"Great... I really would like to get back to the Dome and check it out." I made my way to the door but was stopped by Tommy's father. He shook my hand and said... "The Dome will be closed by now. It closes early today. Please come and have some dinner with us?" I shook my head yes and said "O.k... I guess I'll go visit the Dome tomorrow."
The next day I made my way to the dome. Once again I noticed two figures walking ahead of me. They had a somewhat familiar shape but I couldn't see their faces.
As I walked along the path to the dome, I noticed the trees and the gardens lining the path. It was a bright sunny day and the colors on the trees were vibrant, and the leaves glistened and sparkled, like diamonds. This time of year was my favorite. There was a tree for almost every color in the rainbow. Yellow, red, green... even hints of blue here and there greeted me as I walked the path.
I took pictures as I walked so grateful that I'd remembered to bring my camera. Yesterday was an adventure that was over and I was glad for the new adventure today. It felt good to help someone and the boy and his parents were perfect dinner hosts for the evening. My stomach was still full from the banquet they had set for me in thanks. Before I left their home I gave them my name and address and they promised to write me now to then to let me know how they were all doing.
My camera found all sorts of things to take pictures of but the dome was the main attraction. I made sure I got lots of pictures of it from all angles. I even ventured into the side woods to try and get some artistic photos with the trees hanging over. I didn't venture to far, the trees were thick and I didn't want to get lost. I made sure the dome was in my view at all times. It would quickly disappear if I went any deeper into the woods so I made my way back to the path.
At the doorway of the dome my heart began beating faster. For two days I had been trying to get inside and things had stopped me. Today was the day and I grew anxious with every step. I stopped to take the view all in. The doors had a grand entrance fit for a King. I raised my camera to take a picture and felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a small face wrapped in a blue cloak looking at me.
"Excuse me, could you help me please? My grandmother is ill and she can't make it into the dome today." The girl pleaded with me with sorrowful eyes. She looked familiar but it wasn't until I noticed the old woman that I was reminded of the two cloaked figures from yesterday. The old woman was clutching her chest. She looked like she was having trouble breathing. I rushed over to her side.
"Let me call an ambulance," I said to the girl. She shook her head no and pleaded with me to take her to the hospital. "It's just beyond the trees" she said. "By the time an ambulance gets here we could have walked. It will be faster." I agreed and wrapped the old woman’s arm around my shoulder. The girl grabbed her other arm and the two of us rushed as fast as we could to the hospital. Safe in the emergency room they old woman was put on a stretcher and escorted through some swinging doors. I stayed with the girl until I knew she was safe.
I was getting ready to leave when an attendant came over and started asking me questions. Who was I??? How was I related to the old woman??? What was my side of the story??? It was like being back at the police station. I explained that I didn't know the woman personally and that I was just a stranger helping out someone in need. I glanced over at the desk and saw that the girl was answering the same questions.
"I'd like to just get back to my sightseeing of the dome please," I stated to the attendant.
"Oh you will love the dome," the attendance said. "I have been there several times."
I muttered under my breath "so have I... But if I ever get to see the inside, it will be a miracle!" Something was keeping me from getting inside the dome. I was beginning to think IT didn't want me to see it. I laughed off the thought and stood to leave. The girl came over to me and begged me to stay with her until her family came. Reluctantly I agreed.
The girl and I chatted for what seemed hours. She was a delight to talk to. Her voice was like a sweet hymn and I listened to every word with anticipation for the next. She explained that she and her grandmother go to the dome every day. Sometimes they meet with her family like they did yesterday. She apologized for pushing the boy off on me and asked how he was doing. I explained what had happened and how the family was thankful for me helping him. I rubbed my stomach as I told her of the banquet they prepared for me. We both laughed.
It had been an hour and her family still had not shown up. She had given a message to her younger brother and now she feared he had not delivered it to her parents. She went to the nurse’s station and was told that her grandmother was still being admitted. It would be another "few moments" before she could see her grandmother. She thanked the nurse and proceeded to call her brother again to let someone in the family know that she was at the hospital.
No one answered the phone and she came and sat by me with a sad look on her face. "I'm not sure who to call next," she said with a voice that was about to cry. I tried to calm her as best a stranger can calm anyone. I put my arm around her and patted her back. "Don't worry. I'm sure someone will be here soon," I said. I glanced at my watch. Time was flying by and I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it back to the dome today. I sighed and tried to remember I was doing something good here by staying with the girl.
It was a few hours later that the girls family arrived. Her brother had a hard time finding their parents, as they were out shopping for the day. No one seemed to notice as I left the hospital. I didn't want to be in the way, the hospital had my phone number if they needed to reach me... and besides.... I had a dome to see.
Walking back to the dome I couldn't shake the feeling that IT didn't want me to see it. I had helped two people and I knew they were more important than a silly dome. But this was becoming a game for me. Would I see it today or not? The dome area was strangely quiet. The sun was setting in the sky. As I walked up to the doors I noticed the sign. "CLOSED"