Over the many years of my life, I have had many strange and wonderful experiences. But the strangest one of all has been on my mind for most of my life. It is a vivid recollection of a scene that seems to parallel my path of life. It makes me wonder-was I able to choose my path before I was born? After you read my story, you may think you did the same thing.
It seemed as if eons of time had passed when I found myself sitting on a small white bench, looking down at my feet and wondering how in the world I got there- and from where. Bewildered, I looked up and saw three men.
One of the men sat behind a small white table and opened a shiny metallic book. I watched him as he leaned over the book, placing his hand on his forehead and his elbow on the table.
He started to read but never turned to another page. The second man stood behind him, leaning over his shoulder and also looking at the book. Every now and then he would look up at me and grin. I felt as if they were reading something about me.
As I sat there waiting, I looked the three guys over. The two men reading the book were dressed in old-fashioned clothing. I turned and looked to my left at the third man.
He was dressed like a jockey in a white, silklike shirt. It was opened in the front, and I could see his skinny, bony chest and a few straggly hairs. As we looked at one another he gave me a haughty look, and I could tell that he was a vain and arrogant person.
Looking beyond him, I could see the barren white ground stretching like a prairie to the horizon, merging with a light blue sky. I saw no sign of human habitation. Being curious about my surroundings, I looked up and to my right.
What I saw gave me the feeling that I was in a huge eggshell. The sky looked conical, stretching up as it darkened into the blackness of infinity. The clouds that I saw did not seem to follow the contour of a round earth, but seemed to rise up from the horizon in a perpendicular manner, intermingling red and blue colors with a dull orange glow that tried to shine through.
As I sat there amazed by the wondrous sight, I heard the man at the table ask: Are you sure this is what you want?” replied. “Yes, for I have lived many lives. Great and important as they were, I now want to experience the life of a poor man, and know the joys of fatherhood.” He gave me a skeptical smile and stood up, closing the book. “So be it,” he said, and the scene faded away.
Something made me gasp for breath. I felt an icy cold fluid enter my nose. It was stinging cold, but it made me feel good, so I breathed in again and again. As I opened my eyes I saw a light gray mist about me. I saw strange dark shadows moving to and fro.
Then I heard strange sounds that frightened me, so I cried. And I knew then that I was being born again into a cold and hostile world. Somehow, I know that my conversation with those three men set me to my destiny-a lifetime of hardships and poverty that I had chosen.
As the many years passed, I often wondered about the paths that I could have taken instead, for the trials and tribulations of my life were many, I embarked on the stormy sea of matrimony and as time passed on, I knew the painful joys of fatherhood many times.
As the family got bigger, the work got harder- and the paycheck seemed to get smaller. My occupation was that of a miner. My life was often in peril. I have always wondered who could have had the power to snatch me from the jaws of death so many times. Did those three men spare my life just to see if I would keep my covenant?
Now that it has all passed by, I wonder if those three men would laugh at me if I told them it was a great and exciting trip, and I might like to try it again.
William J. Zupancic
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania