The day was bright with the suns shine that resonated through the concrete jungle. Peaking around twisted building’s that rose into the sky to great the fresh warmth. He was exceptionally jubilant that fine morning, as he strode into the light. The sun greeted him with love as he smiled at the lovely day. Taking in all his surroundings for the first time in what seemed to be ages. His feet seemed to be gliding down the porches steps that descended unto the busy sidewalk below. Most days he rarely noted what the outside world felt like but today, was one of joy. He paused as he saw the tree that had been planted near his front door. A beautiful oak, barely out of its infancy. It swayed with every push of the light breeze, giving movement to an other wise stationary environment. He imagined the metal that towered above the tree, was smiling at its new companion.
He headed down the sidewalk, taking in his newly found enjoyment for all things. How long had it been since he had felt this way? He thought to himself as a small, childlike grin came across his face. It seemed to him, that the beauty around him was like looking through someone else’s eyes. Day after day he had walked this path and yet, it was as if his perspective had changed. Opening up to the world around him. He reached a corner of the bustling intersection. Cars hurried by the people who waited for the lights to change. Horns blaring off in the distance sprang into the noise around him. Creating something of a musical tone. A child could be heard laughing from the other side and he attempted to see the young boy. But as with the horns he could not see. Only hear the symphony around him. Instead he decided to close his eyes, and take in the beauty of chaos around him. A small bird could be heard chirping a lovely tune in the middle of it all, giving the world another beautiful song. His eyes watered as he opened them. Most days the noise drove him crazy, clouding his thoughts and forcing himself to withdraw. But today the chaos was in perfect harmony with himself and he decided to let it all in.
A few streets over, he had finally reached his destination. A beautiful park that had sprung up last fall, was at the early stages of its bloom. He stood at the gate of the entrance, and decided once again, to take it all in. For the first time, he had noticed the magnificence of it all. Hundreds of trees sat in front of him, surrounded by the busy world around them. A patch of green in an ocean of grey steel. The sounds of horns and heavy footsteps were blanketed by the songs of the lovely robins and blue jays, nestled atop the high canopy’s of the trees. Singing songs of love, for the beautiful day they were now basking in. He could see a squirrel scurried up a tree in the distance, followed by another who chased it with joy. As if two young children racing up a wooden giant. They wrapped around and around as they went up, only to disappear in a small hole, nestled way up high. A brick path greeted him at the gate, inviting him into the serene urban forest.
He strolled without a care, taking in the beautiful array of colors on either side of him. Rows of blossoming flowers surrounded him, invading his senses. A light breeze brought with it, the smell of fresh dew, dripping from the roses. A sea of red, gave the imprint of love onto his eyes. Greeting him with warmth like the sunshine above. A wave of yellow cascaded beyond the candy apple pedals, bringing with it a vibrant touch. They were not advanced like its rose counterpart, merely taking their time to show the world their true nature. He paused once more to take in the colorful path around him, watching as the first tulip popped into existence, showing its pristine flower to all the world. What a brave flower, he thought to himself as he continued his stroll. The rows of red and yellow, began to morph into an ocean of purple. A beautiful transition as the light from above had trouble peaking through this area of the path. Darkening around him brought a certain comfort he hadn’t felt since the days of his mother bringing him soup on cold, brisk night. His legs were asking for a rest, and he obliged, as he found himself an empty bench.
The seat was cold to the touch, as the sun had yet to make its rounds to this particular area. He didn’t mind, for it seemed to add a certain realism to the dreamlike state he was in. As if pinching himself to make sure he wasn’t, in fact, dreaming this beautiful day. The grin on his face seemed to grow ever so slightly, as he took in the benches point of view. A large tree was hanging over him. It seemed to move like a heartbeat with the rest of the forest around it. Swaying back and forth in perfect harmony with the sky above. Across from him was another bench, surrounded by even more flowers that popped with vibrant purple and yellow flowers. Just as he was taking in the view around him, a beautiful women sat across from the man who couldn’t stop smiling.
She was the definition of an angel. Her hair flowed like a spring, bursting from the side of a mountain top. Cascading down her shoulders and nestling against her petite frame. A glimmer of light beamed from the corner of her baby blue eyes, catching any wandering gaze, and inviting them to bask in the heavens of beauty. Her sundress was only matched in color, by the blossoming flowers around her, rivaling their beauty. It seemed to sway with every motion of the trees canopy’s. Moving in perfect harmony with nature. He could not help but stare at the women across from him. It was not only her beauty, but also just her being. She seemed to radiate something that he could not quite understand. A golden aura, he thought to himself. He froze, as she met eyes with him, and began to walk towards the frightened man.
As she crossed the brick path towards him, he could feel a thump in chest, grow to a drum like beat. Pounding away at his ribs in a primal fashion. A soft warmth raced to his face, tinting his cheeks with the color of the roses around him. His eyes flickered as he watched the angel approach the seat next to him. She seemed to float across the cold bricks, nestling herself on the chilling spot next to himself. A small smile graced his acknowledgment, as she made a coy attempt to look away. The beating in his chest seemed to halt with the action of the women. Freezing his pulse.
The entire world around them stopped. Birds were no longer singing their songs of joy, and the trees stopped their everlasting dance with the breeze. A pedal in mid-bloom, waited for the two on the bench, halting its birth, waiting for the next second to pass. “Am I dead?” He asked kindly. She nodded with a soft touch of acknowledgment. The beating in his chest began to grow once more, this with a more furious tone.
