Day 98: Sarah Finds Truth and Someone Else Who She Had Been Missing
I know Belle is around; I see flashes of her out of the corner of my eye. It’s comforting, knowing she’s somewhere near but discomforting that she hasn’t come face to face with me. Puzzling.
The last almost month has whizzed by, punctuated by casually running into Guy here and there. No, nothing casual about it. We know each other’s routines and deliberately place ourselves to “casually” be in the same place at the same time.
At first I looked forward to these encounters like an addict looks forward to his next fix. Yeah, that’s it. Seeing Guy was an addiction, gave me a jolt of happiness. No, the happiness was the addiction and Guy was the trigger.
I decided that the negative connotations associated with addiction and applied to my friendship with Guy are complete bullshit. One doesn’t become addicted to something essential to one’s health and well-being, like breathing. I came to accept that Guy was part of my existence here and knew that I was part of his.
My daily routine hasn’t changed much; I walk Ed and Beabea in the morning, go to work at the florist, meet Guy for lunch most days, then go home and do some freelance secretarial work or maybe some editing or writing. I walk the dogs again in the evening and usually run into Guy again, well, at least sometimes. We have a quick dinner somewhere, he walks me home, then I read until the wee hours and the cycle begins again. It’s not boring, not really. It’s a comfort knowing just what will happen and when, at least within reason.
Neither of us has made any declarations of love or some other attachment; we don’t need to. It is what it is. I know he likes my company, he knows I like his. We occasionally hold hands or he puts his arm around me while we sit and read or listen to the musicians who pop up here and there around town. Oh, there’s the occasional hug and bumping against each other when we laugh at something, but the agonizing sexuality is absent, the shame of giving myself physically in order to feel wanted.
It’s all casual and easy, no despair or driving need to be something or be somewhere. I do occasionally feel a niggle at the back of my brain that something is missing or should be different, but for some reason it’s always shrouded in fog, closed away from view behind a mental door.
Frankly, I don’t want to open that door. Oh, I can see Guy on the sidewalk, turning the corner with Justice lumbering along by his side. Must be time for evening walkies.
Well, that was awkward. We walked our hounds around the park as usual but Guy was incredibly silent. OK, he doesn’t chatter away normally, but tonight he was markedly quiet. I tried to fill in the silence with non-essentials at first; it was obvious that I was talking to air so I stopped talking entirely. We walked in silence to the drugstore for our traditional evening burger.
He didn’t finish his and instead fed it to his Newfie. What I could eat of my cheeseburger sat in my stomach daring me to digest it. Even the dogs were jumpy; they must have read our body language, and it confused them.
Again in silence he walked me home, Beabea dancing round Justice and Ed. Nothing stops that little goofball.
At my door, Guy took my hand and looked into my face; the sadness or maybe it was longing poured out of him and washed over me.
“Something is coming, Sarah. I don’t understand it, I don’t know what it is, but something is going to grab us and throw us on the ground, make everything hurt.”
I was really frightened, not so much at what was coming but at how profoundly it was affecting him. He patted my hand, then touched my cheek, telling me just how important I was in his life. He said that the change would turn both of us completely around.
I don’t want this to change. I don’t want any change, I just want to go along peacefully, seeing him and walking my dogs.
After he left, the dogs and went inside feeling tired in body and soul. Beabea and Ed found their accustomed sleeping spots, turned around a couple of times and then laid themselves down. Again, I wish I could get some alcohol to numb my brain. Well, anyway, all good things must come to an end sometime, even here after resurrection. Immediately following my morose musings, Belle suddenly appeared right in front of me, not at the corner of my eye.
“How are you feeling right now, Sarah?”
“Confused, sad. I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you. I have something to tell you.”
She went on, saying that she had been watching over me but that she was troubled about our connection, so she stayed away. Something was hanging over her and me, for that matter. It felt almost like a thunderstorm in the distance, threatening but not definite. Frightening.
“Who are you, Sarah? Do you feel loved?”
“By who? Sure, I feel loved.” It suddenly hit me in the gut; I am loved. My dogs love me, as much as dogs can, and I am pretty sure Guy loves me. Loves me in a solid, comfortable, unthreatening way just as I love him.
I love him. I can actually write that and believe in it. I’m literally inundated with the streaming of love around me, and that concept astounds me.
“Who am I, Sarah?” She is sadder than I’ve ever seen her be. I tell her that she’s a Zoe, my guardian Zoe, and that I value her.
“Do you? Do you really, Sarah?”
“Yes, of course I do. I’ve missed you these past few months, truly I have.”
“I’m not who you think I am, Sarah,” she said to me. “I was/am someone you knew in the old world.”
I sat down heavily on my bed. I knew she was familiar but thought it was simply the familiarity of a Bios for a Zoe, totally normal, if you can call our roles in the Hereafter as normal.
“Who, Belle? Who are you?” I suddenly thought that maybe she was my mother, but in my heart knew that couldn’t be. I knew she was someone important; her importance was real but I didn’t know exactly what it was. It felt like something was ripping that beautiful cloak of love away, exposing me to the burning sun without any protection.
I’d never seen a Zoe weep, but tears came down her cheeks with a whisper of aching sadness. Her eyes seemed to get huge, slicked with tears, familiar in a way.
“You would have called me Ruthie.”
The heat of my fear evaporated; cold water flooded me, washed over me. The air stopped in my lungs, my feet and hands went numb. I thought I was passing out; my heart beat hard a couple of times and then seemed to stop.
The world stopped. Time stopped. All was nothingness, and the door in my soul flew open, splintered and disappeared in smoke.
A baby’s smell, warm, sweet, mixed with the copper tang of blood. The empty impression of something in my arms that wasn’t there. A gaping hole I’d hidden away that now demanded to be noticed. The sorrow all came back, running over me, pushing me to the floor.
My daughter whose face I never saw and whose breath I never felt on my cheek. Ruthie. After a while I had begun to doubt that she had ever existed and I denied ever being pregnant, finally believing it myself, at least consciously. A dead child does that when you don’t want to remember, can’t let yourself remember. A part of you becomes unavailable and you forget it ever existed in order to keep your sanity. Or at least that’s what I’d done until that minute.
Belle put her hand on my shoulder, and it seemed solid. A sharp shred of electricity shot from my shoulder to my heart, made my head detach. I could see that her hand was like mine, her eyes the same color as mine.
“Please talk to me, Sarah.” She tried to help me to my feet, but my legs wouldn’t work.
Decades of loss and pain stopped my mouth from words. My insides felt ripped out, but I had to pull something out and say it.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry. So sorry.” The last word seemed to echo in the room and return to pound into my head.
“God has forgiven you, Sarah. He knows that you thought you were following the only course you could think of. He is sad that it came to this, but He understands.”
“But do you forgive me, Belle?” In the selfish ignorance of my youth I did something that poisoned me for the rest of my life. I knew it, she knew it, and of course He knew it. I was a murderer, had taken her life before birth because I was selfish.
“I will when you do.”
I know it will be an eternity before I forgive myself.