It was a year later, and they were at the hospital again. This time, Jerry and Michelle Sanders were bringing home a baby. Sean Michael Sanders was all wrapped up in his Grandmother Chloris’ arms.
It hadn’t happened over night, and took a lot of work, most things worth accomplishing are born of consistency. They kept at it, and eventually arrived at a far better place.
Carl and Annette pulled up in the transport. Their son Collin was helping them carry the bags out. Annette had never met Carl’s secretary’s husband. They still were amazed at how God had placed everyone within reach.
For the longest time, the two of them had looked for Chloris’ son as a possible donor, only to find him a few tables away. Collin’s recovery took almost the whole year, but he was getting better.
Thanks to Jerry’s sacrifice, he had a future. Thanks to Jerry letting go of the past, so did his family. Chloris got a second chance to be a Mother, and a first chance to be a Grandmother. Jerry and Michelle were more in love than ever before. Finances had worked out in time, but their mindset had been corrected long before their pocketbooks.
Carter Gold was painting again, donated pieces of his new collection filled the maternity wing of the new hospital. It had a special neo-natal unit with the latest equipment. The wing that he had given the money to build, and he had named. They wanted to call it the Carter Gold wing, he said no.
He named it simply The Mended Wing, which was the title of the first painting placed there. It was the first painting that he had painted after his recovery. It was the portrait of an Eagle soaring higher, leaving behind his nest on the ground, as it joined a group of other eagles. At the dedication, Carter said these words.
“You can’t tell it in the painting, I wasn’t sure how to convey it there. The eagles soaring with him, they are the friends that tended to him when his wing was broken. They made sure that he knew that he was still valuable, even while injured. That is what my friends and family did for me when I thought I would never paint again. I hope we all have friends like these throughout our lives. May this wing of the hospital, be a friend like that, to all who enter it’s doors.”
He didn’t tell anyone else, but he was also describing The Garden. It had been started by an architect, turned Pastor. A man who knew first hand how it felt to gamble away everything of true value in life, only to find a second chance, and a Savior in a garden.
He is a passenger on the elevator just leaving the event. His story, and the other occupant’s work, Dr. Jeremiah Coulson are far from over. Their story will be told in the next adventure of Sky Bridge. It starts the way this story ends, with a power outage, and an explosion.
She was standing in the waiting room. Her head was down, tears had filled her eyes. Cloris braced herself for a tirade of emotions once she explained to her son why she had pushed him out of her life. Hans had delivered him and his wife to the hospital. Jerry would be prepped for surgery soon.
In the transport, Jerry and Michelle had talked. “Jerry, you don’t have to do this to prove anything to me.” He kissed her hand, “Honey, I love you, but I’m not doing this for you. I wish I could say that I was being noble, and doing this for a cousin that I didn’t even know that I had, but I can’t. I’m doing this for me, you see, the truth is, if I’m a match, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t. I would be walking away from a family member in need, and I know the pain that feels like.” She kissed him.
Now, he stood before his Mother, all of the anger started to come back, until, he saw something. He saw how his Mother was standing. It had been the same stance that he had in his last argument with his Wife. It was a stance of defiance and apology at the same time. It was a stance that said, I’m sorry, but I need help, I need you to forgive me, even though I don’t deserve it. The defiant part was that he couldn’t bring himself to say the words, he wanted it to be her fault.
He was right, it was the same stance, but with a different outcome. Cloris had spent enough time alone to where the words, while not easy, were worth saying. They were worth saying, if it meant getting her son back. “Jerry, I’m so sorry. It’s not an excuse, and it’s not a reason for the way I treated you, and I have prayed countless times that I had not been so selfish. When your Father died, I pushed away everything that reminded me of him, including you. I told myself there were legitimate reasons for my choices, but selfishness, and fear of pain were the real reasons.”
“My life spiraled to the brink of disaster, until one day, I had none left. That was when a visitor walked into my shop. I remembered him from years ago, he had been homeless, and addicted to numerous things. This day though, he was dressed nicely, but that wasn’t what was the startling thing. When I looked into his eyes, that wild raging anger, the one he had the entire time I had known him was gone. Instead, what I saw in his eyes, was peace.”
“I was bitter, I was angry. I told myself that his pain had been his own fault. I had lost something, but he had squandered it away. That’s when the memories of everyone I had pushed away marched into my head. Your face was the one that brought the tears. It’s been a long road, and I have a lot to make up for, but I’m different now. Would you give me a chance to make up for all the hurt, and the …”
A smile, tears, and a huge hug stopped her. “Mom, I think we’re both pretty much a mess. I’ll help you, and you help me, how’s that?” A few hours, and two successful procedures later, the future looked brighter than it had for a long time. Isaac smiled, this mission was almost over. They just had,
how did Matilda put it? “They had to finish growing a few roses to complete the bouquet.”
Jerry wasn’t moving, the team had expected either an explosion, or an escape at this point. They never even considered silence. Carter felt like he should say something, but he didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t been involved on one of these missions for a long time.
