Love and Lost by Rebecca Blevins
Virginia ripped open the red envelope with trembling fingers. At last, a new one! Only two days ago, she’d sat at her brand new computer chair and shakily moved the arrow over to what movie she’d wanted and put it her queue. Queue. What a fancy name. The label on the sleeve said “Lost: Season 1.” Mabel told her about the show at bridge club last week and Virginia’d been dying to see it ever since.
She tottered over to her DVD player, the one her son Robert got her a few years ago, and slipped in the silver disc. DVDs weren’t as rugged as VHS cassettes, but she liked them more. Her living room cabinet was full of movies from every era, but her favorites were the ones with strong, handsome, leading men.
While the DVD was loading, Virginia went to her room and put on a red, beaded necklace that went beautifully with her cobalt blue blouse. Powder on each cheek and a swipe of crimson lipstick completed her outfit. She didn’t go to the movies much anymore, but she figured she might as well dress the part if she was going to fantasize about going to dinner with George Clooney or Brad Pitt. Another handsome face surfaced in her memory.
She put on her best glasses, the ones with golden frames. Vernon had loved her in gold—he used to say, “Gold makes the sun rise and set on you, Ginny.”
Virginia picked up a photograph of their wedding day. She gently rubbed her finger over Vernon’s face, then again as a tear splashed on the glass. Setting the frame down, she cleared her throat. “Now, none of that.” After getting a glass of iced tea, Virginia settled in and turned on the show.
Virginia giggled. Jack was certainly handsome. There was something about that roguish Sawyer, too. “Ah, Mabel,” she said to the empty room, “you were right! I’m very much going to enjoy this one.”
“What’s that?” a voice asked.
Virginia’s heart nearly stopped. “W-who’s there?” she replied weakly, reaching for something, anything to defend herself, but finding only her remote. After looking around the room, she saw a man sitting in Vernon’s old leather recliner.
She peered into the twilight. “V-Vernon?”
The silver-haired man nodded. As Virginia stared in awe, Vernon faded away. She noticed the smell of honeysuckle, her favorite flower. Something was on the chair where Vernon had been sitting.
Virginia went over to the chair. Lying there, was a single, perfect honeysuckle.
“Oh, Vernon,” she whispered. “Thank you.”
By this point, Virginia had missed much of the Lost episode, but she really didn’t want to watch any more TV. Instead, she put the flower into a glass of water and brought it to her bedside, then lay down and dreamed—not of Jack or Sawyer, but of Vernon, her Vernon.
The next day, Virginia went to her knitting club. She told them about her story. “Well,” Mabel said, “That’s a sure sign you’re losing it, Ginny. You need to get back to reality, keep watching and doing stuff that makes you feel young and vibrant. Did you get to the episode where—”
Virginia pointed a knitting needle at Mabel. “Stop right there. I haven’t finished the first one, but I will tonight. Don’t say a single word! You’d better not spoil this one like you spoiled the second season of Friends!”
Mabel winked and the women went back to knitting and gossiping. Ann went on about Peggy’s new hip. Usually Virginia would have been very interested, but her thoughts kept slipping to Vernon.
That night, missing Vernon so much, Virginia didn’t even wait to finish her dinner before turning on the TV. She skipped the makeup and beads, and brought her plate into the living room instead of eating at the kitchen table.
She still thought that kid Jack was adorable. He kind of reminded her of Vernon at that age. Why now? Everything reminds me of Vernon. Oh, how I miss you, dear.
Virginia’d realized she’d been staring at her plate for half an hour when there was silence. The show was over, and she’d missed most of it again.
A noise came from Vernon’s old chair, like something creaking. It reminded her of the sound his knee made before he had surgery when he was forty. She looked over and there he was, not silver-haired like the night before, but blond with a touch of gray at his temples, like when their children were at home. “Oh, Vernon, I’ve missed you.”
His dear, lightly lined face showed every emotion. “I missed . . .” he began, but before he could say anything else, he was gone.
Tears dripped freely down Virginia’s face, dropping into her peas. The scent of honeysuckle was stronger than the night before, so she went to the chair and found several perfect blossoms. She placed them by her bedside as well.
The next night, Virginia didn’t try to watch TV. She dressed her very best, and placed a single honeysuckle blossom in her hair. She went to her chair and waited.
Just as she was about to doze off, a soft, deep voice woke her. “Virginia.”
She opened her eyes and saw Vernon young and vibrant, just as he was when they began their life together. “Is it really you?” she asked.
“Of course!” His green eyes twinkled as he laughed and reached for her hand. “I couldn’t have you pining over film stars any longer, could I?”
Virginia took his hand and rose from her chair, surprised at how light she felt, how young. “Of course not, dear. I’ve missed you terribly.”
