I hated you at first.  Every single one of you.  Not for anything you did, or even for who you were.  You all just…reminded me of him in different ways.  I couldn’t handle it.  

I couldn’t handle the thought of letting someone get close only to risk losing them like I lost my son.  I wasn’t willing to risk going through that again.

The moment you walked into my bar, I decided you were trouble.  You were drama and you were setting yourselves up for pain on an epic scale.  And I was right.

But I was also wrong.  Watching someone go through what you did, I would have expected it to destroy you.  What you endured together; nobody should survive something like that, but you did.  Even Jesse did, in his own way.

I wanted you to know that I’m sorry and that I’ve seen what you had to handle together.  Even though I was watching from the outside, I’ve known your pain.  We are more similar than you know.  

The difference is, losing my son managed to destroy me.  What you lost only brought you closer together.  Never forget that.  Don’t ever let what happened come between you.  Ever.

A letter from Ross Tinder to the recipients of The Miracle

Jesse Mason was finally beginning to feel like he hadn’t made the worst mistake of his life.  After being completely abandoned by the one girl he thought he could love forever, he had decided it was time to move into the city and do something that nobody believed was possible.  Nobody, that is, except for Jesse.

Jesse had exactly three loves in his life:  music, the stage and the idea of love itself.  Having moved to Omaha nearly two months prior to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a professional stage actor, the first several weeks of this new adventure had proven to be an utter disaster.

His mother, Pamela, had sent him off in the best way she knew how; filled with doubt and a subconscious expectation that he was ultimately going to fail.  Jesse was determined to see the opposite become a reality, if for no other reason than to prove his mother wrong.  Still though, he had started this journey off on the wrong foot.  He made the move, fully expecting to be met with failure.

For a while, his self fulfilling prophecy managed to bring itself to fruition.  Having come to the city with no job and very little money to begin with, Jesse was forced to room with a complete stranger just to make ends meet long enough to hope something would pan out.  One audition after another proved to be an epic waste of time as none of them ever lead to any real, paying work.

It was until very recently, when Jesse realized he had no choice but to throw in the towel and move back home, that the unthinkable happened.  Jesse got his first paying role.  It was nothing spectacular, mind you.  Nothing more than a nameless face in a cast ensemble, but it was something.  Most important of all, it was something that paid and would ensure that Jesse had enough to cover rent for another couple of months.

It was a start.  Finally.

In his frustration over the way things had started, Jesse decided a few weeks back to start frequenting a local bar.  It’s important to note, that of all the bars the city had to offer, he somehow managed to pick the one place that would ultimately change his life and the lives of three others forever.

Unaware of the events to come, Jesse sat in a secluded corner of this particular bar on this particular night and was feeling particularly good about things for the first time in quite a while.

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Jan Tinder, the bar tender and co-owner of his new favorite place had taken notice of the fact that Jesse had become a regular but, even after several weeks made no attempt to socialize.  In fact, he seemed to go out of his way to make himself as invisible as possible.

In her mind, this just wouldn’t do.  This was a karaoke bar, after all.  Who comes to a karaoke bar to try to blend in?  Some bars, sure, a lonely soul may be tempted to sink into the dark and spend the evening with their drink.  But not in this place, which was a well known social spot and party scene.  People usually only came here if they wanted to get notice, at least on some level.

Knowing this, Jan decided to take a special interest in getting to know the enigma that was Jesse.  Through various, brief conversations she had managed,covertly, to piece together an impressive portion of his story and who he was.

She (thought) she knew what Jesse was doing in the city and she had a pretty good idea of the frustrations he had faced since he had come here.  She also knew that he was a performer at heart, which would explain why he had in interest in her establishment and she knew that a rocky start was beginning to get a bit easier for him and tonight was going to be his night to show everybody here what he could do.

She knew his taste in music and she knew that he loved to sing.  She knew that tonight he was going to prove he could sing to everybody here, but she also knew that he didn’t know this yet.  He was going to need a bit of a push and Jan was just the person to do it.

Jan Tinder single handedly sealed Jesse’s fate that night.  Everything that followed in the lives of Jesse, Megan, Collin and Jamie would have been wiped from the realm of possibility had Jan not pushed Jesse to get up on her stage that night.

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Jesse’s previous visits to the bar were an attempt to escape from the reality that he was ultimately going to fail.  Tonight though, he was here for an entirely different reason.  Tonight, Jesse was celebrating the possibility that he might actually succeed.

