The Wishing Well

Posted by admin on February 19, 2016

The Wishing Well.

By

Shaun Michael O'Neal

 

 

It is said, Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it. These words will now echo in my ears for all time.

I had the opportunity last year to visit Ireland. It was mid-June when I arrived in Shannon. I was going on vacation to the land my, and my wife's ancestors had come from. As far as I know they are all gone now. The blood line has run out with me. I was to share this adventure with my wife of just three years. She and I were married in June. The twenty first of June. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. She was so beautiful. We got married the same year we both turned 33 years old. We had both been tragically married before. The both of us had the misfortune to have emotionally abusive people as our spouse. Together as a couple we found a heart that would love and never hurt.

Yes, this was to be the trip of a lifetime.

Kelly and I wanted to get married again in our old country. Wanted is the operative word. One night we were driving home for a movie. It was late around 11 p.m. when the film got out. To be honest I don't even remember now what we had seen.

We were hit by a drunk trying to speed away from a cop. I'm told he hit us doing almost a hundred. I woke up in the hospital. I had been in a coma for two weeks. When I awoke I was told my wife, the woman that gave me a reason to love and live again, had died the night of the accident.

Her parents did not even come to see me. They blamed me for the death of their youngest daughter Kelly. I was in that coma when she was buried. I should say cremated. Her ashes are kept in he parents' house. I'm not welcome there. Not even to come and grieve. No matter how I cried and begged to see the urn her ashes reside in, they have always said no. After a time I just stopped trying.

Kelly and I both wanted to see Ireland it was our dream. I took our wedding picture with me. On the back of it we both cut and placed a lock of our own hair. This is now all I have left of her. This and my memories. I have to make this trip. We both wanted it.

Shannon. The flight was a long twelve hours from California. I sat in first class. I felt so alone. Sitting next to me was an older man. We talked a bit. I think he could tell I was in pain. He was heading home. The sound of his accent seem to give me comfort. He said Ireland was a magical place and I would fall in love with it. I hope he's right.

I got off the plane, went through customs, got my bag and went out to get a cab. A light rain is falling and a breeze passes across my face. For a moment I feel something familiar. I pass it off as being tired. I take a cab to the hotel. Now I was tired, really tired. I did not sleep much on the flight over. It feels strange being here without Kelly. I miss her so.

As I walk into the hotel there is a fireplace with a low crackling peat fire in the lobby. It feels so homey. I check in and head to my room. This is a very nice hotel, and it has a good feel to it. It's not one of those large chain Hotels. Kelly would have loved it. Before I head to the room, the desk clerk informs me that included with the room is traditional Irish breakfast. It will be served at 9 a. m. in the dining room. I thank her and head up to my room. I open the door and turn on the light, there is a queen bed, table and chair. I go to the window and open the curtains. I take a moment to look around. The lush foliage in Ireland really is a thousand shades of green. On the wall above a chest of drawers is a TV. The channel guide sits upon the chest. A clock radio sits on a night stand with a lamp. With the drapes open I turn off the light. It's not much past 1 p. m. local time. Twelve hours of jet lag and seven time zones are rapidly catching up with me. I decide to take a nap before heading out. The bed is soft and soon I drift off.

Sleep is not really my friend anymore. Sometimes when I close my eyes I see the headlights of an oncoming car. Then I hear the horrific sound of my wife's shriek of terror. Then things turn to a slow motion nightmare. I see the front of the car crumple as the two cars meet in a cacophony of rending metal and shattering glass. My wife being slammed into the dashboard. Her body twisting out of the seat-belt. The sound of bones snapping like so many bunches of celery. Blood blinding me and then the darkness. My coma was no long, thoughtless sleep. Again and again the accident was played out in my head. Until I was ready to give up. I was ready to die. Even before I was told my wife was gone, I knew it. She died in the crash. I was not so lucky. The accident was not my fault. It doesn't matter. I'm here and she's gone.

