After yet another unsuccessful day of job hunting, a man came home to his wife.

She greeted him with a kiss and together they walked into the kitchen. The mail had come and now the stack of bills on the corner of the kitchen table was taller. For a while he stood in silence.

“It will be alright, honey. Somehow,” she said.

He managed a half smile but could not hide the sadness on his face.

“Let’s pray together,” she suggested as she grabbed his hand.

“You go ahead if you want but you know I don’t believe.”

“I’m going across the street to walk in the park,” he added.

She walked him to the door and placed her hand on his shoulder.

“Honey, you know I love you and don’t ask for much, but I have just one request.”

He turned and looked at her.

“Give Him a try. Just once …for me.”

He looked into her eyes but said nothing. She kissed his cheek and went back into the kitchen and stood at the window.

 She looked up and whispered, “Please. Let him know how real you are.”

After walking a while, the man sat on a bench. He was silent for some time.

“All right, God. If you’re real …show me.”

He stared at his watch for a few minutes. It now read 4:45.

“Okay. Here’s what we’ll do. If you’re real show me three pick-up trucks in the next 15 minutes.”

He pondered, then continued. “Not white. Not black. No red, either. Much too common. How about blue. I don’t see many of those.”

 “And new ones. Make them shiny,” he added.

Ten minutes passed. All he saw thus far were kids playing and families going for walks.

A young boy sat down on the opposite end of the bench with his small stack of books.

The man stared at his watch. His gaze was interrupted when he felt something hit the bench.

“Sorry Mister. I just got it and I’m still learning,” the child said as he picked up his remote-controlled truck and scurried away.

“Clever,” the man said under his breath, noticing that it was blue.

He continued to look at his watch which now read 4:55. His head turned when he heard the rumble of an engine. A man in the distance called out to the driver, “Hey, you got it! Looks great. And I love the blue!” he exclaimed.

The window sticker was still on the pick-up truck.

 He shook his head and once again checked the time. 4:57.

 His eyes did not leave his watch for the remaining three minutes.

“Uh-huh,” he declared as he sat up straight on the bench, now smiling. “It’s five o’clock and I only saw two! I guess you’re not that real.”           

A moment later he remembered the young boy sitting on the end of the bench. He was gone but seemed to have left one of his books. He turned his head in every direction but saw no sign of him. He picked up the book and placed it on his lap.

For no particular reason he turned it over to see the front of the book.

His head tilted as he stared at it.

Minutes passed. Again, he looked around. He saw no one.

Tears welled up in his eyes as he studied the book’s cover.

Just then his wife appeared and sat next to him.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” she asked as he wiped his eyes.

He handed her the book.

Puzzled, she looked at him.

He pointed to the front cover.

“I don’t understand,” she said.

Again, he pointed.

“It’s just a shiny blue pick-up truck,” she said innocently.

Tears ran down both sides of his face.

Finally, he turned to her and gently grabbed her hand.

“He’s real,” he said in a broken voice.

“He’s real.”

by John Michael Forosisky