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With Each Passing Day
Standing in despair, while the register of gloom rang through his ears; Jameson Caldwell was his name and life was not his game. Starting just after high school, he worked at the twinkle mart in the small town of Henderson, Maryland. Jameson is now thirty years old and still at the same place, doing the same thing. Each day he arose to the same sound of a train passing nearby and his mom yelling at the wall. His mom was diagnosed with depression and Alzheimer’s just before he graduated high school and now doctors have labeled her as a lunatic. Each day was the same; wake up, take care of his mom until the nurse arrived, and then off to the mart. After a few years of this same routine Jameson went and saw a doctor which diagnosed him with depression and recommended him to a psychologist in which he never saw. Each passing day only brought greater despair and a dimmer future such as his mom.
Now he stood in despair, while the register of gloom rang through his ears, with no hope in sight. After a day’s long worth of standing at the register, his time at work had finally come to a close. He took off his work apron and headed out the sliding doors at the front of the store that lead out to Main Street. Each day He walked home through Main Street, and then made a left turn after a few miles unto Davis Blvd. while smoking on Camels, which were his favorite cigarettes. His house was only a few blocks off Davis, directly adjacent from a BJ’s gas station, where he usually went for cigarettes and beer.
Same thing each day, but today threw in a little curve ball as Main Street was shut down due to a festival and parade. Jameson looked at all the commotion and people, and then began looking for an escape route to stay to himself. After a few brief moments of scouting, he then found a dark narrow alley way that lead to the Miles Road, which lead to Davis. Taking a quick drag off his rich, mellow flavored cigarette, he then briskly walked through the alley way, hoping that no bums or thieves were in the midst. Taking a few more puffs off his cigarette and his head focused on the ground; he could see the light shining on his feet from the other opening unto Miles.
Once the sunlight engulfed his being, he then looked up knowing he had made it to the other side. Taking one last drag of relief off his cigarette, he then tossed it back into the dark alley way that stood behind him. He took a deep breath and then went into a slight shock as everything around him seemed quite different. Wiping his eyes rapidly, thinking there might have been something else in his cigarette, at least he hoped that was it. As he stood dumbfounded, he looked at cars that passed by that he had never seen before and people dressed in clothing that was quite unrecognizable to him.
He then quickly glanced back at the dark alley way to see the festival going on, but there was nothing there, only strange cars driving by. After standing frozen to the ground for a few minutes, he finally began to walk towards Davis Blvd. A few steps went by along with bewildered thoughts, and then his pace began to speed up as his thoughts did also. Faster his steps became, the crazier his mind inclined until he was finally running and then sprinting his way home. He made it about a mile down the road until he ran out of breath, but it didn’t do much to slow him down as his anxiety carried him further.
Once he arrived at Davis and then swiftly turned left for a few blocks until he arrived at his house or at least what seemed to once be his house. He stood in amazement, staring at a giant shopping mall where his house once rested. Taking a deep breath he began to think to himself, “what in the hell is going on, what happened?”
Quickly he remembered BJ’s gas station across the street and his old time acquaintance Phillip who worked the register. He ran across the street and fiercely swung open the door, but only a baffled looking man stood at the register. “Where is Phillip?” The only words in which Jameson could utter out of his anxious, shaking lips. The store clerk looked at him confused and said, “Who is Phillip?” Now Jameson’s anxiety turned into anger, “who is Phillip? Listen to me; don’t be playing mind games with me man! I just saw Phillip yesterday!” he yelled at the store clerk. The store clerk then pulled out a double barrel shot gun, “listen, there is no Phillip, so just leave now before I call the police,” he said with a calm, yet serious tone. Jameson began to back away slowly, and then saw a calendar behind the store clerk that read, “October 15, 2030.” His mind completely went blank as he turned around and slowly walked out of the store.
Thoughts began to race through his mind as he tried to understand all that was going on. “Ok somehow sixteen years have passed by, my house is gone, anybody I knew before, which is practically no body, is nowhere in sight,” he thought to himself. Just then the thought of his cynical mom came into his mind, “where could she be?” The only place that made sense to him was an unfortunate place he would rather not go, but knew he would find his answer; he needed to go to the old town cemetery. The cemetery was only a few blocks away on Davis, so he went his way with only anxious thoughts and grief in his heart.
Once he arrived at the cemetery he knew that his mom’s grave shouldn’t be too hard find as the town plotted grave sites alphabetically. As he approached the C’s, he began to tear up and think about how much he did not do for his mom and how much he didn’t truly appreciate her. Each step was as a mile long stretch over the pit of hell. Stone by stone; Bundy, Byrd, Cain, and then finally Caldwell. There stood his mother’s grave with big letters that read, LISA CALDWELL, BORN APRIL 20, 1956; DIED OCTOBER 16, 2014, LOVED AND CARED FOR BY HER SON JAMESON.
