As I sit my front porch, I can hear my neighbor Ralph mowing his lawn, the slice of the blades rotating across the bar, scrish scrish scrish scrish scrish scrish as he pushes the mower forward, stopping now and again to empty the basket. The smell of fresh cut grass is sweet. I look down the street. Not many lawns. Most of us, Bios and Zoës alike, garden our little footholds on the Earth. I raise flowers in mine, a memorial to Wayne in a way. I took some bulbs and cuttings from his place to remember him by.
I have a job to do and I am not sure where to begin, so I sit on my porch gathering my thoughts and energies, listening to Ralph, who just arrived a few years ago. It’s early summer. The breeze is warm, southerly. A boy bicycles an ice cream cart, bells attached so they ring as boy and cart bounce down my street. Finding no customers, he turns at the corner, passing the letter carrier on her way up my street. Today is a delicious day. Much better to sit on my porch and ponder than scour back issues at the The 1920 Sentinel or records in the basement of the Resurrectorium or the New Harmony town Hall, or search for records in what’s left of New Chennai.
It’s the clouds, puffy and white with flat bottoms, floating above the front warming Region 1920, that bring me back to why I’m here. The clouds remind me that there are no contrails in the sky. The silent flying machines of Region 2021 leave no trails in the sky, and they rarely visit here. This isn’t my front porch on Broad Street. This isn’t the home I shared with Reese, the one where we lived out our old age until I died, crushing him so badly he carried the pain into his resurrection. This home, our home, isn’t in the same world, if by world you take its meaning as the societies and institutions of human of life. That world was swept away.
Things have settled down now in Region 1920, and the Lord has asked me to look into the Rebellion. They never called it that. They thought they were revolutionaries in the best sense of the word, but rebellion is what it was. A coupe by any other name, you see. I’ve been trying to figure out where to begin. I could begin with Reese, I suppose, but that’s tricky because Reese is mine and I’m his. It’ll be hard to untangle that knot. But when it started, we were separated by the fact the Lord had told me not to reveal to Reese who I was. I see now why he ordered that. I didn’t at the time.
I’m having a hard time moving forward with this. It involves exposing a lot of personal feelings — not only mine but everyone involved in the rebellion, maybe even some who weren’t, just to give a full picture of things at the time. There are things that we recall in pieces that we experience as a whole, but sometimes the only way to know them is to look at the pieces. The device 2021 gave me, a sort of tablet, means I really don’t need to go into the basement of the Resurrectorium. The tablet holds all the individual journals and court documents of the time. But I’ll probably spend a lot of time down there, handling the papers instead of pulling things up on this tiny screen. Maybe that’s why I belong in Region 1920. One thing this device can give me that isn’t in the basement is access to some of Jesus’ own observations at the time. I’d love to know how they pulled that one off. It makes the other tech they have seem puny.
Since I’ve been charged with this task, I ought to start with a bit about myself, Helen Amber. I’m Zoë — immortal by the grace of God. Reese was resurrected with the same Bios life he had before he died, and he didn’t recognize me when he woke up. That’s where I think I’ll begin. I’ll include a few other First Day journals because it will give me some perspective on Reese’s resurrection. As for others, Asher’s part in the Rebellion really only took off after Casiel unmade Reese. Wayne came into the picture earlier, but his direction changed —always interesting when compiling a history. And dear Zelda. When I think of her, I sometimes think who the Lord resurrects as Zoë, and who as Bios, is as much strategic as it is how they lived in the world that was.
Not everyone who lives through a revolution is part of the revolution. Some people, like Sarah, live on the sidelines of current events, swept up in more important matters, like love and loss, joy and pain. As an anchor, if you will, a footing in timeless human nature, I think I should include journals from Sarah, and maybe her Zoë Belle. Then there’s Sam, whose son chose to be resurrected with Down’s Syndrome. Sam and his stable kept coming into the picture.
“Start anywhere,” Jesus said when he handed this assignment to me. “It’s your story, not mine.” But he was part of it, all through it in a way since this world is his. It’s like a puzzle I’ve been told to solve. A four hundred year old puzzle.
On the next block I hear Sarah’s dogs barking. She’s come home from the florist where she works. Reese will be home from the Sentinel soon. For the next few months, I’ll be deep into the past, but I think at last I know how to proceed. I’m going to prepare supper. It’s been months since Reese and I ate a meal, and I feel like celebrating.