Robert’s eyes felt heavy, almost as if they were filled with sand as he struggled to keep them open. Fatigue and tiredness were the main culprits assaulting his eyelids. Working two jobs for the past three years had taken its toll on him. A once upbeat and vibrant man had now been widdled down to a stump of his former self. He had become unsure of the person that would gaze back at him in the mirror these days.

     Warily succumbing to the endless battering, he closed his eyes for the briefest of seconds. Opening them again to find himself re-energized. He could feel the rays of the sun hounding his body—the warmth as it embraced him in a bear-like hug. There was an overwhelming feeling of being at ease, a peaceful tranquility in the air. An eerie calm had overtaken him as he sat basking in this new aurora as if transported to another happier moment in time.

     The sounds of children playing were plentiful all around him. He could hear the wind blowing by sweeping through the trees, rustling their leaves, the barking of dogs, chirping of birds. The smells, oh, the aromas of a lovely spring day, he thought, taking in a deep breath of fresh air. The park’s flowers were in full bloom; a whiff of hotdogs from a cart vendor riding on the back of the breeze filled his nostrils. As he found himself sitting on a park bench watching a beautiful day unfold.

It was truly a beautiful day, a perfect day, actually, he thought. Dozens of kids running about in the playground as he leaned back, feeling the cool touch of the bench’s wooden slat against his arm. Then, he felt a tickle, a soft, gentle touch on his arm. He looked down to find that a ladybug had just landed on him. Glancing over for a second, taking his eyes off his son Roland, he quickly removed the tiny insect and placed it on the plant’s leaf behind him.

He looked back over to find Roland still swinging from the monkey bars. Swinging across, dropping down, circling back to the start to do it all over again. A bright smile creased across Robert’s lips as he watched his son play. This was indeed a beautiful day.

“Daddy, daddy,” Roland shouted, racing over to his father. “I wanna go on the swings, please, please.” The young boy begged, jumping up and down putting on his best puppy dog pouty face.

Robert fought back a chuckle. His young son knew such things worked on his daddy, and he would strategically employ the puppy dog pouty face anytime he really wanted to do something. Which, in most cases, it would work, both of his parents would cave.

Sighing, Robert checked his watch. Just before leaving home, he’d promised his wife that they’d be home no later than 4pm. It was just now three. They only lived a block away, so he figured they had some time. “Ok, ok,” Robert said, acquiescing to his son’s fervent pleas. “But, only for a little bit, and on the way home, if you promise not to tell mom this time, we can get some ice cream.”

“I won’t, I won’t, I swear. And looky no fingers crossed.” Roland answered, showing his hands as he turned, making a beeline sprint to the swing sets looking back. “Push me.”

“Ok,” Robert got up, following his son. “I’ll give you a few pushes, that’s all, though. You’re a big boy now, right. What are you four-five years old.” He said, smiling.

“Dad, I am six,” Roland responded, hopping up into the semi-curved hardened rubber seat, looking back with a tinge of annoyed expression.

“Oh, that’s right,” Robert continued playing like he didn’t know his own son’s age. “Actually, aren’t you like six and three quarters by now,” he said, giving the swing a gentle push.

“Yeah, and soon I’ll be seven,” Roland exclaimed, kicking his feet, propelling the swing forward. “I wanna go higher, daddy.”

“Ok, just hang on,” Robert gave another push, this time slightly harder than before. Roland squealed in enjoyment as the swing rose higher off the ground.

“Daddy, higher,” Roland’s seat slung back towards him, and Robert gave him another push. While waiting for the chair to come back down, Robert glanced around. There were markedly fewer people around. Once a bustling hub of screaming and yelling kids in mid-play, the park had tapered off. “Daddy, more,” Roland squealed as he rocketed forward. At another glance, moms and dads were packing their picnic bags and hustling the kids off. The high sun disappeared blotted out for a second as a cloud rolled under it, darkening the park. “Daddy, higher.”

“Ok, Roland, this will be the last one, though. I think it’s time to go now. Looks like a mid-day storm is coming.” Robert braced for one last push.

“Make it big then, the biggest.”

The seat and Roland swung back towards Robert; he pushed with restrained might wanting to please his son as he always did. He watched Roland jet off, squealing in pure glee. A whopping big ‘wee’ as he swung. A loud thunderous clap came from behind. Robert whirled around, startled at the boom. Clouds were now roiling in fast and encircling the park in darkness from all directions.

