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What Heaven's Like
You look back at me, a wild grin plastered on your face. You've always been faster than me. My head throbs and my hand aches from gripping the bottle. The world is spinning, but I'm determined to win. The sand is cool beneath my feet; the ringed moon makes it ghostly white. The distant party music fades even more.
You run faster. I run faster.
You head toward the old abandoned lighthouse, going in before thinking. I normally wouldn't go in, but adrenaline keeps me running. I see you go up the spiraling stairs. I follow suit. There's no way I'll let you win. I reach the top stair and see you climbing out the window. I swear and follow. I hear your deep laugh.
And then I see you fall.
When I wake up, I'm in a plain white room. My clothes have been replaced by a paper gown. A nurse walks by the open door. I touch my head, is it normal? It feels three times bigger with the pounding going through it. I sit up and blink when everything lurches. There's an IV in my arm. The bed next to mine is unmade but empty. I see the call button after I brush against it. The red light on the open door flashes and the same nurse comes in. But I'm not paying attention; the window was open. It wasn't before.
'Miss Tayla? You a callin'?' the nurse's thick accent doesn't mask her annoyance. She closes the window as I nod. I lick my lips and open my mouth to respond. I close it when nothing comes out. I glance at the pile of 'get well cards' on the bedside dresser and pick one up as well as a pen.
My hands shake as she reads. She sighs, getting a clouded look. She looks at the bed beside me,
'Child'no one could have survived that fall'somehow you did'you is a miracle for that. But two'?' she sighs again. As if she's talking to a child and not an 18-year-old girl. I don't even have time to feel the shock, I freeze. The window is open.
And you're standing beside it.
The nurse mutters something incoherent and closes the window, latching it this time.
'I'm sorry child'
And the she leaves. You're standing beside the bed now. You're wearing your normal clothes and wearing your normal smile. But the nurse says you're dead.
Then why am I not sad? I blink away a sudden tear.
The window is still latched, but you are gone.
Home is still the same. My parents pulled a favor to get me out of jail time and a fine. I don't care. You're gone now and my parent's are here, still screaming.
Sometimes at me. Usually at each other.
Summer is different now. I don't go to parties. I don't go to the beach. I don't go ANYWHERE we used to go.
I'm sitting in my room. Flowers are everywhere. The walls are packed with pictures. Pictures of you, pictures of me, and pictures of us. One wall is blank. That's the one you said you'd draw on. You were always a better artist. I pick up a pencil; the wall a sudden canvas. I see you through the wall and I trace you. You're long hair is windswept about your face. I draw the beach around you running form. The waves crash as I draw the spray. A ringed moon a reflection in its wake. And then I draw the light house.
Suddenly, everything is dark. I'm immersed in it. The only thing I see is dark water.
'Open your eyes Taylor.'
I open them and the water floods out, pouring down my face. I look over my shoulder. There you are, smiling at me.
'Would you like to know what Heaven's like?' you look at the drawing on the wall and imitate the natural mischievous smile. 'Heaven is a happy place'impossible to be sad'the very opposite of hell. Everyone walks on golden roads and walk through pearl gates. The place is pure. A paradise. Everyone is happy. Everyone except for me.'
I look at you like your crazy, going over what you said in my mind. Why wouldn't you be happy?
'Because you aren't there with me' you say. You say it like I should believe it. So easy. Simple.
You say it like you love me.
I touch the tears drying on my face, smiling.
'I want to be there' I hear myself say. You smile, as if you knew. You take my hand and I close my eyes. I hear a seagull and feel a gentle breeze. I open them in surprise. We are on the roof of the lighthouse. I look at you. You look at me. We smile and we jump with our hands clasped. Even when I feel your hand disappear I'm happy. Because I know I'll see you soon.
And I do.