I feel like I’ve been puttering about. Nesting, almost. It’s starting to bug me. I cleaned the house like I’m expecting you to show up any day now. As if my reward for being a good boy is that they’ll finally let you come to me, however they arrange it. For a while, the hope blazed brightly enough to get me out of the house and even get me looking for work again. And yes, I did get another job. I got assigned one, actually.
Back home, in the world that used to be, pulling a stunt like I did would have had other repercussions. Like being found out to have been a criminal, I’d have been shunned. No shunning here. No one brings it up. No one looks sideways at me. Half the town is out there undoing my screw up, but people are as nice as ever, like nothing ever happened, like there wasn’t a mile-wide crater just outside of town. Of course no one was hurt. I think Casiel saw to that. But a cornfield and a rail line didn’t concern him. So as blamelessly as if it were a meteor and not a strike from Angel B52, the good citizens of Region 1920 organized a work party to put it all together again. They never made me feel like it was a form of community service. One of the guys, Eddy, has taken to calling me Meteor Man, because, he says “it took an angel falling like a meteor to stop you.”
So my new job, fittingly enough, is with the crew working to fill in the crater the angel left after it unmade me. Not that they trust me with heavy equipment. I can see that. ‘Hey, lets put the guy who caused this on a front end loader.’ In case you wonder, in a world with plenty of supernatural events, including air strikes by Heaven’s angels, why is the hole in the ground the responsibility of the Bios to fix? Why not just wave an angelic wand and ‘presto!’ no hole? Because that would be cheating, since it was a Bios who drew angelic wrath on the wheat field in the first place.
I get my hands and feet and everything else dirty each day shoveling earth back into the crater. Next, we’ll begin reseeding it. Another crew has temporarily run the rail line around the crater. Each day, working under the warm sun, I stop to watch a gorgeous locomotive engine of brass and red enamel go steaming by pulling wood-sided cars with decorative arched windows — and me standing in a field Van Gogh should be painting, wanting so much to get on the train, because you could be waiting at the next stop. And then the warm sun cools my temper. A child laughing as it delivers a drink to someone stills my anger. The common meal we share each day satisfies my hunger to search for you. I know something in me has changed. All I can do is wait for you here.
You’re near me, Helen. I can feel you at times. Something happens and I am about to turn to you and remark on it, and instead of twisting up because you are not there, I sigh. Sometimes I turn and Amber is there and I speak to her as if she was you, and she smiles and for a moment, she is you. One day, I will turn and you will be there. Not a sigh. Not Amber. You. I know it now. Call it faith for want of a better word.