Day 27; 2nd entry
I think it’s my second day here, if indeed the periods of time between light and dark are a full day. I seemed to have arrived here without a watch. And no earrings. I am without my jewelry armor and feel totally naked. Heck, my ears aren’t pierced anymore, and my tattoos are gone. I don’t know who I am without them.
To catch up: We walked out of the Resurrectory and through a park to get to my new digs. What a novelty to walk straight, not limping…to hear sounds of a real world instead of that damned constant ringing in my ears. The conversations of other people walking this way and that, I could hear them. Leaves in the wind, birds tittering: I could hear them. Being partially deaf in the outside world had seemed so disconnected, living in some nebulous reality where I didn’t belong and the programs weren’t close-captioned.
And let’s not mention how embarrassing it is when someone speaks to you and you can’t hear him or her clearly. Your brain fills in the blanks with words that are not just incorrect but solidly surreal. Most of the time what you hear is hilarious, such as “Let me pumpkin lick you” instead of “Let me pump the gas for you.” Laughing is a hugely wrong idea in some circumstances. Such as a friend’s funeral or when listening to your priest’s sermon.
Here I am, part of it again. All the information out there is loud and clear, and again I am part of something bigger than me, more important than me alone. I am not a child, I am adult who hears as she did when she was a child. My world isn’t that silent envelope I was living in. There’s power in hearing sound.
I had the sudden urge to find an ice-cream vendor and buy a cone but as we walked, no vendors to be seen. A lot of people, though; we all were walking. No bikes, no motorcycles or cars: all walked. Most were like me, just regular people with regular faces, and quite a few were accompanied by someone like Belle, someone who glowed a little. They glow with music to them, music that is not heard but had an effect nonetheless. In comparison, the other people–I must remember to call us Bios–were colored dully. I looked down at my hands, waving them back and forth like a hula dancer. Yes, they were my hands, but compared to Belle, my hands were insignificant.
“Nothing about you is insignificant, Sarah.” She could hear my thoughts?
“Oh, you don’t know me that well yet.”
“Perhaps I know you better than you think?” She paused, glanced around, and glided to a park bench.
“Doubtful. Nobody really knows me.” She patted on the bench next to her, a universal sign of join-me-we-need-to-talk-seriously, and I sat.
“Someone does.” I sat, wondering who she was referring to and if that glow she had emitted heat. I didn’t feel any.
“Someone does, huh? I give…who?” I was so very careful to hide the ugliness inside me, the hate, the desire to hurt as I’d been hurt. Make a joke and walk away when someone gets too close, the best advice my brother ever gave me. Don’t let the suckers see you sweat.
“Someone who loves you.” Belle shimmered brighter, bright enough even to cast small shadows behind the bench.
What a crock. Some divine being, presumably the God I was introduced to in Sunday school, grabs me when I commit suicide, whooshes me away from sweet oblivion, kills all the pain in my soul, then I find out it was because of love. What a cheap word, love. Easy to say but not to mean.
I got distracted; a tiny seed of hopelessness pinged into my head from no-where and made my stomach contract. In the presence of love I feel unlovable. The image of ice cream came back. Maybe I was hungry. Food works to drive away hopelessness, at least for a little while.
“Here,” Belle reached off to the side and an ice cream cone appeared in her hand. “Bet this is the best pistachio you’ve ever had.”
I accept what she offers and have to agree, damn good ice cream for sure. Just cold enough but not too cold, creamy but not cloyingly creamy. Far better than the Howard Johnson’s of my youth, even better than the designer label stuff I’d buy when the hopelessness threatened to take over.
“Good stuff, real good. Thanks.” Even the smell of cold felt good. We sat in silence as I lapped at the cone. After the first few licks, the flavor was fading fast, too fast. Far too fast. I suppose I wasn’t surprised.
Suddenly I didn’t want it anymore. The empty spot in me was still empty, and the ice cream began to taste chalky, like ice cream that has thawed and refrozen. The desire for ice cream was gone, poof, and my normal compulsion to eat anything I could get my hands on evaporated.
I glanced around, looking for a trash barrel. That last lick tasted like garbage, or what I imagined garbage to taste like. Belle took the cone from my hand, turned away, and then came back empty handed.
“That was earthly love. Delicious at the beginning, but the flavor does, sadly, fade.” She reached into the air again, bringing out of nowhere another cone. You could see the flavor, you could almost hear the cone.
