(FINALe-Part 2/3) “Mind-Blowing”

Diverge (verb): separate from another route, especially a main one, and go in a different direction.

“This house is too damn big,” I said to myself, as I walked in pursuit of somewhere quiet to rest before the festivities began.

Outside I could hear the band practicing for the celebration. All day long the sound of trumpets had made silence unattainable anywhere you went in this place. Livening up the house even more were all the cameras everywhere, which was annoying but something I could not blame on anyone except myself…

Years ago, it was my idea to invite the world into this house; reality-TV style: they called the show ‘Our House.’ It was created with the intention of helping people finally learn the truth about what went on in here.  

“In a world only sprinkled with truth, it’s about time we discover what’s real.”

This was how I pitched the show to networks that first year. I never really thought the show would actually happen, never mind last as long as it has. It was simply intended to be a gimmick to get peoples’ attention. But then it happened, for real, and once it became real people got used to it. There was no going back. So, again, I had no one to blame but myself for having a hard time finding somewhere to take my nap on this day.  

Continuing on my hunt to find a place to hide, I wondered where the boys were.

Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I love having the kids here with us, but the energy they bring with them is exhausting. Trying to keep track of them is nearly impossible as they wander the place like a few wild tornadoes. The place is fifty-five thousand square feet so obviously they get excited every time they are here. You might think that they would be used to the house after three-plus years, but truth be told, even I still often felt like a marauder in this place.  

Turning a corner, I waived at a few staff members working diligently behind their desks. Though today is a Sunday, everyone had come in to make sure that tonight went forward without a hitch. Normally I’d stop and talk to them, but I knew they were busy, so I simply smiled and moved on.  

Down the hall, the meeting room on my left was vacant as I looked in quickly before sneaking through the dining room to head towards my study.  

This study of mine was small, but I liked it that way. I actually called it my ‘Think Tank,’ as it was one of the only rooms in the house that offered me much privacy when I needed to read or get some writing done. My intentions today however were to use it for a quick nap.

Approaching its door, I realized that it was being cleaned. Knowing that the cleaning staff would have insisted on leaving if I entered, I just continued walking past the door; pretending I never had intentions of going in.  

I’d have to use the couch in the big office for my nap: No big deal. 

Thrown off a bit by this change in destination, I was distracted for a moment by the photos hanging on the wall in the small hallway. The picture of my boys standing with Dwayne Johnson always made me smile. They looked so small standing next to him. In this picture they were still little boys, which magnified this man’s size. He was one of the first celebrities they ever met in person. Looking at the picture with him I remembered their nervous faces as we prepared to take this photo that day. 

Dwayne Johnson: The first ever Divergent inhabitant of this office: Who would have ever imagined it? …

So many people thought it was a joke back then. That we were a joke; and that it could never happen. Some of our haters were so persistent that for a long time even we were forced to believe them. The group that fought against us the hardest and were the most vocal back then had even given themselves a nickname: The Bully Rabbits. Over time, however, we cuddled those assholes into submission: In the end, they proved no match for The Rock!

Reflecting on everything that had happened always took my breathe away. Prior to all this I had hibernated in fear for so long, but then, it all just happened in a way I never could have predicted. Before I knew it this dream of mine was a reality: Good-God did it feel AMAZING!

“Hope is definitely the best medicine,” I whispered to myself; as I continued to smile at the pictures on the wall. 

Shaking my head in an attempt to bring myself back to reality, I took a few more steps towards the doorway to the big office. Approaching it, I brought the three fingers of my right hand up to my lips and kissed them. I then placed those fingers on the picture of my grandparents hanging on the wall just to the right of the door. They had never lived to see all this, but they were not forgotten: “Lives that inspire never expire; until we meet again,” I said in my head. 

Walking through the door into my office, this was a ritual I had started and one that I would keep alive as long as I could.  

Shutting the door behind me, I was beyond happy to be alone. The long couch at the center of this circular room welcomed me. Sitting upon it, I took a moment to look at yet another picture; this time of my wife. Looking at her, I was reminded of the fact that I had to make sure tonight went perfectly.

The date today is April 15th, 2040; my wife’s 50th birthday. Seeing her glowing smile looking back at me made my heart feel full.  

Laying down on the couch, I closed my eyes. For a moment I let myself reflect on all that I had to be grateful for:

A single word that changed everything. With it, a new future was born. Humanity chose to create a different path forward. A campaign to detach from the norm and build something new was welcomed with open arms by a broken-down nation thirsting for change. The overwhelming desire to diverge as one human race was enough to make even the non-believer consider believing again. It was a truly magical transformation.

Lost in thought, this moment of reflection was mentally side-tracked by a responsibility that popped into my mind; “I need to call Uncle Marshal.” Our annual Transcending Concert needed another performer and he said he had an idea on who he wanted to ask. I needed to call him and find out who would be joining our Squad this year.

