I remember the light bouncing off of the crystal hanging from the rearview mirror. It split into a million tiny flashes and then the darkness took over. But there they were; the flashes on the inside of my eyelids. That was when I slipped away from all that I knew into another eternity.
Never in a million years would I have thought that my life would be ended by something as simple as crossing the street. Especially since I was always the safety-obsessed one. Maybe it was God's way of being ironic. Or maybe I'm just stupid. Either way, it led me towards "the light."
But "the light" doesn't even exist. It's just a myth, nothing more There's no blindingly-bright light, no staircase of clouds and no soft voice coaxing you forth. Maybe that's why I didn't think I was dead - I didn't see the light.
I also didn't see my life flashing before my eyes. I'd always heard - and read, and seen - that your entire life flashes in front of you right before you die. But I got none of it. Instead, I got one thing, one moment. Because, when you die, you are left with the last thing you saw and it stretches on for an eternity, flashing back to you whenever you try to think about dying. And, amidst the one image that you are granted, there is a peaceful tingling that washes over you. It's soft, almost like when your hand falls asleep. This is what lulls you from life into death.
And, aided by the tingling and the sparkling, there I was in heaven.
Heaven is nothing like I could've ever imagine. It's nothing like anyone could've imagined. I'd read books and seen movies that claimed heaven was one way, but it was so much simpler and so much more innocent than that. It was almost childlike.
Everything in heaven is white, people got that part right. And there's a bed of clouds underfoot. Your feet sink in a bit but it's nothing to be alarmed about; you won't fall through, even though some people might want such a way back.
It isn't empty. It looks empty but it's not. You can see on forever in every direction without a single object blocking your view. But everything's just hidden to you, like it is to everyone else. If you walk on in any direction, you'll come across things that you couldn't see before. Everyone has their own little cubicle of sorts, and everyone can see out but, unless you get close, you can't see in. Up close, you can see into their little worlds. Mostly you see them sitting there, their clothing shocks of color on white beds or white arm chairs, amongst white pillows and white teddy bears. White, white, white. Everything is white.
But looks can be deceiving.
Look closer again and it's not just white. Everything is stitched in silver. It catches the light and sparkles out from between the blocks of pale satin. It's there, it just has to be found, like a needle in a haystack.
There are flowers everywhere too. And they're all white. Even the flowers that don't normally come in white are white in heaven. But the difference between the white lilies and orchids and irises and posies in heaven and the ones on earth is that the rims and the undersides of all of the flower petals are silver, as if they've been brushed in silver leaf.
There is an amazing beauty in heaven. But the beauty and the purity seem to fade after a while and you're left with a void. Unhappiness in heaven seemed like nothing more than a contradiction, only it wasn't. Maybe heaven's supposed to be perfect but it's easy to detest. Despite the loveliness, it really is hard to adore. Being ripped away from your world is bad enough but it's not the worst part. The worst part about heaven is that you can see your life. Everything is there below you, slowly moving on despite your absence. And you're close enough that it seems like you could just reach out and touch your old reality. But you can't. That's what kills me – no pun intended.
Being thrust so suddenly into heaven left a very bitter taste in my mouth. And, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't like my new surroundings. My instant death hadn't allowed me the proper time for goodbye and, without goodbye, heaven is stripped of its appeal. So, one moment, I was walking down Hawthorne, so happy for the sudden streak of February sun. And, the next moment, I was standing on a cloud, looking down. There were people crowded all around me and there was blood on my clothes. In only a moment, my entire life had literally been taken from me. It wasn't hard for me to harbor a lot of anger.
Days passed without me moving from where I sat, watching my world. I perched myself on a white satin pillow and watched. My family crumbled a bit and my friends cried. There were grief counselors at my school and more people than I would've expected went, though quite a few people used me as an excuse to get out of class. There were services held for me too. My best friend even sang "Candle in the Wind" at my funeral. Mandy's song made me smile; she had a beautiful voice. My little sister dropped pink roses on my casket while she cried. Pink roses were my favorite flowers, something only my sister had known.
It didn't take long for things to slip back into normalcy. My friends started going back to school again, the cards and casseroles being sent to my family slowed, my mother got out of bed.
