Just got home from the resurrectorium. The one for 1920. Woke up there because I was dead again. Angels can do that very easily. It seems I went too far, far enough that Amber says she was deemed “incapable on her own” of making it clear to me I had transgressed. So her angel, Casiel, came in person. You know how in the Bible the angels always say, “fear not” when they first appear to someone? There’s good reason for that. I got the full-on Ezekiel treatment and then some because the angel wasn’t asked to dial it back to keep me alive. I saw a vaguely human shape approaching me from a great distance and speed. As it got closer I realized it was hundreds of feet high. The thing was impossible to see whole. The face had eyes suddenly appearing where the mouth should be then that mouth becoming the beak of a raptor. Hands became wings that became lamps. The feet, when they could be seen, extended into the far distance then became clawed paws then human feet then disappeared again. And motion! All of it in motion everywhere changing moment to moment as I struggled to look at it and failed. I was a pebble at the foot of a mountain. My mind rebelled against looking at it. I got vertigo seeing it. Its foot approached me, toes or claws I could no longer tell, then it stepped on me, a snowflake ground beneath a glacier. I felt my body crushed into an impossibly small space, folded, flattened into a dimension lower than ours, squeezed until there was no room for breath, no room for thought.
Then I was somewhere else. I had no body, and I remembered being there before, and the thought entered my head “yes, you were here before, and judged not ready.” When I heard that I felt crushed. Deformed. I felt dirty. Naked in a shameful way. “Go back. Listen to her.” I remember thinking “I’ll try,” but without much conviction. Not that I didn’t want to, but that I wouldn’t be able to. Yet.
Helen, when I woke up and opened my eyes for a moment I could swear it was you sitting there. Something about Amber’s smile just then. She was so glad to have me back, she said that with her smile, your smile.
I’ve been wrong about her. She’s not my jailor, not my guard. I’ve been treating her like that, and I could see at times that it hurt. I don’t want to do that again. How can I justify hurting her trying to find you? What kind of guy would that make me? Why would you trust me to love you if I treated someone, anyone, that badly? If I were in a real prison, if she really were some Orwellian Big Sister, maybe then I could ignore what it does to her when I pretend she’s not there, or pretend she doesn’t have feelings.
I used to think she didn’t have feelings, that Zoës are different from us. In some ways, they’re never entirely here. I suppose part of them is always in Heaven. I thought that meant she didn’t want to be here. Part of her doesn’t, that’s clear. But it’s equally clear now part of her wants to be here, and even more surprising, be with me.
That, too, reminds me of you.
We talked when I woke up. She knew about the angel, of course. That’s when she told me about being told by her boss, some Zoë named Michael, “incapable on her own” of keeping me in line. Between not wanting to hurt her feelings and not wanting to get her into any more trouble, I can’t venture to leave the region again. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’m going to have to wait until you come to me.
That reminds me of the old me — waiting on you to make the first move. Sorry if I’m repeating an old pattern from when we were together.