It was a particularly slow day at Whit's End, which was probably a good thing considering Mr. Whittaker was extremely short staffed today, He had given Connie the day off letting her spend some bonding with Jules, Eugene really didn't come to Whit's end often anymore with his job at the college and Nick had long since left the town of Odyssey.
On days like this Whit felt as if he could close his eyes and drift back to a time when the shop was filled with life and laughter.
It all felt like just yesterday when Connie and Eugene's bickering filled the kitchen, scaring away young bystanders wishing to order the flavor of the day. He never thought he'd miss it but days like today made him long for it.
Hushed voices from a corner booth tore him from his thoughts,
“It couldn't have been Phillip, he was riding the unicycle in the back of the room!”
“I don't know Em’, he was giving me vibes.”
“Well, we need more evidence than you feeling 'vibes’”
Whit knew he shouldn't eavesdrop on Matthew and Emily's latest mystery so he tried to tune out of the conversation, knowing they would probably ask for his advice later anyway, he suppressed a chuckle. (It did sound like an interesting case though)
Sometimes those two reminded him of so many kids that had come before. Of course, every person was a unique creation of God, but every now and then he couldn't help notice quirks that would take him back. Whether it'd be the sparkle of mischief gleaming in someone's eye that reminded him so much of Jared, Cal, and Curt, coming up with new schemes or conspiracies, or maybe, that meek, innocent smile that Lucy or Mandy always dawned as they tried to put up with someone else's shenanigans. Maybe he would hear a sassy voice, that Whit knew would never be able to compete with the overwhelming sass level of Sarah. Sometimes he'd even notice that uncertainty of Alex, Trent or Dwaine as they were pulled along on an adventure they hadn't ever signed up for that would show in new kids that would come to the shop.
He had watched so many kids grow into the people God had made them to be, they were off getting jobs, moving away, and some were even getting married and having kids. (Looking at you Trent and Mandy)
Whit couldn't lie, it was sometimes a little sad, but it was all so rewarding. Jared was working for an investigative branch in the secret service (though that was not to be disclosed), Jimmy was just promoted to an editor for a paper in D.C working for none other than Lucy Cunningham Schultz and Jack was off at a big name college in D.C as well with a bright future ahead.
It all seemed like a dream, and that one day he'd wake up and hear that oh so familiar bell and look over to find all of them strolling through the front door laughing and chatting with that breeze of childhood absorbing the room in an instant.
So much time has passed so quickly if you dared to even blink you might miss it.
It seemed like just yesterday Digger tested the Imagination Station for the first time,
Just yesterday Connie and Eugene got a little too curious with that fruit-named computer program, just yesterday Dr. Blackard turned their lives upside-down,
Just yesterday Bernard would complain about something or other in a way only he could,
Just yesterday George Barclay labeled the now Iconic drink the Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod,
Just yesterday he'd disappeared for so long, spending time he would never get back,
Just yesterday Rodney Rathbone struck fear in the hearts of all the kids in town
Just yesterday Jared had some new conspiracy to chase down a rabbit hole,
Just yesterday Eugene had gotten involved with something so much bigger than him,
Just yesterday Alex, Cal, Sarah, and Mandy gathered together in Wonder-world trying to help in whatever way they could,
Just yesterday Tom saved the world,
Just yesterday Connie was getting married to Mitch,
Just yesterday Connie wasn't,
Just yesterday Odyssey was almost the best small town,
Just yesterday when Whit noticed everyone had grown up and moved on…
....yet he was still here.
Whit makes an effort to keep contact with most the kids, updating them on what's happening around Odyssey and they'll tell him their problems and achievements. Whit listens, overjoyed they still confide in him and the fact he had the chance to impact so many lives no matter how much it may sting. Because it's worth it.
“Ah, Matthew, sorry my mind was off somewhere else. What can I do for you?”
“Well, we wanted to ask for your input on this case involving the school talent show.”
“Someone used a remote-controlled tocan to hijack the stage lights and ruin the show” Emily butted in.
“At this point, I think someone is just mocking us.” Matthew replied.
“But who could that someone be..?”
The corners of Whit's lips curled up into a smile and his eyes gleamed with fondness. He encourages them to keep trying and if they were really desperate he had some books in the library on tracing remote controlled signals and even a little experience himself. They seem interested so he tells them he will be there in a minute to help them along as they both depart to the library.
Whit closes his eyes for but a second, hearing hundreds of voices, laughing, crying, and singing. Bright images explode in the lightest of darkness as he sees so many he hasn't seen in years. He lets his mind take him far into the past. Just as quickly as they closed, old, wise eyes open once again, deciding that he wouldn't trade a second of any of it, as they move along and take off on a new adventure.