The world sat still, as the sun gave way to the stars hidden behind the light. They gleamed through the night sky, dotting the intimidating blackness that blanketed the night. The women sat still as the stars above. She had not moved since he had asked her the question of his mortality, instead letting him bask in the beauty he hadn’t felt in years. Making him wonder. “Is this heaven?” He asked, seemingly talking to himself. A small sigh came from her angelic lips. One in which did not bring him comfort, but did not bring fear either. He was about to begin again, but was stopped by a warm touch. Her hand had slid onto his, seemingly ending his concerns before they ever manifested. She lifted her eyes to meet his, smiling as the urban jungle disappeared around them.
The bench that was nestled in the beautiful park was still beneath the two of them. And they seemed to be the only two in existence. A beautiful light surrounded all sides of them, glowing with extraordinary vibrancy. He couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the vastness that was engulfing him. As if closing in on him. His heart began to pound once more and an uncertainty set into his psyche. Until the hand around his pumped warmth into him once more. “Where are we?” he asked softly, as he turned to face the women.
“In a waiting area, of sorts.” She said, turning to face him. Her grin had not wavered, and she looked even more beautiful once their eyes met.
“For what?” His curiosity had started to overpower his joy that he felt that morning.
“For death, of course.” She said with an innocent smile.
He knew he was dead by then. The beautiful morning he had hadn’t seemed real, but he desperately yearned for it to be. Attempting to cling to the emotions that had invaded him. To hold onto the joy that he thought was lost from his soul.
Sensing the hesitation in him, she began to speak directly at him. “For years I have waited to meet you. For years I have watched you toil away in your personal hell. All the while waiting for this day.” She paused as she broke her gaze with him. Seeming to hesitate in the slightest. “It must have been hard. I see that now. But it was what had to be done in order for you to see the light.”
He wanted so desperately to speak, and ask a barrage of questions. His curiosity was beginning to turn into fear and it seemed he had to many questions than he had words. A small lump in his throat began to form, so he decided to let the notion of his fear diminish. He thought it best to listen instead of speak.
“I am tired, you see? For countless years I have waited for you. Century’s of patience and anguish.” Her concerned gaze met his and disappeared with her words into love once again. “You are my replacement.”
“Your… What?” He said, generally curious.
A small chuckle came from her belly as she continued. “The years you spent, crying and filled with darkness, have been leading you to this point. You have seen the worse in yourself, and the people around you. You have had mental breakdowns, bouts of fear and rage, and been trapped by the weight of your soul. Yet through it all, a light inside you shown throughout the cosmos. A beam of hope, lighting an otherwise dark existence. Its love. Somehow, you have retained the love you were born with, no matter how dark everything around you was. A certain kind of hope, not seen since I began this job.” She spoke softly, but with a certain firmness to her voice. As if a mother, speaking to her toddler whom needed to understand.
He was curious. A childlike feeling crept into him. But his curiosity was not met with words of his own. Just a feeling inside him, begging to be fed with knowledge. A surprising chuckle came from his gut, as he realized he was no longer afraid of the events around him. It was not curiosity; he realized, but calmness. Something he had never felt before. He wanted to speak to the women in detail but only a few words came out. “What job might that be?” He said with a slight hint of amusement.
“A flower blooms with extraordinary grace every spring. Countless pedals burst into the air with every touch of sunlight. They grow and grow until one day, the begin to wilt. There pedals become frail and weak, causing them to fall to the ground and return back to earth. It becomes soaked up by the dirt that once gave it life, and which will one day give life once more. But the dirt cannot support the flower, without the flowers from previous springs. A circle that nature has perfected. Thus is life.” She paused as she looked at him. As if waiting for a response, which did not come. “Without the pedal wilting into the soil, the flowers of tomorrow would not survive. Without the death of the flower, you would not appreciate the bloom. Life and death. The dance that has been danced since the beginning of time. The dance that gives all.”
He interrupted with a certain clarity. “You’re death.” He said.
She nodded. “Without pain, one can not understand well-being. Without loss, one cannot understand gain. Without death, one cannot appreciate life. People believe life and death are opposite but this is not true. One cannot exist without the other. And you, have the love in your soul to continue this dance.” She stood. Keeping her gaze at him. She held out her hand for him to grasp and said, “This is your choice. I cannot explain any further. This is faith, and one must choose the course of faith, above all else. It is your decision. And there will be answers later, but for now, you must choose.”
He stared at her hand. Attempting to take all that was in motion, into a concrete understanding. But he could not. Instead his mind drifted. A small home sat in front of him. An old wooden relic from the days of childhood, that housed his upbringing. The home was white with brown trim, that lined the few windows it had. It was surrounded by a few trees, and some old bushes that needed to be watered. A small area was set aside on the porch for a swing that rocked back and forth. A familiar face caught his eye and he began to sit down on the creaky bench. His mother looked vibrant in her white sundress. Her hair was pulled back, exposing her soft features. He wanted to ask her so many questions, but she spoke instead. “How was school son? I hope you learned something new today. I would love to hear it.” He wanted to speak back but she kept going. Ignoring him as if in a dream. “Well that’s fantastic hun. Hold on now, I’ve got a story to tell before you get up and go off with your friends.” She said as if someone had stood up, cranking her neck upwards, only to fall back down to meet his gaze. “Now I know things seem rough right now. And im sure you feel sadder than you have before but remember something, with every sunset, there is a sunrise. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t need words to describe such an event. And without pain, we would not need a word for love.” She smiled and he could feel his heart-break just a little bit. That smile.
He opened his eyes and was back on the bench. He looked down upon the hand that was outstretched towards him, and smiled. A smile that he could feel had a little bit of her in it. It comforted him knowing she lived on through him.
And then took her hand.