“Roland, it’s time to go,” Robert said, looking back finding the swinging seat empty. Fear gripped at his chest, heart thudding. “Roland,” He shouted. “Roland, where are you.” Frantically surveying the surrounding area. Did he jump off hearing the thunder? Robert twisted about, looking at the big oak tree in the park’s center. Maybe he ran for cover there. No such luck. “Roland,” Robert shouted louder. Perhaps the jungle gym. He rushed over to the oversized plastic fort of slides and crawl spaces. “Damit, Roland, answer me. Roland, where are you.” The skies had begun to open up, the rain came pouring down in sheets. Wave after wave of cascading water. Another hellish boom off in the distance, a brilliant arch of light lit up the park, which was now cast in a darkening shadow. The roll of thunder overhead increased. Wind howling as it swept across the land, blowing leaves and debris all around. A twisting tornado of abandoned picnic supplies swirled about. Cupping his sopping wet hands to his mouth, “Roland,” Robert shouted. “Where are you?”

“Right here, daddy.” Came his quiet, soft voice from behind.

Robert spun, finding his son standing behind him, gasping at what he’d just laid his eyes upon. Roland’s face was a shade of blue, his left arm dangling at his side, contorted in unnatural angles. His face covered in scrapes and cuts. A large gash ran across his forehead, blood oozing down. Robert didn’t know what to do; he was frozen, paralyzed.

“Oh my god, Roland. What happened.” Robert asked, breaking loose of the fear wrapping his arms around his son as water poured down over them. Another explosion of electricity sent a bright bolt of lightning arching across the darkening sky above, followed by a deafening crackle.

“Why did you do it, dad?” The kid asked. Robert withdrew in wonder. “Why did you let this happen?” Giving his father an accusatory look.

“I…I…didn’t…know…how could I….” Robert stammered, not knowing how to answer his boy.

“Why did you kill me? It’s all your fault. ALL YOUR FAULT,” Roland shouted.

Beeeeeeeeep.

Robert’s eyes shot wide open to find nothing but a set of bright lights filling his retinas. For a moment allowing him to believe he’d achieved what he’d wanted on this fateful night. He eased his foot off the pedal, loosening his grip on the steering wheel, ready for the light to take him. Silently mouthing, I am ready.

Beeeeeeeep.

Another loud blast from a truck’s air horn shocked Robert’s system back into alertness. Tightening his grip on the wheel of his pickup truck, panic and fear set in, paralyzing him as he accelerated—his 3-ton pickup truck setting it on a collision course with the 40-ton 18 wheeler barreling down on him—a losing fight.

Beeeeeeeep.

The trucks driver laying down a cacophonic blast from its air horn resonating into the chilled dewy night, once more shaking Robert out of his temporary paralysis. Activating a raw natural primal instinct-survival. Robert jerked on the wheel at the last possible instant, stamping on the brakes. The tires squealed against the slick asphalt as the vehicle careened to its right and off the road. A thump as the tires hit the gravel shoulder, the truck’s front end heading for the unbarred side of the road leading to a steep embankment.

Robert fought with all his strength to straighten out. But, regaining control of the truck with two of its wheels in the gravel would be an arduous task. The balding tires slewed, kicking and spitting up the earth’s loosened pebbles. He cut the wheel sharp back to the left, guiding the front end, but the back still skittered and swayed dangerously out of control.

The rear passenger side tire dangled over the embankment before the front two tires found purchase once more on the paved road. Gripping tightly to the asphalt, the truck jolted forward, placing all four tires back onto solid ground and onto the road once more.

Letting loose off the accelerator, the pickup truck came to a slow stop on the desolate, darkened road. Checking the rearview mirror, watching the demon-like red taillights of the truck’s trailer disappear into the night. Robert took in a deep breath, heart thudding in rhythm with the wiper blades as they streaked across the rain-plastered windshield. His hands trembled as he removed them from the wheel slowly. Knuckles changed from a pale white to their standard tint as blood trickled back into them.

“Fuck,” Robert spat, banging the dashboard with his hands, instantly regretting the action as pain shot through his wrist. “That would have been so much easier.” He thought out loud to himself. Collecting his composure—his heartbeat returned to its regular pace as he sighed, sitting quietly listening to the rain pellets denting the hard steel of his truck. But they were starting to taper off. “I can’t even do one thing right.”

Looking out the windshield, slowing his breathing, he saw his original destination through the streaked water. The bridge wasn’t too much further out now. “Almost there,” he said, glancing into the passenger seat down at a plastic figurine of a superhero. He set off once again, this time wide awake.

He reached the bridge a few moments later, pulling off partially into the bike lane. Autonomously checking the road for incoming cars. Which he knew there would be none as his favorite fishing spot-the bridge was off the typical well-traveled highways, and in the dead of night, there would be even less travelers.

Opening the driver’s door, a cacophony of cascading beer bottles and cans rained down onto the pavement. A chill from the cold night’s air washed over him, sending a shiver down his spine.

“Shhhh.” Robert hissed, placing a trembling finger to his lips. Shushing the inanimate objects as if they would listen to his commands. He staggered out of the vehicle, knees nearly buckling. He hadn’t fully recovered from the earlier drama, apparently. “Oh,” he remembered leaning back in, scooping the figurine from the seat. He circled around to the bed of the pickup, dropping the tailgate. Placing the superhero in the corner. He slid out a heavy cinder block, carrying and hefting it over the bridge’s railing and onto the small causeway setting it down before returning back to the truck.

He retrieved a small plastic bag removing a nylon rope from inside. Grabbing the figurine, he retreated back to the causeway jumping over the rail.

“Don’t worry, Roland daddy will pay for what he did,” Robert said, staring at the plastic toy, talking to it as if it were his son.

Blowing into his hands for warmth, he took off the rope’s wrapping. Taking one end, he tightly secured it around the hulking block of concrete. Double and triple-checking the knot in between intermittent blows warming up his hands. It was cold enough for him to see each of his breaths. Figuring that would provide a failsafe for him if he changed his mind. If the water doesn’t kill him, the weather elements would surely do him in eventually.

After checking that the rope was fastened around the block, he took the other end and knotted it around his right ankle. Then retrieved the toy.

“Well,” he said, staring into the deadened black dots of the figure’s eyes. “This is it. I am so sorry that I wasn’t the father you needed, Roland. I am sorry I let you and your mother down. And now I’ve lost you both. I have no purpose here in this world without either of you. So, it’s time I end it. I can’t go on living without the two of you. I am not worthy of this life anymore,” he wept.

Gripping the superhero doll in one hand, his son’s favorite toy. Robert smiled, remembering that Roland used to always say they needed to make one of him because his dad was a real-life superhero. Then, with a deep heavy sigh, resigned to this one last moment on earth. He picked up the block shambled to the edge of the causeway. Closing his eyes, flashing back to the day in the park, before the diagnosis, the treatments, the bills, before his loss, grief, and heartbreak. This was it. All the pain and suffering he’d endured over the last few years about to be washed away; sunk to the bottom of his favorite fishing spot—the one he first took Roland to.

Opening his eyes about to jump, a car’s engine revved in the distance interrupting Robert’s quiet, peaceful ending. A pair of headlights caught him in their beams. A car was speeding towards him. He couldn’t jump now; they would see him and try to save him.

He backed away, trying to shake loose from the illumination. Hopefully, the driver hadn’t already seen him. Was it a cop? Did the truck driver call in the near accident, thinking maybe Robert and flown over the embankment? Slinking back, he noticed the car wasn’t slowing down.

Boom.

The car’s driver’s side tire exploded, deafening pop. The vehicle slewed from one side of the road and back to the other. Whoever was driving couldn’t regain control; they were headed straight for him-and the bridge.

Before he could react, the sedan burst through the bridge’s guard rail and flew over the edge, plummeting into the river below. As the car passed by mid float, Robert caught a glimpse of the terrified driver still clinging to the steering wheel, and in the back seat, the woman’s young daughter glanced over, consumed with fear as they fell.

The vehicle crashed nose-first into the cold drink below, tail end sticking out of the water. Robert looked on in horror, watching the event unfold. He may have been there to kill himself, but the woman and her child surely weren’t there for the same thing. He needed to do something and do it fast. The car would be submerged entirely in a matter of minutes.

Setting down the superhero doll, Robert reached down and quickly untied himself from the cinder block casting the ill-fated rope aside. Then, scrambling back to the cab of the truck, retrieving a crowbar, and rapidly dialing 911 from his cell, dropping it back on the passenger seat before returning to the causeway. “I may not have been able to save you, but I can save them.” He said to the figure before launching himself from the bridge.

Robert dove into the water, splashing down mere feet from the sinking car. He was right about one thing. If he had chickened out at the last minute cutting the rope, then the sheer temperature would probably make him succumb to death.

