Authors: Brooke Williams
In that moment, there was nothing but the carrot in my hand…and the absence of my father.
I dropped the peeler and placed both of my hands on the sink, allowing my shoulders to heave with my sobs. I needed to be held in that moment more than any other moment in my life. And yet I had no one to call.
Without explanation, as my sobs finally subsided, I suddenly no longer felt alone. It was an eerie feeling, really. One I can’t quite describe. I felt as if I was being watched. I grabbed the peeler and slowly turned to face the table.
What I saw at the kitchen table caused my jaw to drop to the floor. There was a man, casually draped into the chair in the corner, his elbow crooked over one corner of the chair and his feet up.
For whatever reason, I was not afraid. After all, I had the peeler with which to defend myself and I also had a carrot nearby, in case the man could be lured by rabbit food.
As the man saw me recognize his presence, he removed his feet from the table and folded his hands in front of him. He made no move to get up.
As I took in the man before me, I realized that he resembled many of the pictures I had seen on church walls throughout my life.
My family never missed a Sunday when I was growing up and I had continued the tradition of attending church each week. Though I had a tendency to pick a different church every week so I was never able to get to know anyone.
But in all the churches in every city I had ever visited, I would always notice the pictures of Jesus and wonder how close they were to the real thing.
How did the painters know what to paint? Had any of them been there? Where in the Bible did it say that Jesus had light colored skin, long brown hair, and dark eyes?
The man before me had skin a slightly darker tone than the pictures, but his hair was long and brown. It wasn’t so much his appearance as it was the look in his eyes. In all of the paintings, Jesus seemed to exude kindness in His expression and that was exactly what I was seeing in this man’s eyes as he looked at me from across my own kitchen table.
I lowered the peeler to my side and watched as the man’s eyes followed my so-called weapon. He smiled and returned his eyes to my face, taking in the tear-streaked paths that had recently etched their way down my cheeks in my despair.
I had many questions, but I didn’t seem able to form any words at that particular moment. Who was this man? What did he want? Would he like a carrot?
The man smiled wider as the thoughts ran through my mind at lightning speed. I began to wonder why I felt so calm about his presence. It wasn’t everyday that I had anyone at all in my home, much less someone who had suddenly appeared at my kitchen table. And that’s when he finally spoke.
“Hey,” he said in a smooth, sound voice as he leaned back in the chair, weaving his fingers together behind his head as he reclined. “You can call me Evan.”
I had finally decided that my next move needed to be to put down the peeler and approach this stranger. At least it was a start.
“Hey Evan,” I said, still in awe of the fact that I was treating this situation as completely normal. I walked the two short steps it took to get from the kitchen sink to the table and sat down, my eyes never leaving Evan’s face. He smiled again.
“How’s it going, Jared?” he asked. Now I knew that not only was his name Evan, but he knew my name without my telling him.
“Um,” I said, grasping for words. Normally I would have told him everything was fine. It was my go-to comment when people asked me about my father’s funeral or my everyday life. Did anyone really want to hear the truth anyways? “Not so good, actually,” I said, stating the obvious. Whoever this Evan was didn’t really matter. He had caught me sobbing beyond control in my kitchen with my carrot and my peeler. It was likely that he knew I wasn’t fine.
Evan nodded, running his hands through his long, unkempt hair. He leaned forward and looked into my eyes so deeply that I felt a tremor move through my body.
“You probably have a lot of questions,” he said, pointedly.
It was my turn to nod and Evan tilted his head to the left. “I would like a carrot, though,” he said with a half smile.
I couldn’t believe this guy. He knew my name. He was in my kitchen. Apparently, he could read my thoughts. As I put two and two together, I was finally able to form a few words.
“Are you God?” I asked, wondering if all of the pictures in the churches had been somewhat accurate.
Evan didn’t look surprised by my question. “Not exactly,” he answered. “I told you…my name is Evan.”
“Okay…” I said, unsure as to what I should ask next. I decided my best course of action was to get away from his kind, penetrating eyes. I stood and moved back to the sink to continue my carrot peeling. He had said he wanted a carrot, after all.
“I know you’ve been having a tough time lately, Jared,” Evan said, and I was glad I wasn’t looking him in the eye anymore. It was like the guy could see straight through to my soul. As I methodically peeled the carrot, I realized this was a strange situation, but when I was sitting at the table with Evan, I simply felt peace.
“I’m not God,” Evan went on, reaffirming what he said before. “Not even close, really. But I do have some authority in the spiritual realm.”
The carrot was getting too thin so I cut off the end, sliced it into a few sticks, and placed them in a bowl. It was my turn to speak. It wasn’t generally hard for me to find words, given my occupation.
