Author : Kent Rosenberger
“It’s happening,” announced Saul Quick from two minutes ago. “Is everybody ready? We’re only going to get one pass at this.”
“Who cares?” sniped Saul Quick from sixty-six years ago, his grungy concert shirt in terrible need of a wash. “What does it matter if we do this or not? It’s going to happen either way, isn’t it?”
Saul Quick from sixty-two years ago shook his head, comparing his dress uniform to the sloppy attire of his younger self. “I forgot what a snide little creep I could be. It’s amazing what a few years and a little discipline can do, huh?”
“I’m dressed better than he is,” Saul Quick from sixty-six years ago mentioned about his eighty-four year old self. “He’s only got a hospital gown on.”
“That’s okay,” Saul Quick from fifty-six years ago stated matter-of-factly, strutting around in his impressive top hat, white tie and tails. “I show you all up. We clean up good when we try, huh kid?” he asked of his eighteen-year-old self.
The rebellious adolescent ran his fingers through his long, greasy locks, staring in disbelief at the young man he was to become. “Dude, what did you do to my hair? And what are you wearing?”
“Would you rather have your hair and that black tee or Cecelia Cunningham?”
The sour expression Saul Quick from sixty-six years ago was holding softened considerably. “We marry C.C.?” His astonishment could not be stronger.
“More than worth a trim and a monkey suit, huh kid?”
“I’ll say,” the youth concurred, finding it strange to agree with anyone, even if it was himself.
“Let’s not forget,” piped in Saul Quick from sixty-five years ago, “before you landed her, you managed to snag Valerie Gale and Liz Kapizzi as practice first.” The transition installment of himself between hoodlum and veteran bore a vague resemblances to both, featuring long but managed locks and a posture halfway between the stooped teen and upright Corporal.
“Really?” the high school senior marveled, quite impressed with himself and what were going to be his future conquests.
“A monkey suit, huh?” Saul Quick the soldier scoffed.
“C.C. wouldn’t go for the uniform,” Saul Quick from fifty-six years ago shrugged. “Frankly, she looked so amazing in her wedding dress, I didn’t even care.”
“And our daughter,” declared Saul Quick from thirty years ago, sporting a different, more reserved tuxedo and a snowy, receding hairline, “looked even more beautiful than her mother on her wedding day.” A small tear leaked from the eye of the heavier, balding man as he recalled the milestone event.
“Daughter?” the younger versions of Saul Quick asked in unison. Their two voices were joined by a third; one that sounded like it had not hit puberty yet. They all turned to see Saul Quick from seventy-six years ago, sporting filthy dungarees and a backwards red and blue baseball cap. He appeared as though he had been digging in the dirt. “I’m too little to be a daddy,” he declared nervously.
“Don’t worry kid,” reassured Saul Quick from thirty years ago, “you’ll do fine. She turns out great.”
“Really?” The boy gave an apple-cheeked smile, revealing a missing baby tooth in the front of his lopsided mouth.
Saul Quick from sixty-two years ago marveled at the sight of his tiny self. “I forgot what a cute kid I was.”
“Thanks,” Saul Quick from seventy-nine years ago squeaked. As small as his third grade personae seemed, he towered over the Kindergarten version of himself decked out in a miniature vest and tie for his first day of school.
“Good Lord, I remember that embarrassing suit,” cried out the white bedecked groom.
“Our mother made us wear it,” the others chorused, breaking into polite identical laughter. “We’ve had our share of embarrassing moments,” Saul Quick from fifty-six years ago observed.
“Yes, but we’ve had some great times,” Saul Quick from forty-two years ago stated, fresh from vacation with the family. A pair of binoculars still hung about his neck, resting against the khaki safari shirt he sported
A distraught Saul Quick from seventeen years ago, rubbed his stubbly chin, the shine gone from his downcast eyes. “And we’ve had some hard times. Like when C.C. left us for a better place.”
Trying to brighten the mood, Saul Quick from twenty-seven years ago reminded all of them, “true, but we’ve been with others along the way who have made the journey happy and worthwhile. Like the grandchildren.”
“Mommy,” remembered Saul Quick from eighty-one years ago.
“My high school buddy Butch,” came a friendly recall to the mind of Saul Quick from sixty-eight years ago. The smell of French fries accompanied the fast food uniform he wore.
“And all our relatives, schoolmates, army pals, work colleagues and church friends,” Saul Quick from two minutes ago summed up. “It feels strange that here at the end we are resigned to die alone.”
Still mourning the loss of his wife, Saul Quick from seventeen years ago uttered under his breath, “Everybody dies alone.”
“No,” the five-year-old pointed out, demonstrating a wisdom beyond his years, “we’re not alone. We have everyone we’ve ever known in our hearts and minds. And we have each other. We always have. And we always will. All the way to the end.
Unable to keep dry eyes, the other versions of the man down through the years teared up as Saul Quick from two minutes ago helped them all to line up in order, placing himself at the end of the line. “Alright, gentlemen, it’s time. Let’s make this an event none of us will ever forget.”
And in the last few heartbeats he had remaining, Saul Quick became the sole spectator of his own lonely parade as his life flashed before his eyes.