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Love After Death
The sand felt good beneath my feet; warm and soothing. It bought back memories of my childhood. Laughter, hugs, and love, but that was all a long time ago.
I lay down as the tide comes up. The salt water splashing over my legs in perfect harmony with the sand. Sighing I look up at the ever blue sky, not a cloud in sight.
Many people think that when you die your soul or essence goes to Heaven or Hell, but that’s not all. I mean if that were the case then so many things would have been left unknown; the meaning of your life, sacrifices people made for you, and the many unsaid thoughts.
So as I said those people are wrong. When you die your soul or essence
isn’t gone. There’s more, you go to Heaven or Hell and meet five people. At least I think you meet five people in Hell, but I don’t know since I’m sitting here in heaven.
Each one of the five will tell you their story and an important lesson and without these five lessons you wouldn’t have understood your life. The fifth person that you meet will be the one to guide you into heaven. After that you yourself will be waiting to teach someone a lesson/story.
Which brings us back to me; 27 years old with long curly hair and big round eyes. I had died young, yet I didn’t regret it. How could I, my death was a small price to pay for the greater good. My demise had in return saved two other lives and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So here I wait a fifth person myself. I wait here to guide someone else into Heaven.
I feel a small fissure in the air that signals his arrival. I smile joyfully at the face that I sacrificed so much for, my brother, Jaden.
He looked to be around 20 years old with long blonde hair and one green eye and one blue eye. He looks around with a confused expression until his gaze falls on me. He collapses and his eyes bug out as if he’s seen a ghost.
“Sky….” he whispers, using my childhood nickname. I’d forgotten how velvety his voice was. It was like the soft flowing of a river, sleek, soothing, and melodious. It was like ice without the water. I get up and gather him in my arms for a warm hug. “Jaden it’s been too long.” I say. He pulls back as if to make sure I’m real. Then suddenly the corners of his mouth pull up into his signature crooked smile. “God I’ve missed you, but that doesn’t explain why I’m here or why we’re on a beach.” he says. “I thought you’d be getting the hang of it by now, I’m your fifth person and to answer your second question I love the sea and if you haven’t noticed this is the same beach mom used to take us to before.” Before everything turned into a nightmare I add silently.
Jaden looks around as if recalling us as kids. Pain flashes through his eyes as he curses silently. “So I guess you’re here to tell me why our parents were so screwed up right?” he said bitterly. Shaking my head no I quietly said “I’m here to tell you why I did those things and to explain your life.”
That made him shut up.
Sighing I changed the scene to Nashville, Tennessee, the place we grew up in. Our home at the time was an all-American cottage styled house, it was one of many on the street. Looking around Jaden took in the grassy lawns and tall trees. He frowned looking even more confused. Not that I blame him, he was too young to remember the last real home we had. Letting out a breath I didn’t know I was holding I said “This is where we lived before, Dad had a job as a respected lawyer and Mom was his dotting wife. I lived here and so did you, for awhile. For the first seven years of my life I went to school two blocks away and played with the girl next door.
“When mom was pregnant with you everyone was happy and even a year after your birth things were going smoothly, but something happened. My guess is that one of Dads new clients got him hooked on Barbiturates, a very dangerous drug. Whenever he inhaled it he’d get violent and beat mom. Sometimes he’d come after you but I wouldn’t let him.” I paused.
“Can we go in?” Jaden asked with a curious expression. Again I shook my head “The brain has ways of protecting you, mine had blocked out painful memories and since I can’t remember there wont be anything there.” Okay so that was a lie but I don’t think either of us could stand reliving those memories. He looked sad as though regretting the fact that he couldn’t remember life when it was still normal.
“So what happened, I sure don’t remember growing up in this sunny place.” Jaden says bluntly. Sighing, I’ve been doing that a lot lately, I said “Dad got deeper into drugs and violence and mom was very depressed, because of all that we lost everything; our money, house and jobs.”
Jaden grumbles and looks around as cars pass, children laugh, and birds chirp. We’ve been standing on the sidewalk across the house. It was a sunny day, the kind of the day that requires sunglasses. An old longing fills me but I ignore it. Stretching my arm out I take his hand and change the scene to New Orleans, Louisiana. “Sad to say our mother wasn’t very strong and soon she gave into the drugs. That left us, you and me, to fend for ourselves. Of course I wouldn’t let John harm you.” I said. John was our father’s name.
I became quiet as Jaden started to walk down the filthy street. I followed him as things that haunted him came back to life. My own memories resurfaced and I remembered getting into fights, searching for food, and trying to find someplace warm. I know that it’s painful for him, for me, but this needs to be done. Jaden wasn’t always this hateful; he used to be kind and gentle. I know since I’m the one who raised him.
We continued on like, Jaden would ask a question and I would answer, taking him to different places. Some of them he knew others he didn’t. Time was irrelevant here. Whenever Jaden got too confused or angry I would take him back to my beach. I knew that the sound of water crashing softly against the rocks would calm him.
We were sitting on one of those rocks right now. Id just told him how we had lived alone. It was in the 70’s and no one really bothered to check if we were old enough to live alone. I knew that our time was almost up and I hoped I got to him, because I didn’t like this new Jaden. He was harsh, angry most of the time, and his bitterness even showed in his smiles, but worst of all his eyes were always cold, lifeless. I wanted my Jaden back the kind, soft, laugh at nothing Jaden.
Everything was silent until I asked “What happened to Ever?” Ever was my daughter the other person I died for. Finally Jaden’s eyes light up and he joyously says “She’s so beautiful and smart like you. I took care of her, she went to Dartmouth and now she’s married to a senator.” His words were all jumbled up but they held a hint of pride.
“What about you Jaden?” I asked softly “Have you ever married? Enjoyed your life? Lived it to the fullest?” His eyes turn hard and he looks away. Its quiet and there’s tension in the air. Finally he answers with a bitter and simple “No.”
I take a deep breath and say “You can’t always be alone, Jaden. Sometimes it’s okay to let people in. They’re not all going to stab you in the back. No one can always be alone.” I paused and took another breath “It’s not a weakness to love someone.” As I said this his eyes soften but he remains silent.
“What I’m trying to say is that most people with our…………… up bringing would have given in and got addicted themselves. But we, you, survived. I know you hate everything, but John’s mistakes made us strong.” I look at him and he says “Thank you for explaining everything, I understand now.” He smiles and I grin back and say “My lesson to you is that no one should stand alone.”
At that moment a strange chanting began and the water started to come at us from all angles. Soon we were floating under water and the chanting drifted away as if we were moving. Jaden looked at me with panicked eyes and I smiled reassuringly back at him. I stretched my arm out and he took my hand. All too soon the water drained and we feel with a thud to the ground.
Jaden looks around and smiles crookedly. We were in the summer lands. Trees, flowers and nature surrounded us. We could hear a river near by. A bright light blinds us; I smile at him and say “Welcome to Heaven!”