I slowly turned, crossed the room, and set the bowl of carrots in the middle of the table as I sat back down in the chair across from Evan.
“Authority?” I asked, keeping it simple.
Evan nodded as he grabbed a carrot stick and snapped off a bite in his mouth. “Something like that,” he said, remaining vague.
“I’m not sure I understand what’s going on,” I said. “Am I…I’m not dead, am I?” I asked.
Evan chuckled. “No, Jared, you are most certainly not dead,” he said, as I let out a sigh of relief before I could stop myself. “You have a long life ahead of you. The question you need to answer is…how are you going to use it?”
It was a good question. One I had no idea how to answer. What had I done with my life so far? I had created a successful career in radio, that was for sure. But I hadn’t been able to find a wife or start a family or do any of the other things that everyone said made them truly happy.
“I’d like to have a family,” I said honestly.
“Ah yes, a family,” Evan nodded as he snapped off another bite of carrot and chewed loudly. “The highlight of any person’s life.”
Whoever this man was with his “spiritual authority,” he sure did like carrots. I reached for a carrot myself and was startled by Evan’s next question.
“What kind of woman would you like to have?” he asked.
“I never really dated much,” I said and I heard Evan make a slight sound of agreement, as if he already knew that fact. “I guess I always wanted to have a choice, you know? I wanted to be able to date lots of women in order to figure out which one was right for me.”
“Don’t believe in love at first sight?” he asked as he reached for his third carrot stick.
I shrugged. “I can’t say that I have any idea, really. I’ve never been in love,” I paused, thinking about the one girl I dated in high school. She had been a real sweetheart but when the time came for us to go off to college, we had simply parted ways and that had been that. “I don’t really know what I’m looking for,” I went on, “I need the opportunity to date a few people so I know what I like and what I don’t like.”
“Wise words,” Evan said with a nod of approval. “Instant attraction is overrated. It’s the long term qualities that so many people forget.”
Evan sat back in his chair, fixing his eyes on the carrot bowl, which was starting to look a little empty. “Is that what you want? More than anything else?” he asked.
My mind began to race. Was this man giving me some sort of wish? Was he a genie or something?
Evan laughed out loud. “A genie!” he said, though I had said nothing out loud. “That’s a new one! I’ve been called a lot of things in my day, but never a genie!”
“So, you’re not a genie…” I said, trying to lead him into giving me an explanation of what, in fact, he actually was.
“No, I’m most certainly not that,” he said, a leftover laugh rising from his throat. “For now,” he said, “let’s just say that I want what’s best for you.”
I wasn’t sure that I was okay with that answer, but I could tell by the way Evan had said it that I wasn’t getting any more information out of him.
“What’s best for me…”
“You want a wife,” Evan said matter of factly. “And you want to choose.”
I nodded. That sounded about right. I wanted a lot of things in my life. But I was certain that having someone I could love would make everything else fall into place.
When I woke up the next morning, I wasn’t entirely sure that the night before had happened. Had I really shared a carrot with a stranger named was? Had he really just appeared in my kitchen? Had I really told him about my desires to find a wife?
It was all a little surreal and I was pretty sure it was a dream. My house was still dark, as it always was since I rose before the sun. I stumbled into the kitchen to make my morning pot of coffee.
The coffee began to percolate as I turned around and surveyed the rest of the kitchen. I stared at the chair in which Evan had sat the night before…in my dream, as I was now thinking of it. I felt my heart skip a beat, however, when I saw the bowl sitting on the table, one small carrot stick still remaining.
I shook my head. The early morning hours were finally getting to me. They always said that these hours took a toll on a person. So what if I had had my carrot at the table last night? That didn’t mean I had shared it with some spiritual being named Evan.
When my coffee was ready I poured myself a cup and stumbled into the bathroom. I was anxious to get away from the bowl of carrots. I felt like it was accusing me of something.
I didn’t like to get up any earlier than necessary so I showered and hit the door 20 minutes after I got up, avoiding looking at the ominous bowl of carrots a second time before I left.
I arrived to the studios a few short minutes later and took a look at the line up for the morning. I saw that I was to have a guest that morning by the name of Abigail Witherspoon. Apparently, she had written a book on men and it had hit all of the bestseller lists. I couldn’t say that I had read the book or even really heard of it, but interviewing authors was second nature.
The first two hours of the show low-key. I let everyone know what the weather was going to be like and I updated listeners on the traffic situations as I geared up for the part of the show that had the largest audience.
By 7 o’clock, I had already put in several hours of work alone and I was looking forward to having someone in the studio with me.