She raised her red, swollen eyes up to the screen and felt her heart fill to bursting. There on the screen was a little boy, an unmistakable face stared back at her. He was playing in the sand, his little castle being washed away in the tide and trying so hard to keep up with repairs. His hair was the color of the sand beneath his feet, and his green eyes sparkled like the sun off the water behind him. His smile was infectious and spread joy to all the people surrounding him. There was no doubt that this was a special child, a child born in hope, and joy, and love. And he was theirs. She could see both of them reflected in his eyes, like looking into the lens of a camera. He giggled and she heard Phil. He began to sing a little tune and she heard herself. She watched him with every sense she had, sent her love his way. He found a shell and was drawing pictures in the sand. He's talented too, she thought to herself. He scribbled away and she realized his scribbles were taking on the form of letters.

"What the…?" she gasped.

It was clear as a bell. There, in the sand, were the words 'Hi Mommy'. He looked up and at her, waved and blew her a little boy kiss. She blew one back and he pretended to catch it. Then he went back to work in the sand. She watched intently. He was drawing a picture of a spaceship with a man inside. They were landing somewhere on a distant star. The "camera" raised up again and refocused on her son. But now the little boy was gone and there was an adult standing in his place. A handsome man, one with purpose and goodness of heart. It was her son as a man. Something was wrong with the backdrop, though. It was not the beach of his childhood. The water was a stunning blue, the sand a soft pink. And behind his head two suns blazed. "My lord, he is not on this earth. He is on another planet!" she said, awestruck.

And he was the first. He's a very brave man. He is much loved for his humanity and accomplishments.

"But is he happy?" she voiced.

Very happy child, he has a family of his own on this other world. He was the first colonist, much like your Christopher Columbus. There was a woman astronaut on the mission. They bonded, fell in love, had children…

"You mean I'm a grand…grandmother?!" this was too much to take in.

(They chuckled. She was an interesting soul.)

In a sense, we suppose you could say that.

"But I don't understand. Phil and I never had a child. I couldn't have children because the chemo destroyed my eggs." Baffled was too simple of a word to describe how she felt. But the image she saw on the screen was unmistakable. He was their child. If she could, she knew she would be suffering one intolerable headache at this point.

All in good time, child. For now, just know that your love for each other might not go unfulfilled. We will adjourn for now and meet here tomorrow.

"But wait, what do you mean 'might not'? And how do I get back here? I don't even know how I got here today!" A bright light enveloped her and the next thing she knew was sitting on a park bench with a hot pretzel in her hand. "Yum, mustard on it, too. Just the way I like it."

Part 8