to look me in the eyes. All I could do was wait for the rest of this bad news.
“What happened?” I asked tears in my eyes.
“Apparently Mr. Taylor was heading home from the school around 4:50 P.M., a drunk driver hit him head on and he died immediately.” His voice was close to breaking as was mine. Time stopped on a dime, for this horrible moment would stay with me forever. Because how can someone forget something so horrible? When you get hit with news like that it’s never far from your mind. Closing my eyes I took a breath and choked back my tears, pain, trying to show Brandon that I was strong. Eventually the tears fell from my face like a fast flowing river.
I sat dumfounded for a few minutes wondering if this was all real. The impact of the accident hadn’t fully hit me yet, as I seemed to be in a loss as of what to do. It was like a gray, gloomy cloud hung over me and I couldn’t escape it. My feet finally reached the ground again, and I realized that this was no longer a dream. Brandon was still there waiting and watching for me. Whipping my eyes and blowing my nose I hugged Brandon, and then headed for my morning class. Turing back I looked at him from the other end of the hall. Tears began again and I walked towards him.
“Brandon… I know that Mr. Taylor meant a lot to you as well, so it’s okay to feel the pain and be upset.” I said this as my voice began to break and the tears began to swell in my eyes. He looked at me for the last time for the day. I looked at me penetrating my own eyes and simply sad no. He walked away and left me standing there with tears streaking down my face.
The day passed with no connotation. I didn’t pay attention, didn’t eat, didn’t go to track practice, didn’t go even go home right away. Instead I stayed at school for as long as I could. Walking the halls, sitting in the dark gym. Just thinking and wondering how this could have happened. I knew that I would have to go to his office eventually; it was something I couldn’t avoid any longer. I somehow had found my way to his office door. I stood wondering if it was unlocked and wondering if I should go in. I talked to myself for a few minutes debating if I should take hold of the door handle. Talking to yourself was never really a good thing at my age; people thought you were going insane. But in this case I think they could make an exception. Besides I often did this when I was debating about wrong and right. So maybe this was a good thing. I looked up to his name plate tacked onto the wall and fell to my knees at the door. I cried a few seconds, then I leisurely unlocked the door that I desperately didn’t want to, but I knew that I had to. The lights were off; the shades of the window pulled a quarter way down. It was oddly quiet, and it was not the room that I had some of my fondest memories in. “What was I doing here?” I thought to myself. Again I found myself unable to move. I was frozen in place at the door entrance. There were two main parts to this office, the first one you walked into was the main office, and the next was his own private office in which he kept everything. The door was ajar and I slowly made me way to it. I pushed the door open with nothing but my finger tips fearing the worst. Like the previous office light barley got through the window and the lights were off, with the occasional humming of the heater. I sauntered over to his chair and sat in it. Taking in everything that I had noticed the pervious times I was in here. I looked to his desk and sighed as I saw he had laid out the next day’s schedule. He had everything planned, ready to go and then I saw it. He had it lying on his desk, it was my first story that I had written about him. After all these years he still kept it.
I stayed in that room for hours that night. Remembering the good times I had had in this office. Wondering how I was going to get through it all. Wondering why this had happened to him. But the most important question was wondering what I had said to him last the night he died. Closing my eyes I tried to go back to that night. I remember that I was just walking out the door, as was he, when he looked at me and told me to stop for a second. I know that we talked for a good 5 minutes before we left, but I only remember parts. His voice was in my head as I thought about it. As if he was standing right beside me. As if I need that. This was all I could regain from that day.
“Hey Jess, I was looking through some papers I received from some colleges.” “They said that they are interested in your writings.” “If you can write an outstanding paper like you never have before, they might consider giving you a scholarship.” He looked to the sky and then back to me as he watched me take in the information. “Jess I know that your are capable of getting that scholarship, you have dreams bigger and better than this town, you need to get out and give them a try.” “If you stay in this dump you’ll never get out, you’ll never get the chance to live.” Trying to find words to explain I finally found my voice.
“Mr. Taylor, I don’t think that I can do it, and besides what about everyone here?” “I can’t just leave them behind.” “Maybe I just want to stay in this town and become a teacher, and grow old peacefully.” “And what about you, I can’t forget the man that gave me my first big break.” “How will I ever repay you?” my voice was trailing off. He looked at me and sighed.
“You don’t have to do anything, just send me a post card when you’re rich and famous.” A hint of laughter in his voice. Then there came a serious tone to his voice. “If you don’t want to do it for yourself do it for me.” He smiled and gave me that look that I loved to see upon his face. We looked at each other then left and walked to our cars. I gave him one last smile and wave before I left. Figuring that I would see him the next day. I never did.
By the time I came back to the real world the office was dark. I must have fallen asleep when I was thinking, because it was now 8:30. Then I saw out of the corner of my eye movement. Thinking that it was Brandon I started towards it. Then felt it. The air was getting cold, my breath becoming visible. The black cloaked figure inched its way towards me. Finally it stood looming over me like it had before. Its cold hard eyes staring into my own. Time felt limitless, I stood frozen to the spot as he began to speak. But unlike before I could hear what he was saying and fell to my knees when he did. His eyes had turned from cold hard black to a light green hazel color. I knew those eyes. Then his hood fell and short brown hair appeared. I knew that hair. Finally the entire cloak fell and there in its place was a white one draped over this person. Finally revealing his face. The dark glow around him turned to a wonderful, white yellow glow. Tears began to fill when I found that the man under it was Mr. Taylor. He smiled and looked at me. He called out my name and I stood up wondering if this was just another dream. I knew that it wasn’t though. Finally we stood eye to eye. To took his hand and whipped away my tears, when he did that I cried more. Felling his touch was amazing it was warm, & wonderful.