All Jameson could do was burst into tears as he read each word, “this means she died the day after I was brought here to this time, but how?”, he asked himself quietly. As he asked himself this bewildering question, a voice behind him said, “this woman died because her son was killed the day before and no one was there to attend to her.” Jameson quickly turned around to a tall, older man standing above him. “What do you mean her son was killed? I am her son and I’m alive right now, speaking with a crazy old man!” He shouted in anger and confusion.
The man laughed for a brief moment, then answered him, “you can’t be this woman’s son, because he was killed several years ago in a dark alley between Main Street and Miles Road; her son’s grave is right next to hers’.” Jameson swiftly turned around only to see a grave next to his mom’s that read, JAMESON CALDWELL, BORN JULY 8, 1985; DIED OCTOBER 15, 2014, QUIET, BUT PEACEABLE AND DID WELL FOR HIS MOM.
An even greater felling of fear and confusion flooded his mind as he tried to understand how this was all possible, “how can I be alive now, but dead then?” He said as he continued to stare at his tomb stone. The man kneeled down beside him while putting his hand on Jameson’s shoulder and said, “That’s because you are not Jameson and I’m really not sure where you have gotten that idea from, but maybe we should go to the hospital and let them take a look at you.” The man then began to try and lift Jameson up off the ground to take and get him help, but Jameson quickly pulled away from him and asked, “Who are you?” The man looked at him confoundedly, “my name is Phillip, I run my own gas station across town and I like to come here each year at this time to visit this grave; an old acquaintance of mine you could say, he use to come in my store all the time and buy cigarettes and beer, not a bad fellow,” he said while glancing at the grave with a slight smile on his face.
The man then looked back up at Jameson, “now let’s go get you some help,” he suggested as he began to approach him. Jameson turned around and began to run as fast as he could, full of fear, regret, and turmoil. “This can’t be real, it must be a dream!” He thought to himself as he ran rapidly back towards the dark alley with the hope that it might put him back in reality.
As he came closer to the dark alley, the faster he ran, but the slower everything around him seemed to go. He began to see the dark alley ahead of him, but it seemed as though it was stretching further away from him. Time seemed as though it was in slow motion and at the same moment the surrounding space stretched further and further away into the distance. People to the right and left looked as though they almost did not move. The dark alley was now out of reach in a distance that was unrecognizable. All of the surrounding space around him stretched to a point that left him in utter darkness, frozen in time. “This is it, I am really dead,” he thought to himself, “but that doesn’t make sense either since Phillip did not even recognize me, then who am I?”
I awoke from my sleep drenched in sweat, “what kind of dream was that?” I asked myself as I sat up in my bed with thoughts racing through my head. I quickly looked at my watch and glanced at my calendar across the room which read, January 19, 1981. I took a deep breath and laid back down for a moment before getting up and getting ready for work, “who is Jameson Caldwell? 2014 is a long ways away, especially 2030, how do did I dream up such non sense?” I asked myself while wiping more sweat off my forehead.
All the way to work I kept telling myself, “I am not Jameson, I am me.” Even at this point my mind was so wrapped up into the dream that I had trouble remembering my own name! As I walked into work, my co-worker immediately noticed something was out of order, “what’s up my friend, something troubling you?” He asked while flipping through a magazine. “I had a crazy dream last night and it’s got me so twisted up in my head that I can’t even remember who I am!” I told him while putting my name tag on and sliding past him to stand behind the register. He looked at me laughing, “my friend you are Phillip, you manage my gas station, remember now? So make sure you do a good job today!” He exclaimed jokingly. I stood in relief for a moment while telling myself silently, “I am Phillip, not Jameson.”
I began to finally forget the dream and come back to reality, but then it finally hit me, I was Phillip in the dream, but at the same time I was living someone else’s life years from now. I quickly smacked myself a few times to make sure I was awake and sane at the same time, so I made myself forget about it for many years. Anytime the dream came back up I would quickly think of something else, something much more pleasant.
It worked for a while, with each passing day; that is until the day a young man walked in to buy some cigarettes and beer. The man looked familiar, but I couldn’t put a name on him. He was a shorter, young man with a grocers’ uniform on. He looked down in the dumps, so I figured I would cheer him up and give him the beer for free. “You can have the beer my friend, but I will still need to see your license,” I told him as I put the beer in a paper bag. He slowly pulled his license out and handed them over. I scanned over it, “twenty one, all good and interesting name, like I have seen it somewhere; Jameson Caldwell, where have I heard that name?” It only took a brief moment when it hit me and it all became clear.