Isaac was used to the unexpected, even on these missions. He and his crew had a plan, everything was in place, and then something totally unplanned happened. He had learned that this wasn’t coincidence, it was Divine intervention. Isaac knew this was the case, because of the results that followed. He was experiencing one of those moments right now.
Finally, after two minutes, Jerry spoke. “Mr. Rosen, if I agree to speak to my Mother, will you help me with something else?” Isaac nodded, and didn’t ask for an explanation. Instead, he replied, “What do you need me to do?” “We need to get Mr. Gold to a hospital, I can save his hands.” Carter just looked at him.
“The company that I worked for found a cure for what I’m guessing is a degenerative never condition. Dr. Spencer Frankola just got Government approval on the medication. It’s not an instant cure, but it will work over time.”
Isaac laughed, “Dr. Spencer Frankola is an old friend, but I had no idea. He also is a member of a practice. One of his fellow doctors is looking for a transplant donor for your cousin. This transplant could save his life, and I believe, it may be the next step in salvaging yours Jerry.”
“Jerry, this is Carter Gold.” “Hello Jerry, you look a lot like your Father.” “Mr. Gold, I, pleased to meet you sir. Mr. Rosen, I don’t understand.” Isaac smiled, “Do you really need too? Or can it just be something wonderful that has happened?”
Jerry looked at his Wife, she looked at Mr. Rosen. “He’s a concrete guy Mr. Rosen, you’re going to have to explain it. He’s been hurt to many times to just believe that there isn’t a catch.”
Isaac nodded, “So was I a few years ago. Jerry, I’ll explain everything, first though, let me tell you a story. It’s not an abstract tale, it’s the story of a younger me. I wasn’t always a fabulous restauranteur, in fact, I worked for a friendly government, as a very efficient, unfriendly operative. One visit from me, and your doctor added at least six zeroes to your bill, if you made it.”
“Don’t let people tell you that lifestyle is thrilling, the truth is, it’s excruciating. You’re lonely, you’re distrusting, you’re always moving. That’s on a good day, on a bad one, you trust the wrong person, and never move again.”
“Retirement in that position wasn’t easy, too many people don’t like you. I tried, and always ended up saying one day. As a result, I slowly gave way to destruction. Bitterness and alcohol were my weapons of choice for what was essentially slow suicide. I was killing myself, and didn’t care.”
“It may surprise you Jerry, but while an addiction and a killer, it was the easier of the two to kick. I got rid of it to save my liver, the bitterness took much longer. You see, the alcohol was my coping mechanism for the bitterness. Once my crutch was gone, I fell apart even faster.”
“Bitterness can destroy you, it almost did me. Of course, the climax of that involved a man running for his life, redemption, and forgiveness.” Jerry smirked, “Let me guess Mr. Rosen, he came to kill you, you forgave him, and then you were both free?”
“Not exactly, I came to kill him, and we only forgave each other after a third party tried to murder is both. Ironically, I had to put a bullet in him to save his life, and mine. It’s still three inches above his heart. It worked, and we’ve been best friends for the rest of our lives.”
“The two of us were messed up, washed up, lousy former government operatives. We almost destroyed this place in the aforementioned altercation. As it so often happens here, our lives ended here, and started anew. We met someone who gave us a new life. Please understand, we had to choose life, no one forced it on us. Life is a choice, you have to actively select it to change.”
“Maybe so sir, but I’m not trying to kill anyone. I’m not running to anything, or from anyone.” Isaac paused, he had to say this carefully, “Aren’t you? You run from the pain of a mother who rejected you for reminding her of the husband she lost. In the process, it’s costing you the wife that you love. Resemble anybody you know?”
Isaac Rosen nodded to the kitchen. “Mr. Sanders, here at The Garden, wonderful things happen on a regular basis. Last night, a millionaire walked in. His intention was to have the finest meal we have, then jump from his penthouse apartment. He was alone, except for his money, but something happened. The man left with the wife who, two weeks prior, had filed for divorce.”
“Today, they renewed their vows and set sail for a second honeymoon. All it cost him was swallowing his pride, something that he had spent millions and years trying to keep. Some days you’ll find that to keep what is the most dear to you, you must be willing to let everything else go.”
Jerry was polite, but angry. “Mr. Rosen, I’ve lost almost everything, I can’t afford to let go of anything else.” Isaac looked at the young lady across the table. “If you don’t, perhaps the cost will be greater than you yourself can redeem?” Michelle didn’t look up, she didn’t understand, but for the first time in a while, she had hope.
Isaac made his next move.”If the two of you will follow me to the kitchen, I think we’re ready for another happy ending. Or do you not want to meet your anonymous benefactor?” The three made their way to the second most important room at The Garden. Isaac lead them to the back of the kitchen where an old man waited with a wooden easel.