“This, dear Sarah, is another love.” She handed it to me.
The weight was light, the texture of the cone crisp to the touch, and the smell of the cold…ah, this was a sweetly creamy cold. The freezer we had when I was a child smelled like this; I’d sneak down to the basement where it was kept, would open the lid and literally bathe in the fragrance. I took a tentative lap.
There was color on my tongue, green and sharp like nuts. There was the sound of creaminess that tickled my ears. One lap and I was full, satisfied, sure I needed no more. This was enough. I needed nothing else.
My face must have betrayed what my mouth, tongue and ears were tasting and feeling.
“This is the love of a father for a treasured child, Sarah. This love knows every cell of that child, every thought both good and bad.”
“This is the love of God, Sarah. You are that treasured child.”
When had I started crying? Tears leaked down my cheeks, then jaw, then neck. I hate crying in public. I hate crying in private, for that matter. The flavor in my mouth and ears overwhelmed the saltiness of my tears. The emptiness was filled by that complete flavor, making me feel whole and solid. No chinks of disappointment or shards of anger, no void of loneliness.
I understood on an intellectual level, which should be enough to shut down the water works, but still couldn’t stop: no sobs or moans, just silent tears running down my face. For the first time since I’d woken up, I began to feel pain; the empty spot in my soul had been filled, was whole, solid, but nonetheless there was pain.
Belle sat quietly, not touching me to comfort or console; the sense of her presence was soothing enough.
“I understand but I don’t understand,” I said in a tear-choked voice, my throat thick. “Why am I crying? Why am I in pain?”
“Growing hurts. Realization hurts.” She stood up and glanced down into my wet eyes. “The hurt is the storm in your soul, a storm of loss and doubt.” She reached into an unseen pocket and handed me a handkerchief, a large one suited for a man.
“Sorry, but this is all I have. Just like you, it is more than it appears to be.”
I took the white rectangle, shook it out to its full size, and dabbed at each eye in turn. The handkerchief smelled of starch and ironing.
“If I’m so treasured, why…”
“Because you have to realize that love is of the Father. It is constant, contingent only on whether you will accept it.”
“My dad loved me, I think. I don’t know, I don’t remember.”
“He did, and perhaps the love of the Father is a little like that. But it is more. One is like a grain of sand: part of the beach. The other, the love of the Father, is the entire beach.”
It made sense, sort of. I shook my head to get the remaining threads of misunderstanding shaken out and they fell away, leaving that lovely flavor which colored my thoughts like pearls, made my consciousness shine. Shine, yes that’s it. My soul was shining, finally free of the muck and mire of years of hurt and self-doubt.
I suddenly wanted to run, climb trees, let the light inside me spill out and give everyone the flavor of what I’d found. I jumped to my feet, and Belle put her hand on my arm before I could bolt away.
“You have always wanted it all at once, all the knowledge, all the understanding. Be patient, it will all be revealed, but only revealed a little at a time.”
Belle tugged gently and I moved with her.
“Come on. Let’s get settled first, then we’ll see what’s what.” She indicated a path to the left, and we walked silently from the bench toward a tall, pale building rising into the sky. I made a last swipe of my cheeks with the handkerchief and offered it back to her.
“No, you need to keep that, to remind you that you are loved and lovable.”
Nodding, I followed her toward the tall building, folding the square to fit in my jeans pocket. My first real possession, other than my clothes. A square of finely woven cotton, soaked with my tears. Other possessions didn’t matter.
Well, that catches this journal up until this moment. No, I lied.
Belle led me to and into the building, gliding. We climbed stairs, many flights of stairs. When was the last time I made it up a flight of steps? Didn’t matter. Up we went until we reached a door marked with what appeared to be a series of runes or squiggles. Understanding what they meant seemed to be right on the edge of my consciousness, teasing it.
“Oh, you’ll be able to read, in time. Don’t fret.”
She led me to a wooden door, one of many ranging down the long corridor. It opened without a key, and we stepped in.
Simple, clean lines, but everything was balanced. Just the right number of flowers in a vase on the table. Some books, but not too many. Pictures, just enough but not overwhelming, on the walls that were a curious shade of blue. I could see a door off to one side and a huge window that let in light, enormous light.
Belle reached to a shelf and took a book from the middle of a group.
“Read this tonight. Tomorrow we’ll discuss any questions. I need to be elsewhere right now.”
I took the books, blinked, and she was gone. But I didn’t truly feel alone.