(Last week: Jake calls Chartan “daddy” for the first time as the family completes a memorable day at the beach.)
Chartan eased the Bentley onto the freeway. The beauty of the countryside was replaced by a franchise fast food eateries, gas stations, car dealerships and an occasional brown hillside. Gina and Jake were asleep in the back seat. There was an hour’s drive left to Sacramento. He was now alone with his mind and wondered who’d be in charge at 70 m.p.h.?
You go first.
He fought for control by launching into his mantra: Gina and Jake. Without a sense of how much time had elapsed, his mind went blank. He had beaten the urge to solve all of his conflicts in one minute. For the moment, there was no issue, no required answers. Chartan had his power back.
He didn’t consciously look in the rear view mirror, but there was the image of his wife staring at him, sending shivers through his body. The peace of the hum of the road was gone.
“I didn’t know you were awake.”
“I woke up suddenly to make sure you were there. Isn’t that odd? I had to be certain you were driving. “
“How’s my driving?”
They both smiled.
Over the years Chartan would replay this moment in the Bentley with Gina staring at him, their talk and their smiles. He hadn’t see his own smile, but knew it was big—his entire face was relaxed with joy.
If he had the power to freeze life, this would have been the moment: driving; his beautiful wife and child in the back seat, safe and his focus safely under control.
But Chartan knew that wishing for earthly eternity was a false god. A month ago he wouldn’t have been able to probe his life so deeply. But, he had the power again and he was not going to lose it a second time.
He put on the right blinker and took the exit for downtown Sacramento, sensing there were unknown dangers lurking in the shadows. He would use his powers to find peace for his family.
To be continued next Sunday…