The next day was better then the day before. Everyone seemed to be in a better mood, with one exception. Brandon hadn’t shown up for the past couple of days. When he did show up he stayed away from anyone and everyone. Sometimes I would catch him in the halls, and I would walk towards him, but he just turned and shut me out. I didn’t understand why though. We were going through the same thing. I had just happened to deal with it differently. Maybe I should have told about those two nights Mr. Taylor showed up. But then I would sound insane. If I’m going insane how I could be writing this though, so in this case I’m perfectly sane just as anyone else. I have to be right? I know what I saw and I know that it was not a figment of my imagination. I decide to confront Brandon on Friday and demand that he tell me what was wrong. That day came sooner then planned.
“Brandon, will you stop for a minute and talk to me!” I yelled grabbing for his shoulder.
“No, you wouldn’t understand!” he yelled back turning to face me.
“If you would just give me sometime to understand, I could help you.” “We went through the same things when Mr. Taylor died, you and me both know that.” Tears were now streaking down my face as he glared down at me.
“Not exactly.” He said in a blunt tone. Staring at me he walked away again, leaving me in the hall. I wasn’t going to let him walk away this time.
“You can’t do this!” I yelled after him.
“Get back here!” I screamed again
“There are just some things you don’t understand right now, and that’s okay.” His eyes were filled with tears and his voice was begin to crack.
I felt that I need to help him so I stayed put and looked at him for awhile longer.
“Brandon I’m here for you and you need me as much as I need you.” He looked again and hugged me and we stood there. I don’t know what came over him but that day Brandon told me everything that was on his mind, and that was okay. “Brandon I have to tell you something I saw, it’s really weird and probably insane.” He looked and I think he knew what I was going to say.
“Two times now I’ve seen a man… it was Mr. … Mr. Taylor as I choked out the words. Afraid of his expression, time froze. Brandon gave a small laugh and looked at me a grin on his face.
“Yah me too, I been afraid to tell anyone because I thought that it was too weird.” “Did you know that it was Mr. Taylor the first time he appeared?” “Cause I sure didn’t, but then I knew it was him the second time though.” He laughed again and smiled at me.
There we stood just laughing at each other. It really was something to be happy about, and we were but there was something more to it.
One time when we were in 10th grade he had us stay after class. He told us that he was proud of us not only as athletes but as fine young adults. He promised us that he would always be there for us. But that was no longer the case. He was gone and we were left alone with the burden of missing him. But in some ways he had kept his word to us. He had reappeared out of no where to both of us twice. He was never really truly gone. The empty spaces filled us up with holes, we tried to go on like we never knew him but that didn’t work for us. But we knew that Mr. Taylor would always be there for us, though we could not see him.
Time passed and we moved on. Thinking about Mr. Taylor day in and day out. Never straying to far from our minds. The frequent visits of Mr. Taylor soon fell away and we no longer saw him. Brandon soon gave up on ever seeing him again, unlike me. I hoped that he would return again for one last visit. Thinking about him every day wondering when I was going to see him I wrote a story and sent it in to the college, a week later I got a letter saying that I had gotten expected. Brandon continues to be like the man he thought so highly of. Every now and then we visit Mr. Taylor’s grave and I fall to my knees. Still shell-shocked by the whole thing. My story I sent in was called The Guardian. Talking about the man that gave me a chance to live my dream. The man that kept his word to the very end. Mr. Taylor is the one and the only guardian.
The last day I stood in his office, brought back the time of my life. I closed my eyes hoping that I could remember the times I had in there. Thinking that I was alone I talked to myself.
“I will miss you more then you will ever know.” “You have taught me how to live life to its full value.” “I just whish you were here to see me graduate, to see me walk across the stage, diploma in my hand, pride in my heart, and tears in my eyes.” “Thank you for everything, and I will miss you.” At that I took a moment of silence, my eyes still closed. I heard a voice that I knew only to well.
“I know, I whish I could be there for you and Brandon.” “And I will be there sitting in the front row.” “All you have to do is close your eyes, take a breath, think of me, and look over your shoulder and I’ll be there.” “Ill see you through this, I promise I’ll be there.” At that I opened me eyes. An immense smile broadened across my face. As I saw the man I so desperately wanted to see. He grinned back at me and tears fell from his face. I walked towards him, his arms wide open. Embraced by him I said
“Will it be long before I see you again?” looking up at his face. He shook his head and said “No.” and I knew what he meant. Again tears fell from both our faces.
”Just tell me that you be here forever, that it’s not just some dream I have.” I said.
“I will always be here for you when you need me.” He backed away slowly as the last word slipped through his lips. I ran towards him but he stuck out his hand signaling that I could come no further. I knew what he meant and slowly backed away. Knowing that this wouldn’t not be the last time I saw him. But tears filled my eyes and I said goodbye for the last time. As he disappeared in the white glow I would grow all too familiar with in the years to come.
“I’m proud of you, all you have to do is call my name and I’ll be there in a heartbeat.” the whispers slowly fading from that day, but never my mind, nor my heart.