My mind did this to me a lot these days: jumping from one thing to another at completely random times. All the attention was great in some ways but created responsibilities that often became too much. Sometimes I even found myself wishing I was back at my parents’ house watching movies with my boys in bed; bored. That’s life I guess…constantly wanting more or wishing to have less; how strange?  

“That would be a good line for my next book,” I thought to myself, as I opened my eyes and took my phone out to make a note… 

Was all of this destiny—Or did I create it—Who could know for sure???

Honestly, none of it really mattered at this point. Being divergent became a way of life for people. 

“It was real in a movie, why couldn’t it be real in real life?”

It sounded crazy in my head, but as humanity discovered the world WAS crazy. And people everywhere loved me for attempting to give purpose to it. With that book in my hand I was unstoppable—I could do anything…

Lost in a world that once only existed in my mind, I brought myself back to reality. The speech I intended to give today was going to be epic. The crowd was going to be full of celebrities; this fact made me super excited and super nervous at the same time. I knew it was crucial I presented every word of my speech flawlessly.  

Laying my head down on the small pillow, I adjusted myself in an attempt to get more comfortable. While I had originally come in here to take a nap, my mind had just woken up again; it was going to be impossible to sleep now. Accepting this, I decided right then to use this time alone for something else.

Visualizing myself doing something was important to getting it right. Taking a deep breath and closing my eyes, I let the room I was in disappear from view as I imagined myself giving my speech later in the day….

“Thank You—Thank You—Thank You…. You’re far to kind!  (Pause until crowd stops cheering)

“Dear Friends. (Pause 1 Count) The Time Has Come. (Pause 2 count) My wife’s long-awaited day of celebration is here! (Brief-fireworks-display).  

“Now, before we get this party started, let me begin this speech like I do all my others…as she would not forgive me if I did it any other way. YOU are changing this world. Our progress continues to rely on YOUR actions. They were, and will continue to be, what changes our future. You are the miracle, let us never forget that.  

“A long time ago I made a choice in my life: To look at humanity as it might be rather than for what it was. Back then, this was the only way I knew how to survive the world that lived outside my windows, and on the television screen, and on that phone in my hand. This vision I had for our future crept into mind like a caterpillar and made my brain its cocoon. That idea; that living thing in my head, would die in there without being fed; or it would turn itself into a butterfly and take flight in this world. Looking out at you now, I think we all know how that played out… (Wait for cheers as butterflies are released in the background.)

“Today we continue our quest of changing the five great pillars our existence: Changing Education, Changing Entertainment, Changing Business, Changing Government, and Changing Religion. While none of this is easy, I feel lucky knowing many of you have become more open-minded over the years. Speaking of feeling lucky, I must tell you that this was always a concept that seemed laughable to me in my previous life. It took me a very long time to realize that I was not meant to be lucky. Instead, I was destined to be successful. And as we all now know, DESTINY—ALWAYS —WINS!  (Pause again for cheers)

“Entertainment transforms our reality. We didn’t know any better before; or maybe we didn’t want to know better, but now we do. Today many of you have taken it as your responsibility to use it as a tool for progress rather than for destruction. On behalf of my children, and their children, and their children’s children in the future: I thank you. To all of you that are making this dream of mine a reality, I love you all: I truly, truly do.  

“Now; with all this seriousness out of the way, let’s move onto the main event; shall we?  (Rambunctious Applause To Music)

“In my twenties I learned that life is long—Thank God for that. In my thirties I realized that life is short—Thank God for that also. In my forties I was fortunate to discover that life is beautiful—I have all of YOU to thank for that. (Pause, smile, and point to the crowd) Now in my fifties, I know that life is unpredictable. (Turn and look at Emma) I have your First Lady and my Wonderwall here to thank for that! (Pause while our song is played)

“My dearest Emma, as you now turn fifty yourself, please know that not a day goes by that I am not amazed by what a beautiful person you are. Your beauty on the outside is undeniable, but as you know, it was your heart I fell in love with. A heart so big that I still question how it fits inside that body. Somehow, each day, like magic, your smile wipes away my insecurities—Like it did the first time we met after such an awkward introduction. Though this is your day, I must take a minute to tell you that I hope to continue to be the man I promised to be all those years ago. The fan that held out his hand to you and promised to open your eyes. The man that grabbed that hand and promised to show you wonder after wonder. That dork who would not let that hand go as he promised to take you over, sideways, and under on a —”

“—Dad.”

“Dad…”

“Dad…WAKE UP!”

The Teacher’s Playlist:

“Music is my time machine.”

Cinderella Man by Eminem

(Click here to continue to next chapter)

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