The Passageway – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

The newly remodeled Café Alkimia – One month after the accident

“Hi, John. Hi, Oliver!” Deborah squealed when she saw her two friends at their favorite spot. John was waving excitedly at her. She was still a bit shell-shocked coming back to the place where they’d all suffered so much, but in the end, all three decided it was best to face their fears and meet there. Seeing them again put her immediately at ease.

“It is so good to see you, Deborah,” said John with a big smile as he rose to hug her. “You look good, girl!”

“Yeah, and it’s at least nice to hear your voice since I can’t see you anymore,” Oliver said with a quirky smile, trying to fake humor. His attempt failed miserably. Both John and Deborah were filled with compassion for their friend but looked at each other with hopelessness. Each wondering if Oliver would be able to get past his bitterness.

Deborah swooped down and took Oliver in her arms, squeezing him until he finally said, “Enough, I can’t breathe!” She let go and promptly got comfortable in her chair. “Thanks for my coffee! I was looking forward to this. After being cooped up in the hospital for so long and then stuck in the house, an afternoon out is exactly what I needed. I appreciate you suggesting this.” Both men nodded in agreement.

The hours passed as they caught up about how their lives had changed since that fateful day. They’d all postponed college for the time being. Their parents felt they needed to heal fully before going back. For Deborah and John, with their physical states pretty much intact, it was more their emotional states preventing them from concentrating on anything other than healing. For Oliver, adjusting to his new reality of blindness was the hardest part.

John was the first to summon the courage to talk about his ER experience that day. Both Oliver and Deborah listened intently; fear, concern, and doubt flashed on their faces.

“I can’t believe that I had a Near-Death Experience, especially since we had just watched that lecture that day. It must be that I somehow planted it and become predisposed to having it happen. You know, like when you binge-watch something, and your dream is then all about the show?” John scanned both their faces hoping they’d agree. “It has to be that, or?” Oliver’s face was blank, but Deborah looked scared.

“You’re not going to believe this, but I think I had an NDE too!” Deborah said with some hesitation. “But it was the exact opposite. I wasn’t scared at all. It was quite beautiful, like being in Heaven.” John looked perplexed.

“Well, aren’t you the lucky ones!” Oliver piped in sarcastically. His self-pity was taking control. “I’m the only one who had something real, substantial, and devastating happen. Look at me; I can’t see! I’m blind because of that day! You guys had a frickin’ hallucination in the ER!”

Both Deborah and John insisted that what happened to them was real. While they agreed it might have been self-induced, it impacted them emotionally, and they wanted answers.

“I think we should go talk to Dr. Morton privately and tell him about our experiences. What do you think? I mean, he is an expert on this stuff supposedly,” said Deborah.

“Okay, fine,” said Oliver with more than just a little hostility.


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