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Robert could feel his heart beating faster as his clammy hands death-gripped the podium that stood just beyond the large screen filled with legal graphs, facts, and flowcharts.  His reason for pause wasn’t because he was nervous speaking in front of people, it was something else.  

While staring over the heads of the audience, he heard a voice like the distant echo of a childhood friend.  Faint at first, but louder with every passing moment of silence as he stood motionless on stage.  Watching the audience become more uneasy, he could hear little Charlie’s laughter while they played Star Wars in the field behind his home.  He could see the bedsheet he used as a cape flowing back and forth in the summer breeze, as the two imagined vast open worlds, rising far into the sky.

“Where had it all gone so wrong?” he thought to himself.  “When did the novelty of childhood disappear?  Where was Charlie now?  Is he older like me?  I mean, is he older in the way of living a life that lacks the gift of imagination?  Or, is Charlie still laughing, dancing within the dreams of his youth?”

What seemed like several minutes of silence was only twenty-three seconds brought on by a memory begging to be heard.  And, as Robert noticed his boss leave his seat and move towards the stage, he caught himself and continued the lecture until it was complete.  

Later that evening, and after several minutes of searching, Robert found his childhood friend on Facebook.  Although his hair had left him, he looked the same.  Not an older man in his forties, but a man who looked like the Charlie, Robert knew so well.  But something had changed.  The look of laughter and frolic he had remembered was now replaced with a deep unhappiness that brought tears to Robert’s eyes.

As he stared at Charlie’s profile picture, he felt a profound regret for not being there and for no longer staying in touch and protecting his friend from the same harshness of adulthood he had faced himself.  But it wasn’t that his regret was self-demeaning, because he knew that Charlie’s life wasn’t his responsibility.  Regardless of his emotions, something deep down told him he had the power to create real change.  Not just the kind of change that supports an individual, but the kind that can produce a shift within the happiness and contentment of an entire species.

“If things could only be different.” he thought as he closed the browser and took a deep breath.

Several months had passed since that moment of clarity behind the podium changed Robert’s life.  And, after almost seventeen years of service as head attorney to his law firm, he quit with the decision to find the answers to the change he was looking for.

Almost a full year later, Robert was now deeply entrenched into a new kind of work.  It was the kind that not only told a story, but showed those willing to listen, how to move through adulthood with solace and grace.  Now ready to apply his newfound skills in the physical world, he found himself reflecting on Charlie’s story while sitting in a small cafe sipping coffee.  As he looked towards the front of the room, he noticed an older man sitting alone in the corner.  The look on the man’s face was nothing short of defeat and depression.  It was in that moment Robert began a new story.  Not one of his own accord, but one that could help those like Charlie see their own beauty, far beyond the false desolation of life.

Placing the papers and pen back into his satchel, he reached into his pocket and carefully adjusted the tip for the waitress.  Two-dollars and twenty-four cents.

As Robert walked towards the exit, he stopped and gave the man in the corner a sincere smile.  The man did not return the gesture.  

But it didn’t matter.  

Robert had already activated the choice that would not only change his life, but also the lives of anyone who crossed his path.

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8 Comments
  1. Terri

    Ahhh—-

    Moments of clarity are amazing.

    Yet, i have often allowed the opportunities to pass so quickly—it is like i imagined them—which I have.

    Yet, we r given moments of clarity over and over again.
    All we have to do is pay attention to what is not ordinary in our lives—this is where we discover ourselves and others who want to be discovered.

    Thanks, Adam—a beautiful story.

    • Adam King

      Beautifully said Terri. Thank you!

  2. Grace

    Another trip into magical story space which triggers emotions and memories… you are truly gifted and it is a blessing to be travelling this journey in time/space with you …. Thank you <3

    • Adam King

      Grace, that means the world to me. Each story, each character created and expressed, is a risk I take. Validation is the only way I know I’m on the right track to reaching your hearts.
      Thank you for that.

  3. Jean Keith

    Ah, the magic continues…thank you, Adam for your wonderful stories (and music). “Two roads diverged in the woods, and sorry I could not travel both, took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” To say the least, I am so glad I took the road less traveled in choosing to investigate your music and stories. Where they will lead is only to be determined by my choices.

    Can’t wait.

    Thank you for showing me how to better view the world around me, and to better see the people who populate those worlds.

    • Adam King

      You’re so very welcome Jean. I will be glad to see those of you who populate this new world as well.
      Truly excited for the next chapter in our journey together.

  4. Angela

    This story tugs at my heart as I am remembering two people who very clearly came to mind during this past week. One is a close friend that I share a kind of sixth sense connection to (friends for 50 years!). We often think of each other at the same time and our contact is regularly precipitated by getting a “feeling” about the other person. The other is a co-worker I haven’t seen in a couple years but we were very close buddies while we worked together. I didn’t call either of these people when I remembered them because I was too busy focused on end of month deadlines at work and distractions with my own wrangling of emotions around circumstances there. A phone call to each of these people may have been the key to either or both of us experiencing something better. Awareness …. and ACTION was the better choice!! Awareness seems to come with purpose. Looking for the purpose seems to be wisdom. Thank you for this lesson and reminder.

    • Adam King

      You’re welcome Angela. And remember, it’s not always about the actions we could have taken, it’s about the awareness to know when and how to take them in the future.
      The story above is true. It is about a friend of mine I found on facebook. We used to play as children. And yes, I even contacted him, but he has not, nor will, return the message or friend request.
      This brings a lot of thoughts such as; “how did we part?” or, “what did I do to upset him?”
      None of which are fruitful. However, for the ones who have come across my life since this realization (you for example), we have started, and remain upon, a wonderful journey.
      It’s easy to see in hindsight, of course, but this is the message of the Tesserean work. It’s not really about regret, it’s about humility and actionable awareness through our collective wisdom.

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