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“Let’s go!” urged Mervin who nervously looked to see if anyone was coming. “Just two more, they are ripe and ready!” argued Tanya as she stretched her thin arm out towards the ripened avocados, black and heavy with creamy soft meat. The leafy soft branches sprang towards the sky as she relieved them of their harvest. Wide-eyed, she relished the weight of the fruit and was momentarily distracted by thoughts of biting into one before she called down to Mervin. “Careful these are really soft!” She gingerly tossed one at a time to her nervous accomplice before she scampered down the tree and landed on the ground with a triumphant grin. Just then old Mr. Benecke crashed through his back door and warned, “Get off my property! I have a gun!”
Mervin shot up from his pillow with a start. He breathed quickly with panic and felt the beaded sweat on his upper lip. He rubbed his eyes hard before he gained confidence that he was in his bedroom. He had another dream with Tanya in it. His older, much bolder sister died eight months prior in an auto accident. Mervin was the reserved one of the two. She encouraged him to explore the boundaries of his courage with adventures such as procuring a few avocados from old man Benecke’s tree.
The absence of Tanya’s spirited energy created space for his unremarkable existence. Vivacity exited with Tanya so the temperateness that was his natural inclination overcast his life like a wet cloud. Life, he admitted was colorless without her and everything now appeared to have a gray, mucky tinge to it. The only exhilaration he felt existed in the adventures he continued to experience with Tanya in his dreams.
It was still dark outside. Slouching heavily with gloom, Mervin exhaled the last bit of thrill from his lungs and settled his leaden head back onto the pillow. His despondency quickly ushered him into a new slumber.
“Mervin wake up! Life is beautiful!” exclaimed Tanya. Mervin shrugged his lethargic shoulders and sniffled with doubt. “Want to see it?” She probed. Mervin lifted his head and curiously followed Tanya as she enthusiastically motioned toward a large fireplace mantle. The only item on it was a spectacular, ornamental solid gold clock. Tanya regarded it with a beaming grin then gestured to Mervin to approach. He leaned closer with wonder. Nestled in its large gold belly was a round glass-covered dial. It didn’t appear to be a clock face, rather a gauge with a colorful rainbow scale and words above it.
“Life-O-Meter…” Mervin read aloud. He looked to Tanya for clarity. “Isn’t it beautiful?” Tanya prodded. It really was magnificent, thought Mervin. Just then, a warm crackling fire ignited inside the fireplace. The room suddenly felt familiar and safe. The light from the flames danced off the carved gold face. It shimmered with animation and seemed to sway with ethereal vibrancy.
Mervin looked closely at its dial. At one end there was a broken heart, at the other end was an intact heart. Currently, the needle leaned towards the broken-hearted side. Tanya explained, “Life would not be as beautiful as it is now, if it were not complete. For it to shimmer like it does it needs both ends of the scale, which generates its light. The more the needle moves throughout the scale, the brighter the clock glistens.”
Mervin longingly gazed at her as one round-bellied tear solemnly slid down his cheek. She moved closer with a sparkle in her eye and a knowing smile. “The way you feel now is part of what makes life complete. I promise you the needle will move again in the other direction and that your life will sparkle with a recharged effervescence,” and she leaned in. These words did not seem to come from his sister but from someplace else yet the honesty they resonated was innately recognizable. He believed the words and knew then that he was going to be okay.
This time Mervin did not awake with a start. He was gently pulled away from the Life-O-Meter and softly deposited onto his bed. He slowly sat up and looked out the window. The early sun illuminated this new day with no judgment of yesterday and no worry for tomorrow.