Of all things, he was drinking sweet tea when it happened. It started with pain in his chest. Then his arm. He knew what it was.
His wife rushed him to the hospital. They shoved a stainless steel wire mounted to a balloon inside him and saved his life.
“I was a human science-project,” he said. “That’s how my wife tells it. I don’t remember anything.”
He was out of it.
He claims something happened. “I can’t explain it,” he said. “I wasn’t in this world, but a bright place that smelled like a florist shop. I was at peace. When I came to, the doc told me I could never drink caffeine again.”
And so, this is how it happens. One second you’re watching the big game, and in the blink of an eye (snap), no more sweet tea.
He’s not the first person I’ve talked to about this. A friend of mine has a daughter who fell from a second-story balcony and hit the ground so hard she bounced.
She was in a coma for two days. When she woke, she told her parents she wanted to return to her other home, the place with the other children.
“What other children?” her mother asked.
“The kids who’ve all died,” she said. “The ones who can fly.”
That little girl is a Birmingham attorney now.
My other friend believes—and I’m not making this up—his deceased father is now a turkey buzzard. Whenever he sees birds pecking at roadkill, he’ll pull over, just in case one happens to be his daddy.
You ought to see the looks on those buzzards’ faces.
The fact is, I don’t know what I believe about the other side. My whole life, I’ve pictured ten-karat streets, abalone gates, all-you-can-eat buffet, and enough sweet tea to ruin your kidneys.
My friend, the biology professor, thinks such ideals are ridiculous. He says, according to science, everything imperceptibly becomes worm poop. He also hates iced tea, irons his blue jeans, and uses words like, “imperceptibly.”
Well, I choose to believe in something spectacular. I could be dead-wrong, but big deal. I don’t have to be right to believe something.
I believe I’ll see my friends again. My pal who died in a head-on collision, my dogs, my grandparents, and Daddy. I believe I’ll understand things better. Like, why people are the only animals who hate.
And it bears mentioning: I don’t know who you are, what your beliefs, or where you hang your hat.
But I believe you’ll be there, too.
I hope you like sweet tea.