Upon crashing into the water, he was hit with a sudden burst of the arctic water, chilling him right down to the bone marrow. It smashed against his lungs like a 20-pound weight expelling any built-up oxygen. As he rose, head breaking the waterline, a breeze swept under the wind tunnel of the bridge, setting his face ablaze almost as if it were on fire. Chilling his breath even more as it was rapidly being pushed out, teeth instantly chattering away like the old wind-up dental toys.

Disoriented from the dive and sudden exposure to the harsh realities of the near-freezing waters, Robert surveyed the area for the vehicle. A shrill cry for help quickly re-orienting him. He spun to find the tail end of the vehicle still sticking up at a forty-five-degree angle. The little girl in the back banging against the window.

“I am coming,” Robert tried to shout but could hardly squeeze the words out. Even his lungs were cold; it felt like breathing in chunks of glass with every breath.

He set off swimming as fast as possible, reaching the vehicle in a few strokes. He looked inside into the back seat at the frightened girl, who was about nine or ten years old, about the same age as Roland would’ve been. The look on her face deadened Robert, as he imagined that it would’ve been the same look on Roland’s face the night he died.

Jogging the thought away with a shake of his head. “Get back.” He warned, bringing up the crowbar. Which was practically frozen to his hand at this point.

Due to the vehicle’s entry angle, he needed to act fast. The waterline hadn’t yet reached the back window. He should be able to easily break it. He swung the bar back, readying with all his might to smash it out.

He paused.

If he broke the window, once the waterline crested the vehicle’s back, it would pour into the car, causing it to sink faster. Which would rapidly reduce his chance of saving the woman too. But knowing for a fact if it were him inside trapped with Roland in the back seat. All he’d want is for someone to save his kid.

Robert swung.

The metal object thudded against the hard-tempered glass, but it didn’t shatter. “Oh, come on.” He bellowed, inhaling a deep breath. The coldness pierced his lungs like a knife. He swung once more, summoning up more strength for the second blow.

This time the glass shattered, breaking away inside the vehicle. But the waterline had already reached the back seat. Water poured inside the compartment, flooding it. In a clear state of shock, the little girl didn’t move.

“Come here, darling,” Robert called out, reaching through the window for the girl. She quickly huddled against the opposite side. He peeked down into the driver’s seat. “Miss, are you ok.” He asked, getting a croggy moan in reply. Figuring during the crash, she must’ve hit her head on the steering wheel. He turned his attention back to the girl. “Sweetie, I need for you to come to me. I am going to get you out of here.”

“Mommy, what about mommy?” She cried.

Panicking as the water had almost filled the front section. “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out and then come back for your mommy. Ok, sweetie, but first, I need for you to come to me.” Knowing full well with each passing second rescuing her mother would be a longer and longer shot.

The girl climbed across the seats and into Robert’s waiting hands. Pulling her out through the window, clutching her as hard as he could. He quickly swam to the river banks, dragging her and himself out onto the soft mud panting. Each breath hurt more than the one before.

Lying on their backs, shivering, huddled together, teeth clattering. A rustling of trees and bushes came from behind them. Robert sat straight up, feeling around the mud, searching for the crowbar. Wolves were known to traverse the woods. Getting to his feet, he whirled around weapon at the ready. When two people burst through the foliage.

One an African American man with a cell phone pressed to the side of his head, and the other a red-haired woman. “Whoa,” the man shouted, seeing the mud-clad Robert about to unleash a furious blow. “No, I found them.” He said into the phone. “Are you two alright?”

“Oh, sweetie.” The woman cried upon seeing the shivering girl. “Here, take this,” removing her jacket giving it to the girl.

“Is there anyone else with you? The operator needs to know. Rescue vehicles are on the way.” The man said.

“The…there is…is,” Robert’s teeth were chattering so hard he could barely get words out. His lungs felt like they were freezing from the inside out. “Therrrr….is.”

“Mommy,” the girl cried out, pointing back into the river.

Robert whirled around to see the tail end of the sedan disappear under the water. “Shit, her mom’s still inside.” He sprinted back to the water.

“No, sir, wait.” The man screamed, but Robert wasn’t going to listen even if he had heard him. He wasn’t going to let anyone else die.

