That evening we had cooked dinner together, something we rarely did, and it was a treat. For only the two of us, there was turkey, stuffing with gravy, green beans, and sweet potato pie. It wasn't a special occasion or anything, we just wanted to cook together. He was a cab driver and soon he would go out to work. He worked nights because there was more money in it and he carried a small 22 for his protection. He'd been driving for 7 years in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, GA and he knew it like the back of his hand. Even I had been a driver for 5 years so we both felt reasonably safe about it. Nothing had ever happened to either of us accept maybe a few run outs. Those are people who get out at the drop off point and run away without paying.
That night for some reason we wanted to be close so he left later than usual after dinner. I didn't have to work until the next night. I was a musician and I played at a small supper club in midtown. After he left I sat down in my favorite chair and continued to read "Enders Game" by Orson Scott Card. I love science fiction and fantasy books so this one had me by the throat and wouldn't let me go. I snuggled deeper into the recliner and settled down prepared to spend some quality time with my book.
The night was clear and warm and so quiet. I loved the sound of the crickets, making me feel like I was out in the country somewhere. We lived in a small cottage surrounded by 3 acres of land in College Park. Out back was a huge garden which we both shared and loved, and beyond that was a wide empty field leading to dense trees. In front was a small yard which tapered down a steep hill to the street giving us a sense of even more privacy. To the side of the small 2 bedroom cottage was a very long driveway which split with one lane bending to the left and going to the front of the cottage, while the other lane went straight back to end next to the backyard fence. I'd usually park in the front lane while he always pulled to the back, that way we could both move our cars when necessary.
He drove an oldsmobile station wagon which seated seven passengers and the driver. It was a very profitable vehicle and at night while working the Buckhead area, customers would pile in to be taken to various clubs and hotels and even to the airport once in a while. He loved driving. It was freedom for him and he was very good at it. He was previously a respiratory therapist but the stress level was too high for him. So taxi driving was a great alternative.
I had gotten to the good part of my book when I heard his taxi pull up in the driveway and head past the cottage to the back. I saw his headlights go out so I got up to open the door slightly just in case he had his hands full so he wouldn't have to use his key. Then I sat back down to get back to my book. It was good too. I'd just gotten to the part where Ender and his crew were going out to play the game for the first time. After some time had passed, suddenly, I realized that he hadn't come in from his car yet. What was taking him so long? I sat the book down and went to the side window to peak out. I didn't see the car. I went to the back of the cottage to see if he'd pulled all the way back next to the garden which he did sometimes. The car wasn't there. I went back to the front to see if he'd parked next to my car. Still no sign of him. I walked out the front door and looked all around. I know I'd heard him pull in, I saw the headlights and the top light of the taxi turn off, where did he go?
Suddenly, I felt his hand on my shoulder. I jumped and turned around expecting to see him. He always use to scare me like that. But behind me there was nothing but emptiness. It scared me for a minute. I must have been imagining things. There were no cell phones back then so I couldn't call him. After a minute, I dismissed it all thinking that I must have been tripping. I went back in, picked up my book once again, settled into my comfy chair, and continued to read thinking about it periodically. I'd shake my head thinking I was crazy, then start reading again. When I became sleepy, I went to bed still thinking about it. The thought occured to me that it must not have happened, it couldn't have happened. But I could have sworn...
The next morning, I was making tea when my husband's best friend called.
"Hey, did John come home last night?"
I looked out to the driveway for his car, it wasn't there which wasn't unusual for him. Sometimes he didn't come home until around 10 or 11 in the morning depending on the business.
"No, not yet."
"You'd better call the Atlanta police station."
"Just call Atlanta PD."
"Terry, what's going on? Is John okay?"
"Just call the police, then call me back."
My stomach did flip flops. Terry didn't want to tall me what was going on. I hung up and had to look up the number for the police station. It took so long. My heart was beating a mile a minute and I shivered and sweated at the same time. Finally I dialed the number and spoke to a sergeant who said he'd connect me to a detective. When she answered I told her that I was John Taylors wife.
"Your husband was the victim of a robbery attempt last night at around 10pm. The perpetrator got away unfortunately. He was shot 2 times and then he tried to drive away in his cab and hit 2 pedestrians on the sidewalk."
"Is he alive?"
"No. I'm so sorry."
It was devastating. I hung up as she was saying something else. I sat down and then remembered. 10pm last night. I'd heard the car pull into the driveway. I'd felt his hand on my shoulder. He'd come home one last time to say good bye. I was certain of it. I called Terry back to tell him about the call. He said he was coming over then we hung up. I walked out to the garden and looked up.
"Thank you John for coming home to say good bye. I'll miss you so much. I love you. I'll always love you."
From that moment on, I knew that there's life after death. John came home to let me know that night. I know that he's waiting for me on the other side. I'm certain of it.
Allison C Whitfield, author of "The Shelter of the Shade Tree", is a Freelance writer who creates articles describing the unconventional for those who wish to explore new ideas and new challenges. She has had 30 + years of experience in Office Administration and Customer Service. She is also a [...]