Everything is gray here. The trees, the grass, the sea, the sky--all of it gray, life that thrives though it has all been emptied of all color. It's a reflection of this place that is not a place, this in-between existence where night and day are forever entwined in a world of dawn and twilight. It is quiet as a lover's whisper, and as still as the dead who temporarily call it home.
But not all is quiet and still, though to the untrained eye, it would certainly seem that way. If you look closely, as I do, you will see the patches of memories the dead recreate. Everything from despair to joy can be seen and felt and heard in every detail if one only chooses to acknowledge these, the final reckonings of those who have passed.
Not everyone notices these replayed lives. It is a rare soul that takes the time to see into the others around him, to submerge himself in the life of another. It's not that the others don't care; it's that they aren't sufficiently aware of anything outside themselves. And so they review their lives, sometimes replaying the same scene over and over again, sometimes skipping from memory to memory in no particular order. Regardless of how they do it, the memories all share the same lifeness about them, full of emotion and happenings and colors unique to the experience of a living soul.
Some of the dead stay here longer than others, but inevitably, the scenes fade as they let go of their lives. They walk, slowly and at peace, toward the edge of the sea. There, the gateway waits for them, its light white and sorrowful and welcoming all at the same time. The dead enter it, beatific smiles on their faces as they remember they have gone there before.
Before they leave, though, I am the one who watches over them, and the one who envies them. I envy them their lives and their colors, things I can only catch glimpses of as they stay in my realm. I have longed to pass from here to there, to see the other side, to know heartbreak and joy and all the things that make one alive.
But that is not to be. So long as there is life in the universes, I am charged to be their shepherd and their peace, their rest and redemption; and though they hate me, I love and care for them as I imagine I would care for my own children.
I do as I am charged. I watch, and I wonder if, at the end of all things, someone will watch over me.
Copyright 2012 Elise Valente. All rights reserved.