The men in my family have named it “The Calling” and I’ve lived my life with it in the back of my mind.
It’s been around as far as anyone could remember, but my first brush with it was with my grandfather when I was about four-years-old.
I was in the living room while he was on the roof fixing some shingles.
I heard the steady tap tap of the hammer, until it stopped, and then a moment later something fell quickly passed the window and made a loud crack on the driveway.
Later my grandma told me grandpa had fallen off the roof and died. It was an accident she said.
Next was my dad. We heard the story from the paramedics. Got a flat on the freeway and pulled off on the shoulder to fix it.
Should have just called AAA, old man had no business doing that at his age, but he was a stubborn bastard.
Anyway, he must have slipped or stumbled, but he wound up in the road as a truck was passing by. Not a pretty way to go, but that was that. Just another freak accident.
But they were old men.
The next one was tough.
My twin brother and I were hiking a mountain with some friends. We were talking about his upcoming wedding as we followed the others, when suddenly he stopped talking mid-sentence.
When I turned I saw him slip and fall off the sheer cliff face.
Or at least that’s what I told my friends and then later the police.
The truth was, I saw a look of absolutely blissful contentment fall across my brother’s face. He looked at me and winked, then turned and jumped.
There wasn’t a moment of hesitation, and he didn’t make a sound until he hit the bottom.
I’m thinking about this, having just gotten home from his funeral. I stare with red, raw eyes at a photograph of us as children and wonder what my brother saw that made him do what he did.
I wonder if my father and his father saw the same thing, and if whatever it was caused them to have their “freak accidents”.
A sudden relief blossoms in my chest, and I look towards the open basement door and see my brother beckoning me into the darkness.
His hand flops ridiculously around the shattered bones of his forearm, and I have to laugh.
I know he has something wonderful to show me down there.
I can’t wait to see what it is.