Vernon wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear, “So have I, darling. So have I.”
The next day when Virginia’s son Robert came to see her, he found his mother had passed on in her chair, smiling, and a large bouquet of honeysuckle in his father’s old recliner.
Sebastian lamented over his death. For three thousand years he walked the vast desert that had appeared before him after being stampeded to death at the special screening for the last episode of Lost. For three thousand years he had wandered and wondered: how did the series end.
“Hey, kid! You squeeze that doll any harder you are going to choke it to death,” one large, old man in a flannel shirt had said to him. Sebastian might have ignored him except the fact that nearly everybody had dressed up in expensive suits and tuxes he normally saw at the opera.
“It’s a bobble-head, not a doll,” Sebastian explained. He held it out for the stranger to see.
The flannel shirt seemed to grow in size as the old man shifted to get a better look. “Oh, it’s Matthew Fox!” he exclaimed. Sadly, this would be the last thing ever said to Sebastian.
Somebody overheard what the old man had said and shouted, “What, Matthew Fox is here?!” for everybody to hear. Mayhem broke loose and everybody scrambled, trying to get the autograph of one of the main characters of the show. Before Sebastian knew it, a riot had broken out and two minutes later he lay in his own blood gasping for air.
He did not specifically remember death. It was nothing like he had imagined, full of pain and sorrow. Instead, it seemed peaceful, as the movie theater setting slowly dissolved and turned into the desert that he roamed ever since.
Death didn’t bother him too much. His life had only produced one passion. His parents tried to get him into music, first with voice lessons, then piano, and finally the drums. No passion. They tried getting him into sports. His heart was just not into it. School? No. Girls? No. Well, one girl. Evangeline Lilly, the woman who played Kate Austen on Lost.
Sebastian knew and loved Lost, but he did not know how it ended. For three thousand years, lost himself on this desert with no food (which he didn’t need), no company (which he didn’t desire), and only the haunting realization that he would not see the final episode, he wandered in search of some sort of meaning in it all.
And then Sebastian tripped.
Sebastian had never tripped for three thousand years. He looked around to see what he could possibly have tripped over. He had never seen anything for millennia but sand and sun and had never found anything he could trip over.
He dug around where he saw his footprints turn from steps into a small ditch. Sebastian almost gave up his search but then he found something solid, much unlike the sand that he only knew since his death. He continued to dig, surprise and anticipation welling up in his throat. When he finally found something to hold on to, he gave it a pull and it easily came out of the sand.
It was a picture frame. No picture, not even glass in the middle. It was only an empty picture frame, apparently made of gold. Trying to get a better look, Sebastian wiped the edge of the picture frame.
Suddenly, where a picture and glass should have been, fog had appeared. Sebastian looked on in wonderment when a face dissolved out of the fog. Sebastian stared, realizing he had seen that face before.
“Hello, young man!” the man inside the picture frame spoke to him.
“Sco—Scott--- Scott Baio?” He had grown up watching Happy Days and Charles in Charge and now Scott Baio appeared before him in a picture frame.
“Yes, it is me. I have been waiting for three thousand years for you to find me. Finally! Together, we can leave this place.”
If Sebastian had a heart, it would have leapt out of his chest. “Leave? This place? Where are we? Is this hell?”
“No, Sebastian. It is Limbo. Something is holding you here and for some unknown reason only I can release us. My frame has special powers. Ask it to show anything and it will show you what you desire. It is simple, just ask it how to get us out of this place so we can both go on to our fates of eternity.”
“I can see anything?”
“Yes,” Scott said. “But I can only show you one thing. So ask carefully.”
Sebastian thought, wanting to make sure he had the right question in mind. He played it over and over in his head. Only one request? Only one chance? “I want to see the last episode of Lost!”
The jaw of Scott Baio dropped, dipping below the peripheral of the Golden Frame. “Lost?!?!? The TV show? No, you have to wi—,” before his statement was over the fog had returned and after a few seconds he heard the familiar words, “Previously, on Lost.”
For the next 104 minutes he watched how the show had concluded.
After the credits rolled, Sebastian started to dig out the hole he had made previously to bring up the picture frame. While digging Scott Baio’s face reappeared. “Sebastian. Are you happy now? You wasted our one ticket out of here to watch a stupid show that ended a long, long time ago. Was it worth it?”
Sebastian stopped digging and lifted up the golden frame. “I waited three thousand years for this ending. I made guesses. I think I came up with a hundred endings that were plausible and satisfactory. And ABC decides to end it like this? This was the best they could do?”
Sebastian then lifted the frame and threw it in the hole. “You were wrong Scott. This is hell!”
After smoothing out the sand covering the hole Sebastian stood, sobbed one last time, gave a sigh, and continued to walk.