Jack was perched precariously on the ‘do not stand’ rung of his rickety latter. He was in the process of stretching to replace a blown garage lightbulb when he lost his balance and fell to the concrete floor. His wife had been nagging him about changing it for weeks but he had been avoiding the chore because of the difficulty involved. He put it off until it was clear that it (and the nagging), wasn’t going away.
He awoke on the cold cement after an uncertain amount of time had passed. A white, billowy aura encompassed his vision. Likewise, his mind was filled with the confusing haze of someone who had just suffered a serious head injury. He called out in desperation but his wife failed to appear. Instead the white light grew brighter and he could make out the silhouette of a shadowy figure to his left.
“Melody! I fell off the ladder changing that damn lightbulb you’ve been griping about! I think I may have a concussion. I can’t think straight at all and everything is hazy. You’ve got to take me to the Emergency room.”
The figure didn’t say anything. It just remained stationary; as if waiting for something else to transpire. “I am the one to show you.” It responded ominously.
“Huh? WHAT?” he asked with more than a little bit of fear and trepidation.
“You’ve been wondering what your life might have been like if you had made different relationship decisions along the way. I am here to show you three divergent paths from the one you are on now.”
Jack was alarmed that Melody hadn’t came to check on him but far more concerned that a total stranger had mysteriously invaded the privacy of their garage. In his mental fog, the gravity of the stranger’s cryptic words hadn’t made any impression. He hadn’t digested their meaning at all.
“Melody! Come here! I need your help. There’s an intruder in the house. Call 911! Alright now buddy. I don’t know what you want but the cops will be here pretty quickly. We are only a few minutes from the precinct. If you leave now you…”
“She can’t hear you. No one can. It’s just you and me now.”
Jack began to panic. He took the stranger’s words to mean that they were alone because he had harmed or killed her. He tried to scramble to his feet but the fall really rung his bell. He staggered for a few seconds before managing to rise to his knees. The room was still spinning and the sudden movement made him woozy. Finally he leaned on the wall and stood up. To his horror, the stranger didn’t appear to have any feet. In the place of which was nothingness, connected to indistinct legs and an opaque torso. About the only solid looking part of the uninvited guest was up near his face. Stern and yet somehow emotionless, would possibly best describe the spirit’s rigid appearance.
A dozen threads of fear shot through Jack’s mind but it never occurred to him that the disembodied visitor was actually telling the truth. “Melody! Melody! Get in here now! I need… Hel”
“I told you already. There is no Melody. There is only you and I, for the moment. Many times you have wondered how different your life would be if you had picked a different spouse. It is my job to show you how your circumstances would have turned out, if you had. I have the power to facilitate three divergent timeline viewings for you. Soon you will have the answers to the questions that plague your mind. Do with them what you will. It is only my duty to show you. I can not guide or advise you in any way.”
“Wha? What are you talking about? I’ve never said I wanted to know about those things. I am…”
“Happy? In the past week you have complained bitterly about your wife’s ‘nagging’; as you call it. You mutter under your breath about her recent expensive automobile accident, and you blame her for driving an emotional wedge between you and your Mother. That hardly sounds like you are happy with her. It seems like she’s little more than a nuisance that you tolerate. I’m offering you a chance to see if you would be happier with what was behind the other proverbial relationship curtains. Shall we go now?”
“What are you, the ghost of Christmas past?”; Jack snorted sarcastically. The ‘guide’ actually rolled his eyes in annoyance at the Dickens reference but remained silent for the moment.
“Did you fall off your beanstalk, Jack?”; He retorted.