His hands were withered and tired. It had been two years since he could hold a brush in them. During the last few years he had known it was coming, so he painted feverishly. Every minute he was painting, the canvas underneath was his last. Right now, it didn’t seem like much, but in a few minutes, to the world, it would be his most valuable painting.
Check out the next chapter, Sky Bridge: The Story.
Cloris listened to all this through the ear piece that Mr. Rosen had provided. She hung her head in shame. At the time, she told herself that it had been for the best, all she could see back then was her own pain. Henry, her husband was dead, and she had spiraled out of control after the accident.
It had started with her trying to eliminate anything that reminded her of her husband, and her formerly happy life. One by one, she sold off everything they had shared. Then she started pushing people away that had been part of their lives. First acquaintances, business partners, then friends and family.
When Jerry turned 14, she looked at him, and saw Henry staring back at her, it terrified her. Over the next four years, she had pushed her only son out of her life. The pawn shop had been her Father’s business before it was hers, that was the only reason she had kept it. She even changed her last name back to her maiden name.
After years of running, she realized that she had no one and nothing left. Cloris would have ended it all, had it not been for the visitor that day. Ironically enough, his name was Henry. That was when her life slowly began to change, now she was trying to mend fences. She was terrified, but had faith that God would not let it be too late.
Check out the next chapter, Sky Bridge: The Artist.
Isaac rolled a cart with an ice sculpture to the young people’s table, it was the size of a large vase. The artist had used a crystal blue food coloring to hue the ice. He had carved it by hand, to Isaac’s specifications. Michelle loved it, Jerry just stared.
“Who’s paying for our meal? Who sent this statue?” His voice was calm, but even a stranger recognized the animosity in his voice. Isaac smiled, “I am paying for your meal, as for the statue, it was also my idea. Isn’t it wonderful to not have to worry? This sculpture is meant to reflect that, it’s title is ‘The Donor’, it’s patterned after a painting a local New Yorker painted many years ago. Would you care to hear the story?”
Jerry relaxed slightly, “I know the painting very well, I never knew there was a story behind it. Tell us please.” “Carter Gold was an orphan at was three years old. He ran away from the state when he was fourteen. Carter tried to make a living, but couldn’t keep a job. Finally one day, he found his way to a restaurant. A man known as Papa Georges took him in, and gave him a job.”
“Carter was horrible at every job he tried, but Papa never gave up on anyone. One day, he noticed Carter doodling, Papa went out and bought a digital palette and eCanvas, and placed them in his hand. Carter said that he didn’t know how to paint, Papa insisted that he try.”
“It took a while, but today Carter Gold’s pictures sell for two to five million easily. “The Donor” was one of his first paintings, Carter gave it to a close friend. How do you know it?” Jerry swallowed, “It hung in my Father’s pawn shop. I never cared for art, but he told me it was very valuable, and one day would pay for my college education. That’s until my Mother sold it and kept the money.”
Check out the next chapter, Sky Bridge: The Pawn Shop
Hans set outside the restaurant, ready to go, he knew there would be no time to waste. His hover copter could get there faster than any chopper or sky transit in the city. It had some special added features that were not listed on the inventory manifest.
For that matter, Hans had some skills of his own, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. This Grandfather of two could still steer the corners like he once had on classified missions in a corner of the world. That was where he had first met Isaac. He wasn’t Isaac back then, nor was Hans who he was now.
Hans was Hank, and Hank was a hot shot American pilot. The next time they met, Hank was holding on to the last shreds of his humanity. Isaac sought him out and helped him. He introduced him to a small refuge on the east of the city, and his life began to change. Now, he and his beautiful wife had a wonderful family. They helped Isaac repair other families in need.
Inside, Cloris was ringing her hands, trying not to cry. Her son wasn’t speaking to her, she had ran off the last of her family. Cloris had changed, but would they see it? She wasn’t the selfish woman she had once been. They had to see, not for her sake, but for Collin’s. He had no other options if they didn’t.
Within seconds Annette and Carl were at her table. “I’ve been trying to reach you for weeks, and you’ve ignored my calls.” Annette fumed at her sister. Cloris shook her head no in desperation. “I haven’t ignored them, I’ve been trying to get to where I could answer them.”
Carl spoke next. “What do you mean?” Tears filled Cloris’ eyes, “Like everyone else in my family, I’ve alienated him too. He refuses to speak to me, I can’t even get him to listen long enough to explain about your Collin.”
Annette was fueled with past and present rage, “Give me his address, I’ll make him understand.” “I’m afraid it wouldn’t work that way Mrs. Washington.” Isaac Rosen said from behind her. She turned suddenly, “Mr. Rosen, how would you know anything about this?” “I know all about it, that’s why you’re here tonight. We’re here to help you save your son’s life.”
All the anger left her, “How can you save my son?” Isaac took a deep breath and motioned for them to sit down. “We can introduce him to someone who can give him the same gift he would grant Collin, a second chance at a new life.”
Check out the next chapter, Sky Bridge: The Donor