Feeling rather good about himself at the moment, Jesse was toying with the idea of getting up onto the stage tonight and singing his socks off, just because he could.  Despite his newfound confidence, small as it was, he just couldn’t bring himself to leave the safety of his dark little corner booth.

Jan, the bartender was approaching with a fresh drink.  As she drew closer, he noticed she had a slightly mischievous smile that she didn’t normally wear.  She was up to something.  As she dropped of his extra tall Long Island Iced Tea (his new favorite,) she grinned slyly and asked, “you did say you like The Beatles, right?”

Just as she said that, the introduction to the aforementioned band’s classic, Let it Be, began playing over the sound system.  Jesse suddenly realized that she had set him up to take the stage whether he wanted to or not.  His initial instinct was to get out of there as fast as possible, but then the unthinkable happened.

The D.J., Ross, Jan’s husband and business partner was in on it as well and before Jesse could move, he heard his name called over the sound system and found himself staring down a spotlight that made it impossible for him to escape the scene unnoticed.  He had two choices at this point and Jan knew it.  He could either disappoint a willing audience or he could give them what they wanted.

As terrified as he was, Jesse was hard wired to give his audience the show they wanted and that’s exactly what he did.  There wasn’t a soul in the place that wasn’t moved by his performance.

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Jamie couldn’t have been happier with the way the night had gone so far.  She had to admit, she was a bit nervous about Megan and Collin’s first meeting.  Megan could be a bit over protective and Collin was…well, Collin was kind of a jerk until you got to know him.

Thankfully, the two seemed to hit it off rather well and Megan had offered her silent approval of their newfound love.  The night was beginning to wind down when the unexpected happened.

Collin, never letting his original motivation for entering this particular bar several weeks ago leave the back of his mind, was subconsciously paying attention to the myriad of “singers” that had taken the stage throughout the night.  None of them had been worth getting excited over.

Hearing the D.J. call the last singer for the night and hearing the familiar piano accompaniment for Let it Be begin to play throughout the bar, Collin had already chalked this night up to another failure in his search for ‘the one.’

And then this kid walked up onto the stage.  Those who were watching could clearly see that he was more than a little nervous and didn’t really want to be in the spotlight.  When he began to sing though, every patron in the bar stopped what they were doing to listen; Megan, Collin and Jamie included.

Conversations came to a screeching halt, the staffed stopped in the middle of their current tasks and everybody just watched and listened.  Jesse had the room.  It didn’t take long for him to get over his initial bout of nerves and find his confidence.

To Jesse, it didn’t matter where the stage was.  It could have been in the middle of a desert with only snakes and cacti for an audience and he wouldn’t have cared at this point.  Jesse was at home, in his element on this stage and he found himself in a pocket universe where his fears of failure and rejection ceased to exist.

That voice, though.  The voice that came out of this kid was something like nobody there had ever heard before.  The conviction with which he sang moved even the hardest of hearts within earshot nearly to tears.  The passion delivered with the lyrics he was belting could not be denied.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary calls to me
Seeking words of wisdom
Let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Jesse wasn’t singing to his enraptured audience.  He was singing only for himself.  He felt the words coming out of his mouth in a way he had never felt them before.  It was as if some higher power had chosen to use this moment to deliver a message to everybody listening, but intended solely for him.

No matter what he had faced in the past or what lay ahead of him, Jesse suddenly understood.  Everything was going to be okay.  He was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing exactly what he was supposed to do.  He hadn’t made a mistake.

As this realization washed over him, even though it seemed impossible, Jesse began to sing with even more passion and conviction.  When the final note rang, what followed was a first for this place; complete and utter silence, which lasted for eternal seconds.  Immediately following this beautiful silence, another first for the bar happened.  Jesse’s performance was met with thunderous applause.

As if suddenly realizing how exposed he was, Jesse became extremely embarrassed and made his way off the stage as quickly as his feet could carry him.  His intent was to retreat back to the safety of his corner booth.  Somebody else had another idea in mind though.

Megan was completely enthralled with this little stranger.  It wasn’t often that somebody caught her attention, but when they did she just couldn’t let it go until she knew more.  Looking over at Collin, seeing the amazement in his expression, she stated simply, “I think you found your singer…”

Collin for his part, was trying to pass off the fact that he was so impressed with the kid that just blew everybody away as minor amusement but it was obvious to everybody that he had locked his sights in on Jesse, much as Megan had, but for completely different reasons.  He had to talk to this kid.

Before Collin could make his move though, Megan was already on her feet and headed to intercept Jesse before he could make it back to the safety of his solitary corner booth.

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