I awake with a start. I'm breathing hard and shaking all over. My head clears faster than normal. Within seconds I'm thinking straight. I walk into the bathroom and splash some water on my face. I taste it as it trickles into my mouth. It's cool and sweet. Like the lonely forgotten kiss. I close my eyes. All feels better. I decide I will avail myself with the concierge. I want to take in as many sights as I can, within reason. It's what Kelly would have wanted. The sun was going down now. I can't see it, it's just a soft glow in the sky. I was more than a little hungry. I have not eaten anything since the breakfast on the plane. I wonder where I can find something to eat. I look at the local map.

To my surprise I see a Mickey D's on the list. I decide to take a pass and eat at the hotel. I don't care if you can get a big mac and a Guinness. I would rather have some real food. Preferably something Irish. I know the Hotel has a restaurant. The aroma of fresh baking bread fills my senses as dinner must be getting close. The sent of roast lamb, chicken and beef all fill my scenes. Thoughts of an old village and a gathering around an open fire with people laughing, singing and dancing. Children dance with ribbons in their hair and smiles on their face. Men trading hunting stories and drinking mead. I let myself bask in these thoughts for a moment.

In this vision my attention is caught by a couple fetching buckets of fresh water from a well at the base of a small hill. From a leather pouch at his belt he is pulling something out. It must be a coin. He holds it up for the young lady to see. She places her fingers on it as well. They both close their eyes, chant something and toss the token in the well. With a smile they kiss, and take the water back to the gathering. I am brought back by a phone ringing. I answer it. It's the front desk asking me what time I would like to have dinner. I check my watch. It says 7:30 p.m. I quickly ask if I could come down now. The voice on the other end of the line says the party has just begun. In the background I hear laughter. I thank her and head out the door. I get to the dining room. The sent of a peat fire and the sound of a bodhran welcomed me. I opened the doors and start to walk in.

The sound stopped and the peat sent was gone. Just tables and chairs. Thick linen table cloths and flowers on every table. The images of the vision still played in my head. I was handed a menu by a very nice young lady who showed me to a small table. As she did I looked at her. To my disbelief it was the same girl in my waking dream. The one at the wishing well. I did my best not to stair. She asked me if I would like a glass of wine with dinner. I asked if they had any mead. With a smile she said yes and quickly headed for the back room. I sat there dumbfounded for a moment. As I replayed what had just happened. I opened the menu. I knew what I wanted, I didn't really have to look. The roast lamb. Nothing else would do tonight. She returned with a tankard filled to the brim. I said without thinking, Go riabh maith agat.

With a bit of surprise she replied, Tfilte romhat, your welcome. She said it in Gaelic, and I knew what she was saying as if it were my native language.

I forced a smile and took a drink. The mead was sweet and rolled down my throat like an old friend. Its golden color and rich taste took me back to the vision. I put the tankard down and grabbed the edges of the table. I shook my head a bit. Once again I was back in the restaurant. She soon returned with a plate piled high with lamb, potatoes and fresh vegetables. Soda bread fresh from the oven and creamy Irish butter. I just sat and looked it for a moment. I tried to focus and stay where I was. I cut a piece of the lamb, I did my best to keep my eyes open as I took a bite. It was rich, tender with a flavor that told of cool spring nights and warm sunny days. I took another sip of the mead. The tastes together gave me a feeling of a rekindling. No an awaking of something long forgotten within me. Could it be just a dream? part of a past life?

Until now I never believed in that sort of thing. Maybe the gentleman I sat next to on the flight was right. Ireland is a magical place. I sat quietly and ate. Deliberately taking my time and savoring every sensation of this wonderful dinner. As I sat and ate a woman came out and took a seat behind an Irish harp. She began to play. It was a quiet and sad melody. A tear welled up in my eye. My waitress seeing I was so moved came over and put her hand on mine. She asked if I were alright. Her long red hair spilled across her shoulders. This sent a rush of thought through me. I could not tell you if her words were in Gaelic or English. It doesn't mater, I knew her words. In my mind I saw her face as I did in the vision. With my free hand I wiped the tears from my eyes.

