I sighed deeply and looked at the large clock hanging perfectly on a perfect white wall. 3:00. I crinkled my forehead in confusion. I got up and made my way slowly to the desk at the end of the room. “Ma’am,” I said quietly, so I wouldn’t wake anyone up.
“Yes,” she said just as quietly.
“That clock is broken, it hasn’t moved in the last hour.” She smiled sympathetically at me and pointed me down the hall to the coffee machine. I filled my Styrofoam cup with the black liquid and found a seat in the hall. Maybe this clock would be working.
It was sometime after five that a young looking man wearing a bright orange shirt came to get his fill of caffeine. He took the seat next to mine with a smile that seemed out of place, considering where we were. “Hi, I’m Rob,” he declared, sticking his hand out to me.
“Dan,“ I said simply, shaking his hand. His shirt distracted me and I found my eyes drawn to it. ‘Jesus Lives’
“You believe?” he asked when he caught me staring.
“No.” I shook my head. I really hoped he wouldn’t start in on me.
He nodded quietly. “Why you here?” He asked, but not in a nosey way.
“My wife,” I bit back the emotion, “she’s dying.”
Again he nodded.
“Six months ago she got cancer, there’s no hope.” I bowed my head, unable to stop the tears this time. I was ashamed to be crying in front of a man I barely knew. Men weren’t supposed to cry after all.
“There’s always hope,” he said. I was grateful that he didn’t try to hug me or preach at me. “Diana asked me to come here,” he said after I was done crying.
“What?” I was surprised he knew my wife’s name. I glanced back at his shirt. Jesus Lives. What did that mean anyways? I never could get into the whole church scene. Diana did, and I let her do what she wanted, but I didn’t want any part of it. Those Christian people were crazy. But Rob was here, and he had known Diana.
“She asked the nurse to call me when it was time, so I could come here and be with you. She knew you would take it hard.” This time when I cried he clasped my shoulder.
“How do you know Diana?” I asked with a scratchy voice.
“Did she tell you that she went to church?” he asked gently.
“Yeah,” I nodded my head.
“I’m the preacher there,” he said it with a smile. “She loves you, and didn’t want you to be alone,” he said softly.
I lost it then, cried like a baby, right in front of that preacher with the bright orange shirt. That was just like my Diana, worried about me right to the very end. I think that’s what she was worried about the most, leaving me alone.
Diana died at 8:52. I wouldn’t say I was saved that day, but I did meet a lifetime friend. And I started going to that church, I wanted to somehow be a part of what Diana had loved.
“At least Rob doesn’t wear that bright orange shirt any more,” I thought as I slipped into the back pew.