Robert swam back to the submerged car; taking in a deep pained breath, he dove under. Even under the best of conditions, the visibility under the lake’s surface would have been strained. But at night, it was nearly impossible to see with no flashlight. The only thing guiding him to the car’s location was its two headlights, which were now flickering. The water was beginning to short circuit the electrical system. He would soon lose all visibility if they went out. Not to mention if she had regained consciousness in time to take a breath, she’d soon be running out of oxygen.

He swam faster, reaching the vehicle’s driver’s side door. He could see the woman inside. Thankfully she was awake. Struggling to try and open the door. Robert pounded on the window to let her know that he was there to help and signaled for her to watch out. He was going to try and bash the window open just as he’d done with the back.

He cocked back and swung as hard as he could. The water easily restricting his movement and momentum. The crowbar harmlessly fell upon the glass. Undeterred, he tried again, with the same outcome. He could feel his already labored lungs squeezing and contracting in his chest. He was running out of air, but if he was, so was she. He tried once more to bash the window to no avail. Feeling lightheaded and darkness creeping into his peripheral. He was moments from his own death. He looked into the window. The lady was no longer moving, her eyes closed.

Dropping the crowbar, Robert clawed for the door handle. The headlights flickered once more and then went out entirely. Now in almost complete darkness, he pulled with the last remaining ounces of strength in his body. With the pressure inside and outside of the car equal now, he was barely able to get the door open enough for him to pull the woman out of the driver’s seat.

They weren’t out of trouble yet. The darkness had now almost completely closed in around Robert’s iris’; his body seized as his lungs tried to drain out the last ounces of oxygen in his blood. His whole body burned; he could feel his slowing heartbeat in his ears, sliding between consciousness’. He tried to push away from the vehicle, clutching ahold of the woman.

He didn’t budge. He was stuck.

Pulling the woman out, he’d somehow gotten his foot entangled with the seat belt. The world around him fading away. He pushed the woman up towards the surface, hoping there was enough air left in her lungs to float up.

He reached down, feeling around in the darkness for his leg and the strap. Clawing at everything he could, finding the nylon ribbon. His body convulsed and seized again, unable to hold on to the belt. He lost his grip. His eyes slowly closed.

A burst of bright light encapsulated Robert as he slowly sank to the river bed floor. He heard voices in his head, the sounds of birds chirping, trees rustling, swings swinging, and children playing. Finding himself back in the park.

Except for this time, everything felt different. That tranquil peace from earlier was no longer there. He looked around to the swing set to find his son Roland swinging away blissfully. He approached slowly.

“Roland, Roland, it’s daddy.” He said with a bright smile. “I am here now, and I am never leaving your side again.” Plucking the young boy from the swing hugging him tightly in a warm embrace. “I…I can’t believe it.” Kissing the child’s forehead. “I am so sorry about what happened. I’ll never let anything happen to you again.”

Roland looked up to his father. “It’s ok, daddy. I know it wasn’t your fault.”

“I promise, never again. I am never leaving your side again. Where’s mommy?”

Roland stared blankly at his father. “Daddy, it’s not your time.” The young boy said.

“What?” Robert asked, dumbfounded.

“It’s not your time, they said.”

“Who’s they?”

“The angles, daddy. They said it’s not your time. You have more to do.”

“No, no, Roland. I am not leaving your side ever again.” Robert hugged his son tighter.

“But, you have to. There is someone right now who needs more than I do. And so many more, you have so much more to accomplish and do before it’s your time. There are more people out there that you can help. This isn’t your calling; this wasn’t why you were put on earth. You have a much bigger purpose. So, go, Mommy and I will be ok for now. We’ll see you again, daddy. Now go.” Roland tapped his father on the forehead.

Robert’s eyes opened once more as he hit the soft, silted bed of the river. Seeing the young mother drifting back down to him. Unfortunately, she didn’t float back to the surface as he’d hoped and with a newfound strength and energy despite the lack of oxygen. Robert recovered from his hypoxia-induced vision wiggling his foot loose of the seatbelt. He grabbed ahold of the woman once more and pushed off the bed of the river, swimming back to the surface.

Exploding through the calm, still waters, Robert gulped in the sweet frigid fresh air. Replacing one stinging pain with another. “Over here.” A voice called. Robert turned to find the man on the river bank coming into the water after them.

Several sets of flashing blue and red lights had converged on their location, lighting up the once desolate road. Robert sapped of all energy tried as best as he possibly could to swim to shore, with the mother still wrapped under one arm. Struggling to keep his head from dipping back below the surface.