As I looked at her in all her beauty, I said the music is so very moving and beautiful. She smiled back and whispered, ???It is!??? She turned and walked away. I sat transfixed for the rest of her playing. The dinning room was full of people, however as this woman played her harp you could have heard a pin drop. The respect she, and the magical music she played, were given, is incredible. She finished and was met by a man with two tankards. He handed one to her. Together they walked out of the dinning room.

As they did she stopped and said to me, Thank you.

I replied in kind, saying thank you in the native tongue. Your playing was pure magic.

She nodded her thanks and went on her way.

I looked at my watch it was almost 11:00. where did all the time go? My waitress came back and asked if I would like a night cap. I said sure. She came back with a glass of clear amber liquid. Two fingers worth. As she sat it down on my table she said, Uisce na beatha!

With a smile I looked back at her and said, Water of life.

Again she smiled and walked a way. I took the glass and held it up to the light. The gentle amber color gave me the thought of the ocean churning in a storm. I put my nose to the rim and breathed in slowly and deeply. I could detect the vanilla tone from the oak. I drank it down. It soon warmed me from the inside out.

I paid my bill and headed for my room. I walked down the hall to my room as I did I felt too alive. Opened the door and walked in to my very empty room. I took off my clothes and got into bed. I left a light on. I was almost afraid to fall asleep, but I did. I awoke with the sun pouring into one of the windows. My first Irish sunrise. The colors of the morning filled me with a sense of wonder and sadness. I was alone. My love dead, and I must go on alone. With an empty space in my heart. I got up and went to the bath room. I splashed some cold waster on my face. It felt good. Like it came from a fresh bubbling stream. I opened the shower door and turned on the water. Inside was a bar of soap wrapped in linen it said heather and moss. I opened it. Its scent was delicate. With the water very hot I washed myself. As I did I felt a pull back to the village.

This time it was morning. The people were busy with their chores. The smell of fresh bread baking filled me with wonder. The woman who went for water, and my waitress from last night, started to walk toward me. She had a smile on her face. I shook my head and looked at my hands. They were shaking, and my knuckles were white. These visions are feeling so real. They frighten me. I stood there for a minute and let the hot water run down my body. I rinsed off. The sent of bread was gone. I dried off and got dressed. With the key card in hand I went down to breakfast. The dining room was full of people eating and talking quietly. I was given a seat at a small table just big enough for two. The waiter brought me a glass of water and a hot cup of tea. I was going to ask for coffee. One sip of the tea changed my mind. I was promised a traditional Irish breakfast I wonder what that will be. I did not have long to wait. The first thing to arrive was a basket of fresh soda bread with butter and orange marmalade. Normally I'm not much for the marmalade, but I gave it a try. I was hooked. This breakfast was making up for my feelings of this morning. I have to remember that each new day is one that I'm alive in. From there the possibilities are endless.

Kelly always told me to start the day with a good breakfast and a smile. Thinking of her in this way makes me feel better. The main food came and it was a bit more than I was hoping for. Two eggs to bangers, big sausages, the ubiquitous potatoes, two pieces of thin sliced meet that looks like ham and tastes like bacon, one large slice of grilled tomato, and two cut rounds of black and white pudding. Blood sausage. I have never had blood sausage before. It was far better than I had hoped for. I hope I can get some more of this. The tea kept flowing as I ate. This was a real delight for the senses. When done, I can say I'm truly ready for this day.

I got a rent-a-car. This was going to be different for me, driving on the left side of the road. But then again the steering wheel is on the opposite side as well. I got my car and took off. As I drove everything I saw, it was all so familiar. It's as if I had seen it all my life. The hills, stone fences and thatched roofs on the stone cottages. It was like I was driving down any street in the town I have lived it for the last 15 years. I seem to know every blade of grass.

Half an hour latter my hands began to shake again. I started to feel light headed and sick to my stomach. I pulled over and stopped the car. I got out and started to breath hard. The world begin to spin. I started to shake all over. I felt like I was going to puke. I stumbled to the nearest stone fence. I held on to the stones for dear life. I threw up. I lost all my breakfast and I'll swear some of my dinner from last night.

