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Memories are precious. I walked dreamily across a sandy beach with my hands buried in my jean pockets, my eyes soaking in the wonder before me. Shells pinched the soles of my bare feet, and salty sea spray tickled my nose. The cool air sent goosebumps down my exposed arms, and the wild wind blew my hair freely in every direction. The dark, foreboding clouds gathered over my head. I closed my eyes and took a sip of the fresh air. I recognized where I was, and a smile tugged at my lips as I uncovered lost memories from the dusty drawers of my mind. My best friend and I visited that place every summer. I watched the waves crash passionately against the smooth boulders covered in red seaweed. I picked up a fistful of sand and let it slide through my fingers rapidly. I remembered when her and I would sit in the mushy sand and dream. We would toss our cares into the endless sea and watch ships with bright lights push through night's dark blanket. Flashbacks seeped from the cracks of the wall that held back my dear memories.
“I want to be on that ship right now.” I sighed dramatically. We had this conversation every time we visited the vast, beautiful ocean.
“Me, too.” she agreed pensively. She drew her knees up to her chest. “I wonder if they are having a party on it. One full of colorful cocktail dresses and handsome guys.” The full moon reflected its brilliant glow on the calm waters. The night air was chilly, but the blanket of sand covered our legs and kept us warm. It was one of the most breathtaking moments out of all our summer days there. The moon, the ships on the glassy sea, the peaceful aura. I could never forget it. I smiled as I recalled another moment when we chased screeching seagulls down the length of the sandy beach. We would struggle to keep from slipping in our flip flops with sand flying in disturbed beach-goers' faces, and we flapped our arms franticly, trying to purge the irritating birds from our picnic area. The smile on my face faded in a miserable realization. They were memories. I could never relive them.
I stepped into a busy little market. Various fruits were stacked in small crates, three refrigerators filled with fresh cartons of milk lined up against a wall, and greasy apple cider donuts were laid out on a green countertop near the cash register. The people in the room did not seem to notice my sudden appearance. They continued to pick at the variety of foods, grimacing at bruised apples or smiling in satisfaction at perfectly ripe pears. I did not dare to bother the strangers and interrupt their fruit picking process. I glanced around the room searching for a hint as to where I was. It appeared to be a type of barn, but what barn did I know of? Ah, of course! Meadow Brook Farm. My mother and I frequently visited the quaint farm when I was younger. She would pick out vegetables for dinner and I would pick out the sugary donuts for dessert. After, we would go around back of the market and pet the fluffy goats and boisterous chickens. She would hug me and tell me how much she loved to spend time with me. Oh, to feel that loving embrace again....
I walked down a windowed hallway lined with blue lockers. The air was cold and still. I did not have to even think about where I was. I spent most of my life at school. I could not recall any fond memories of that particular school, except for the all the loving friendships that helped me survive those hard times. They were years marked with stress, the adolescence of being a teenager, and the peer pressure of fitting in. My footsteps were silent as I walked further down the deserted hallway. The walls once plastered with elaborately designed art projects were bare, and they stared blankly at me, watching my every move. It was eerie when no one was there. I remembered the chaos when the day would end. Everyone would pour out of their classes and push hastily through the sea of students to finally breath fresh air again. I neared the black doors and pushed them open, the creaking noise shattered the delicate silence.
I was in my church. People were sobbing. Some I recognized, and some were unfamiliar. I saw my mother in the front pew with a mascara stained tissue, and tears poured from her sorrow filled eyes. My father's hands were folded tightly and his head was bowed as if in reverence or grief, but I was not sure which. Perhaps both. I glided through the aisles airily. A knife cut through my heart when I saw them so hurt. I desired to wrap my arms around them warmly and ask why they were crying, but I had an uncanny feeling that if I did they would not respond. As I drew closer to the front, something caught my eye. It was wooden, and rectangular. My pastor was speaking from behind it with a large brown bible in hand. His face was grave, and his eyes were serious. I could not hear what he was preaching. His voice was a deep muffled sound that buzzed slowly and heavily, like a dying bee hanging onto its last thread of life. I was curious and approached the opened boxy object. I glanced down solemnly. My body laid there peacefully with my hands gently on top of each other over my heart. My face was lifeless and sallow. My eye lids were darkened and my lips were a sickly pale color. I clung on to a precipice of hope, holding my breath and waiting to see if my chest would rise and fall, but it remained deathly still. I gasped and fell before my casket in horror. What had happened to me? I hung on to the splintery side with one hand as I tried to catch my breath, but it repeatedly escaped me. I felt like I was losing all sense of control. My body became lighter and lighter. My hand fell through the casket and I collapsed to the floor in surprise. I lifted it to my eyes in fear. I could see the outline of my hand, but the rest was transparent. I searched the room for some explanation as to what was happening to me. Out of nowhere, I heard a gentle but commanding voice call from behind me.
“Are you ready now?” it asked kindly.
“What is happening?” I asked worriedly, my voice quavering. The church service continued as if nothing extraordinary was occurring.
“It is time for you to come home.” it responded in a matter-of-fact tone.
“What happened to me?” I cried out, still facing the opposite direction, afraid to face to person to whom the voice belonged to.
“It is not time for that. When we go home, then He will explain.” the voice responded.
“I want my parents to stop crying.” I asked trying to choke back my own tears, but the dam in my throat broke open and the tears fell freely against my ethereal cheek.
“They will in due time. But come, He is waiting to see you.” the voice said excitedly. “Do not cry. The place you will be going to does not allow sorrow. I assure you that you will be much happier there.” I turned my head timidly. My eyes shifted upward. I saw the most beautiful creature that I had ever seen in my life. He was as tall as a city building with magnificent wings and a glorious light that illuminated from his presence. His powerful wings suspended him a few feet off the ground. His hair was golden. No human on earth had that hair; it was heavenly. A peace poured from a bucket of tranquility over my worries when my eyes met the sight before me. It was a feeling I never knew of. It was pure and refreshing, as if my soul was being immersed in a fountain that cleansed away all burdens and cares. He held a hand benevolently out for me to take. I rose from the carpeted ground, and stepped cautiously toward the anomalous creature.
“Please, do not be afraid.” he said encouragingly. I knew I had to. Something told me inside that it was my only choice. I reached my hand up tentatively and it met his. Electricity surged from his grasp into mine and the shock zipped through my veins. I gasped in surprise and peered up at him. He smiled benignly, then lifted his eyes skyward.
“Hold on tight.” he said. Suddenly we disappeared in a flash, and I left earth forever.