“Cars?” his father said, watching as the boy, blind since birth, struggled to find his mouth with his cereal spoon.
“Cars,” Lochan said again.
“What do you mean?”
“Cars,” Lochan mumbled with a mouthful of Apple Jacks.
“Okay, cars,” his father said with a smile. “I’ll see you all tonight.”
As his father closed the door to the garage behind him, his mother said, “Lochan, honey, finish your breakfast. You’ll be late for school.”
About an hour later, Lochan’s father returned home. Saying nothing, he walked into the family room, sat down on the sofa and stared blankly at the fireplace.
“Bob?” his wife said. “Are you okay?”
“There was a nine-car pileup on 70,” he said. “It happened right in front of me. I was almost in it. I hit my brakes just in time.”
“Oh, Bob,” she said, wrapping her arms around him. “How awful. I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“Cars,” he said.
“I’ve been worried about the way people drive lately. Remember? I even mentioned it at dinner last night. After Lochan said that this morning, I had cars on my mind. I stayed in the right lane and drove slow. Thank God I did.”
He turned to her and said, “That boy has a gift.”
Word got around about Lochan’s gift. People came to him as if he were an oracle. He would listen to their questions and problems, then say something simple. People left in awe, as if some great, hidden truth had been revealed to them.
Maybe it was his disability, which was off-putting for children, especially in those days, or his mysterious reputation as a fortune teller. But sadly Lochan had no close friends growing up.
After high school, he got a job as a customer service representative. It was a job he could do from home.
When his sister moved out, Lochan was often alone. He cooked for himself. He listened to music, audiobooks and news. He walked on a treadmill.
Years later, when his father died, his mother sold their house and moved to a retirement center. Lochan went with her. When she died, he stayed.
A kind aide named Maddie befriended Lochan. She’d seen him sitting alone and made an effort to talk with him. So many people had come to Lochan for advice over the years, but few had ever really talked with him.
One day, Maddie asked Lochan about his “gift.”
“That’s what my parents called it,” he said.
“Well, isn’t it?”
“What do you mean?”
“When I was a kid, sometimes I would hear a word and say it for no particular reason. People thought I knew something they didn’t, maybe because I’m blind. Anyway, they started coming to me with questions. In their questions, I could always hear their answers. I don’t have a gift, Maddie. All I’ve done is help people see for themselves what they already know.”