As I picked up my head I saw it! To my shock and dismay I saw it! Right before my eyes. The remains of an old village. Not just any village the one from my vision. Only a few of the stone building were left. The roofs gone, and most of the stone had fallen or been taken for somewhere else. I could clearly see the stone fire pit, and over to the far side of this waking vision laid over reality. I saw it, the remnants of an old well. I dropped to my knees and fell over into a ball. This was all to much for me to handle. A warm breeze passed over me. And the smell of roasting meet wafted my way. I sat up there was nothing there but the ruins of what was once my village.

This hit me like a bolt of lightning. This was my village in a past life. But it can't be. I don't believe in such things. But here it was right in front of me. Somehow I found the strength to get up. I had to see it, the whole thing. I started to walk into what was the center and near the fire pit. The closer I got the more I felt. Only now I was no longer shaking, or afraid. I strode to the fire pit as someone that belongs to the village. I stopped and looked around. Things had not changed as much with the passing of time. Now I have to know. I looked in the direction of the well. I felt a pull. I had to go to it. To look into it. See what it held, if anything.

The closer I came to it the faster I went. By the time I was fifty feet away I started to run. I was there. I could reach out and touch it. I reached my hand for the raised stone. I stopped. Thoughts of my wife Kelly, the woman I loved and could no longer be with rushed in my head like a whirlwind. Images, feeling of love and loss. Fear, anger, hatred that she was gone, and I was alone! I looked up to the heavens and yelled, Why? How could you do this to me! She was all I ever wanted and you took her from me. Now I have nothing, nothing to live for. I fell to my knees I grabbed at the dirt in front of me. My fingers sunk into the moist soil as I clinched my fists. The dirt, moss and rocks filled my hands. With one hand I threw the dirt with all my might at that well. It splattered on the stacked stones. I started to cry uncontrollably. The tears so thick I could not see.

In my pain and sorrow something caught my eye. Something in the dirt I threw was sticking in the stone. I reached for it. With some effort I pulled it from the stone. I wiped the grime from it. It was a small, very worn coin. I spit on it to help clean it off. It looked like, was it? The coin the man and woman had tossed into the well in my vision. I rubbed my eye and then the coin. There it was in my hand. The coin from all those years ago. With a renewed resolve I stood up. It took some time but I slowed by breathing. At once I felt ashamed. I knew I had to return the coin to it rightful place. Again I thought of Kelly, my wife. As I did a picture of the girl and waitress came into my mind. I thought to myself this can't be a coincidence. I closed my eyes and held on to that coin and wished on it. I felt as if I was pouring my heart and soul into this small piece of bronze. I held out my hand, opened it and let the coin fall into the well. A rush of wind came up from behind me. It was pushing me. I looked into the well. It was dark and very deep I never heard the coin hit bottom. Is I looked I felt a pain in my chest. Worse than I had ever felt. My left arm hurt so bad I could not pick it up and a wave of nausea came over me. My head began to spin and I remember falling into the well. Down and down I fell. Still deeper I went. I fell with no end. Everything was dark. The rushing of air past my ears. Then I lost all sound. I felt the gentle repast of sleep wrapping me in its soft and warm embrace. Like the arms of a great mother it welcomed me. All was warm and happy. It was dark but I didn't care. No sound, no feeling of sadness, pain or hatred. Simple bliss.

I floated like this for a time, and then more time. All this and the feeling of being out of time. I felt a hand on my shoulder and I opened my eyes slowly. Before me was the face of an angle with long red hair. It was Misty. I knew her name now. I knew everything about her. She shook my shoulder, You better git up or all the fresh bread will be gone.

I gave a little laugh and pulled her down to me. I put my arms around this vision of pure and simple love. I kissed her deeply! In that moment I knew who she was. My wife. Not just my wife here and now. She was my wife in the past, present, and the future as well. I was home. Not in the sense of time but in the sense of love and fate. I had been transported to my love. Was I dead? I don't know or care. All I know is I have the love of my life, of all time back. I got up and put on an old leather coat. A light rain had started to come down. I walked out of our hut to see the village in all its life. A smile came to my face. I had really come home. Home to love, family and peace in my heart. Its true. Ireland is a magical place. A home I had had in the past and one I will always have.