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03/16/2023 08:57 PM 

An Eternal Promise

An Eternal Promise
Wicket /1706817
spring 1972

The diagnosis was grave. Edward Henderson had just returned from another cancer treatment. He had his favorite chair sitting on the porch of their home in Hawkins, Indiana. The former head of R&D at the Fernald Uranium Processing plant was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was not long for this world and he knew it.

Claudia, his beloved wife, had given birth to their son Dustin back in the summer. Their precious little boy was born with Cleidocranial Dysplasia. They were assured after his birth that he could live a long and happy life. This would involve a lot of trips to the Children's Hospital in Cincinnati but that was no matter. Dustin was going to be given the whole world. What pained Edward was that he knew he couldn’t be there to see it.

Claudia always blinked away tears when Edward wanted to see Dustin. The tiny baby boy had no clue what was going on around him, but Claudia would make sure that later in life. She lay Dustin swaddled tightly in his father's arms. "There you go Daddy…" She whispered to her husband. Baby Dustin had been asleep but soon woke because of the movement. When tiny eyes focused on his father, the sweetest little grin formed. Some would have called it gas, but Edward knew. He knew because he and his son had a bond.

It had been raining earlier, so the smell of the rain lingered in the air. There was something else working its way through the clouds and would soon appear. Edward used his fingertips to gently tickle the baby's chin. Dustin was only 7 months old but his father could see the most adorable dimples ever. "Now listen Son. I'm not going to be here much longer. I don't wanna go, but it looks like the Good Lord has other plans." He smiled gently at the baby boy. "I want you to be the best boy and take care of your momma okay? I know there are things that are gonna happen that I won't see with my own two eyes, but you know what? I'll still be watching over you from heaven. You know how to be sure I'm there?" Edward turned his baby toward the sky and pointed out something beautiful to behold.

Over their house in Hawkins was not just one rainbow but two. A double rainbow was arched perfectly over the Henderson house. "Every time you see a double rainbow overhead, that will be my promise that I'm still watching over you." He turned the baby back toward him. Tiny little digits reached for his father's face imprinting on his brain the love of a father for his son. "Never forget Dustin and know that your Daddy always loves you."


spring 1987

The sound of the film projector coming to the end of the strip intruded on the bittersweet memory. Dustin had been sitting on the living room sofa watching this filmstrip that Claudia had made on that day back in 1972. Dustin felt his eyes glistening. Despite it all, he could still feel the love from a father he didn't even remember pour through that screen. He considered himself a man of science not prone to believe in the supernatural. Given all he'd encountered since the Upside Down and Will's disappearance, it was certain that evil existed. The image of his father ravaged by cancer yet still loving his infant son instilled a bit of hope for something good out there after all.

Dustin rose from the sofa and approached his mother. He knelt before his mother, wrapping her in his arms in a warm embrace. Neither one had to say anything. They both were entangled in memories of things that were and things that could have been. Overhead in the sky, a double rainbow arched over their house.
"Never Change Dustin Henderson. Promise Me."
credit: james kriet


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