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Fortunes Crossing
An Inspiring Story of Selfless Courage and Life-changing Determination

Bath Pond
"Fortunes Crossing" is an inspirational narrative promoting personal values of faith, charity and self-discipline.

Chet, a young businessman suffering from a terminal illness, devotes the last year of his life to "dying with class" and to helping Gus, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. Chet guides Gus in fulfilling his own purpose in life by helping and giving unselfishly to others, so becoming a productive member of society.

The problems these two men face and the courage and mutual support with which they face them convey a powerful message: that the path to self-fulfillment is found, in large part, through helping others to find their way as well.

—Lowell Teal

Coming To Terms With Life 3

“Your death will probably come very suddenly within a year. Yours will be the sort of death that cannot be predicted, given the many other serious medical problems you have.” Albert said these words in a very kind and soft voice.

Your death suddenly in a year were the only words that stuck within Chet’s mind after he left his appointment with Albert. The words remained as if they were plastered on the side of a Ferris wheel going around and around. He could not get them out of his mind. They kept flooding back, over and over, further muddling his thought process as he left the office. His mind fixated on the horrible news he’d just received. His physical whereabouts were not registering. He was totally lost in paralyzing thought.

“Chet,” Albert said in a normal tone. No response. Chet was standing before a window at the wrong end of the hall staring aimlessly toward the clouds. His eyes registered nothing.

“Chet,” Albert said in a louder voice, placing his hand softly on Chet’s shoulder.
With this, Chet slowly turned toward Albert. His face was frightfully distraught, as if he were a child facing a snarling, ferocious dog. Then, within the next moment, it was replaced with a blank face, a nothingness expression, when he recognized Albert.
When Chet’s senses resurfaced, he realized he had been standing over a floor air conditioning vent and was cold. He had subconsciously pulled his coat around himself. His arms were folded tightly in front.

“How long have you been standing here?” Albert asked.

“I really don’t know. Since leaving your office, I guess.” This was anyone’s guess. He had been transformed into another world, standing alone at the wrong end of the hall with no exit, facing the window.

That was more than thirty minutes ago, Chet.”

“I guess so,” he mumbled and slowly turned and began to shuffle toward the elevator.
“Wait, Chet. Since I am alone, go home with me. Let’s talk for a while.” Chet had flown to the city specifically for the consultation with Albert.

“I don’t know. I think I want to be by myself, and yet the business is tugging at me to hurry home. You are aware I’ve more problems there than I’m capable of handling, and now this.”

“Listen, for once, to your doctor. Please go home with me. We will order a bite and talk all evening. If you wish not to talk, we won’t. You’ve had a terrible jolt and really need to be with someone. You shouldn’t be alone, and your business certainly doesn’t need you in your present mental condition,” Albert pleaded.

Chet didn’t reply. Albert gently took his arm and aimed him in the opposite direction toward the elevator.

After his wife died a few years prior, Albert had moved into a posh high-rise apartment in the same building where his medical practice was located. By living in the same building as his offi ce, there was only minimal driving for him in the city. The hospital was just down the street, and he could walk there in good weather for exercise. If the weather wasn’t good, he took a taxi.

Chet’s father and Albert had been boyhood friends and al ways kept their friendship actively alive. They hunted and fished together at every opportunity. They knew each other intimately and enjoyed each other’s company. Chet always felt Albert and his wife were part of his family. They were much more than friends.

Chet and Albert were the only two left alive from both families. Both were alone. Though well past retirement age, Albert continued to practice because he wanted to be active. He did leave a couple of afternoons open each week for golf with friends.

Chet’s business was suffering what seemed to be its last gasp, primarily because of his poor management abilities. Actually, he was extraordinarily immature for the vast responsibilities forced upon him by the death of his father.

Chet prided himself in being very much in control of his life mentally and emotionally. Yet, when he sat on Albert’s sofa, reality surfaced, and for the first time since receiving the tragic news his face betrayed his best efforts to control himself. Albert sat beside him, trying to be of comfort. It seemed nothing helped. After retrieving a box of tissues from his bedroom, Albert put his arm around him and for the first time Chet allowed himself to weep uncontrollably.

From time to time, all evening, the distressing realization of his newfound circumstances would surface and surge within like huge waves. The waves washed back and forth across his now-raw emotions. These emotions ranged from denial to anger to bargaining with God, then back to a depressed state.

He ate nothing. He wanted nothing to drink.

When the clock struck ten, Albert got a pair of pajamas, turned down a bed in his guest room, and made Chet undress, put on the pajamas, and crawl in. When he did, Albert gave him a shot that mercifully allowed sleep.