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At a Distance
Her: On Earth the sunrise was always treasured with awe through the blue eyes of Helen. Now the colors vividly danced; pink, orange, pale blues with a golden kiss weaved before the naked eye. She wondered if her beloved back on Earth would see the rising sun or even admire its glorious entrance before the world. Would her little boy watch the erupting fire ball and for a moment share her awe? Helen doubted. His life was a smooth past which he selfishly trotted along upon a white steed named arrogance.
Suddenly the image of her last day on Earth clogged her vision. Her earthly ragdoll body stood on the porch of their upper class city home. Next to her was her precious nine years old son who had pushed her away as she attempted to kiss him a farewell on his way to school. Sorrowfully she smiled as the boy’s figure descended down the stone steps toward the street.
Often times Helen found herself in a never ending trance, lost in her thoughts which replayed before her eyes like a silent movie. These bittersweet memories grasped tightly to her heart transforming her into an overflowing cup of melancholy water. In heaven there would be no sadness but she was yet to enter heaven. She was trapped in the space between life and eternal peace. Many souls of the dearly departed shared this fate until the golden gates opened to welcome the Father’s children. This space of time allowed her mind to ramble on as her restless feet carried Helen on a path which constantly formed beneath her steps.
When the night had crept upon the city Helen had found herself at the front steps of her lost home. Inside the family she had bore awaited the man who was her loved one until “death do we part”. Tension was pulling on the arms of all her children, especially her little boy. Hovering over his chestnut desk, his eyes stared blankly at the scattered paper, not reading a single word of his high school work. Instead a popular rock song was replying in his mind as his fingers subconsciously dance along the strings of his ever faithful guitar resting on his lap.
It was possible for Helen to watch him there forever but his peace was shattered with the laughter booming from the entrance of the house. He was home hand in hand with his former employee and newly wedded bride. This woman had seduced him into her grasp while Helen was living her last disease stricken days. She knew they would both crumble in time but as of now she painfully watched them rejoice in futile, deceiving ignorance.
His voice called to their children, commanding them to greet their new mother. All, but one, of them hesitantly flocked to her with false warmth. Helen deafened her ears, one of the benefits of being dead. She knew the yelling was approaching. Sure enough, the broad shoulder, handsome but explosive man burst into the boy’s room, stripping him of a safe haven, demanding to have his wife, his loved one, to be welcomed and respected by his first born son. With sadness Helen watched the two figures explode with rage and soon after the shouts had vanished, their son was walking towards the park with his father’s menacing voice echoing in his head.
She could sense his loneliness with an aching heart. Helen longed to reach out and grasp his warm hand like he was a needy child again. To this day he still needed her but being dead it was impossible to let him know he was not alone. Like a shadow she was walking right beside him.
Him: The human body is very much like a machine when one compares the two. Both have a motor, or a brain, to keep us moving and able to function. Unlike a machine which can be turned on and off, the human mind is never at rest. It is always active, whether we are awake and interacting with others or lost in a fog inside of our dream heavy heads.
Unfortunately my mind was not cloaked in dreams nor would it be possible for me to even close my eyes. The sound of the city bustling behind me was hardly muffled by the little amount of trees surrounding and scattered around the public park. The birds were quiet or I just could not hear their night songs over the music of cars and buses. The moon was in the sky but an unnatural cloud colored a sickly gray kept back the pale light. Only street lamps helped me from stumbling into the almost clear lake.
Once more I hoisted my leather bag strap father up my shoulder so as not to have the worn sidewalk soil it. I kept my breath steady, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Rage still filled my body and clenched fists were still white knuckles. My brown tarnished blonde hair was still damp from my shower as the night breeze ran its fingers through it. I shivered slightly in my gray T-shirt which matched my almond shaped eyes and dark wash jeans. For the first time in my life I let my sneakers scruff against the ground out of exhaustion.
I tried to forget why I would not be sleeping in my own bed tonight. I ignored the echoing in my ears which caused me to flinch at every syllable. The face of my father was enraged for the sake of his wife. No matter what he did to me that woman would never be my mother. That’s what got me thrown out of my warm house. All of my sisters’ and brother’s eyes watched my descending back from their windows. Those steps had been a sinister memory for me. My mother’s last goodbye to me was wasted there. A goodbye I never returned to her.
Finally I reached a cold park bench. I laid my bag down on the edge of the seat and stretched myself over the metal. This would be the substitute for my bed. As my eyes were about to shut, a raspy voice called my name. Craning my neck over my shoulder to see who it was gave me a sketch of the approaching figure. I picked myself up and at once recognized the fiery hair, pale faced freckled boy who was my best friend. Only he would correctly identified me in the gloom of the night.
He picked up my bag smiling his sly fox smile and together we started to walk. I did not need to ask how he knew I would be sleeping in the park or even why, I simply had come to accept it. After all we were like one soul in two different bodies. One motor powering two different machines. And as we walked onward I glanced at the faint moon. The clouds parted and the moon shone brighter. I pictured my beautiful mother smiling down on me. She was smiling brighter than any star just giving me enough strength to carry on with my life.
30 years later
Her: Helen was walking, as she usually did, in a quiet field covered with flowers of every size and color her heart desired. There was a light breeze which played with the skirt of her white dress and her golden locks. Only twenty years ago her husband had joined the wait for heaven’s gates to open yet she never came across him. Her mind wondered if he too had transformed in to the youthful man she had first fallen in love with or was he sill in the form of the sixty years old man who had lost everything he owned to an illusory woman.
As these thoughts once more clouded her mind a strange sensation came over her being. A strong gust of wind tore into her and spun her mind. Frightened, Helen closed her eyes until the screaming wind stopped. Once she opened them again her heart seemed to stop for a second time. There standing in front of her grave was a man in a gray sweater accompanied by a woman who was holding his hands as soft tears slipped down his face. Three young children stood beside them crying silently just because their strong father had lost hold of his own emotions.
Helen walked around in front, facing them and cried at the face of her beloved son and the new faces of her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. One by one she kissed their foreheads, knowing they would never feel her touch. As she wiped tears from her son’s faces as the wind he seemed to gaze into her own sea blue eyes. Then he knelt down and placed freshly cut flowers against the lonely stone. He than turned to his family and together they prayed.
Helen smiled to herself and smelt the flowers imagining how they would have smelled if she were able to. Than the family said their last goodbyes and turned away into the late afternoon. She watched them leave and slowly closed her eyes, remembering the last time she saw her son alive, a young boy who took advantage of his own life. Now he was a grown man with a family he loved and wisdom only gained by years of hardship. Like the sun, Helen was beaming with pride as she returned to her field of wild flowers watching the pastel painting of the sun set.