Feeling a hand wrap around his. “I’ve got her, man, I’ve got her.” The man said, taking the woman from under Robert’s arms.

They both swam back to the side of the river, the red-haired woman helping pull all three back onto the bank.

“Mommy,” the girl cried, rushing over to her mom’s side. Robert rolled over, panting and gasping, expelling water pellets from his lungs. “She’s not breathing; mommy, wake up. Why aren’t you waking up.”

“Oh, shit, she’s not breathing,” the man said.

“Honey, the kid.” The woman exclaimed, pulling the girl back, allowing for him to start CPR.

“Let us through,” a pair of voices said, barging through the forest. Two paramedics rushed to the woman’s side, beginning CPR.

“This man needs assistance too.” The woman cried as several more rescue crew members came through the treeline.

“No, I am ok,” Robert said, “help her.” Pointing to the unconscious and still not breathing, mother.

“They’ve got her, sir,” Said a female paramedic who’d broken off from the group to attend to Robert. She took out a huge tin foil rescue thermal blanket, wrapping it around him before turning to the girl. “Ok, come here, sweetie. Let my friends help your mom now.” Pulling her aside, covering her in a similar blanket, sitting her next to Robert.

“It’ll be ok,” Robert said, wrapping the kid under his blanket too as they watched the paramedics work on the woman.

Two minutes later, she took in a massive breath of air, gurgling up a bucket of water. “We’ve got her back.” One paramedic shouted. “Oh, thank goodness, she’s back.”

“Mommy,” the girl wailed, sprinting to her side.

****

After about thirty minutes, everyone had found their way back up the embankment and to the bridge, where a fleet of rescue vehicles awaited. Ambulances, firetrucks, and several police cars had arrived on the scene. The girl and her mom were rushed to one of the waiting ambulances, abruptly packed inside, and whisked away. The sirens wailed down the dark road until they were out of sight in a matter of minutes.

Two police officers had slunk over coming back from Robert’s pickup truck with serious faces. They’d discovered the plethora of empty alcoholic beer cans and bottles that had fallen from inside. They’d even found the cinder block with the rope tied to it. During their questioning, though, they made no mention of the drinks or the cinder block. Several times exchanging looks with Robert like they knew what he was doing but were willing to omit it from their official report. He had, after all, just saved two people.

After the police had finished questioning Robert, the paramedic came back over. “Sir, are you sure you’re ok?”

“I am,” he thought about the whole ordeal for a minute. “yeah, I am fine.” He finally said with a smile.

“Well, I’d still like to take you in just for observation sake for the night.”

“Ok. But what about my truck?” He asked.

“We’ll have it towed to the hospital for you, sir.” One of the officers said. “It’s the least we can do, plus we do want to speak to you again, to get a full written report too.” Robert nodded.

“Ok, I just have to wrap up a few things here, and we’ll be on our way, sir,” The woman said.

“It’s Robert; please just call me Robert.”

“Sure thing, Robert. Mines Mandy, by the way,” she said, smiling, pointing to her name badge. “It’ll just be a few moments, Robert.” She then disappeared around the side of the truck.

A young blonde-haired firefighter approached just as the female paramedic left. “Sir, I just have to say that was probably one of the bravest things I’ve ever heard of. A complete stranger jumping into freezing water to save a woman and her child. There’s a lot of other people that wouldn’t have done that. You’re a lifesaver. Talk about the right place at the right time. Almost like you were meant to be here, at this exact time, exact place, under these exact circumstances,” he smiled and turned to walk away.

“Wait, what circumstances?” Robert asked. Could he, too, have found the cinder block and empty drinks. Did he also know that his original intention was to kill himself this evening?

The firefighter turned around. “You know, this road isn’t traveled by that many people. So, maybe, you were meant to be here.” He quickly glanced over to the railing—Robert following his eyes. Just on the other side were the cinder block and rope. Robert suddenly found himself entranced with what could’ve been. “Maybe, you have more to do in this world. Maybe, you have something bigger to do, a different purpose.”

The word snapped Robert out of his trance. “What did you just say?” But when Robert looked up, the firefighter had seemingly vanished.

“Ok, Robert, we’re all ready to go here,” Mandy said, reappearing around the corner, blocking Robert’s view of the scene getting in and closing the doors behind her.

What did he mean by a purpose? That’s exactly what the vision or Roland had said to him. What purpose could be greater than being a loving father and husband was there? Which he no longer was. So what else could be out there?

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