Ariel is who I missed the most. She was only 9 and we were close. Well, as close as a 16-year old and a 9-year old could be. I loved Ariel so much but I'd never really told her. I regretted it but I know that Ariel knew I loved her. What hurt me the most about watching my baby sister was the flowers.
At my funeral, Ariel put pink roses on my casket. And, for months afterwards, Ariel spent her allowance and all the money she had saved in a Converse box under her bed on pink roses. Whenever she saw a flower shop or a flower cart, she'd buy a pink rose. And, every time she did, my heart would break.
It took about six months before anything at all interesting happened to me in heaven. I kept to myself mostly, so the time passed slowly. Sometimes, someone would cross my path but I never paid much attention. It seemed to me that befriending these people would be an attempt at replacing my old friends. This was the last thing I wanted.
I didn't need conversation, though. I'd never been overly social so I did alright on my own. My time was spent watching my old world or sketching with oil pastels. I was in love with sketching and oil pastels were wonderful. A lot of things from my life were carried over into heaven but my oil pastels and my paper were the only things I clung to. Those, somehow, made it like I was back in my room.
I was crying one day and cursing death, after seeing Ariel spend the remaining contents of her Converse box on another rose. The tears were slipping off of my face and dropping onto the satin comforter that I was sitting on, leaving silver spots on the satin that disappeared when the tears dried.
"How can you cry?" a soft voice asked. "It's too nice here to cry."
To say I was startled would be a massive understatement. But I regained myself and, after wiping the tears off of my cheeks, I turned around to see who had spoken. And then I was even more surprised.
"I've never seen you before," he said with a polite smile, taking a step towards me. "I'm Dominic."
I was so taken aback by him that I couldn't say anything. He was the first boy my age that I'd come across in heaven but that wasn't what had me so startled by him. He was beautiful. He was very tall with dark brown hair – about the same color as espresso, I'd guess – and these striking ice blue eyes that, as he titled his head to side while he looked at me, almost looked like they were flecked with silver. It was his eyes that got to me. And he was wearing a shirt and tie. His pants and his shirt were white and his tie was shinny white silk. There was something odd about this boy, I could sense it. Too bad I couldn't figure out what it was.
"Not a talker," he noted.
"Oh. Sorry. I'm Trinity," I mumbled, feeling so stupid for not talking.
"Trinity?" He looked confused, like he couldn't figure out why my parents had named me something so weird. And I couldn't explain I to him, even if I really wanted to. It was information that I'd never been able to get from my parents.
"Yeah, I know, it's dumb."
He shrugged. "I've just never heard that name before."
I couldn't figure out why he'd never heard my name before. It wasn't terribly common but people did use it. It was possible that he'd been in heaven too long to ever have heard it but that didn't seem possible. He looked newer. His clothes made him look like he hadn't been there long.
"It's not very common," I said finally. But now I was curious about him and I had to learn more.
"Have you been here long?" he asked, before I could even think of anything to ask him.
The question garnered a sigh from me. It had been 91 pink roses. But I couldn't say that; he would never understand. So I simply said, "A few months. What about you?"
He let out an amused laugh. "Forever."
"I know the feeling."
"No," he said sternly, his eyes positively glowing. "I mean it."
I didn't reply because there wasn't much I could say. Maybe it felt like he'd been there forever but sometimes seconds seem to drag on for years. Him being there forever was impossible, that much I knew for sure. No one had been in heaven forever. Except maybe God and, even then, I didn't know whether or not He was even there. There were people who'd been there for a very, very long time – some for hundreds of years, even (this I knew from the few times I'd spoken to anyone). This boy, however, didn't seem to have been there for hundreds of years.
I looked back at him and saw that he was smiling. "Yeah?"
"How'd you end up here?" he asked curiously.
"I got hit by a car," I said too quickly. And it hurt to say; I'd never said it out loud before and, right then, I decided that I never wanted to say it out loud again. "I was crossing the street and someone came around the corner and they didn't see me."
He flinched, as if he could feel the impact of the car like I could just then. "Did it hurt?"
"Not really." It was true, I guess. It had hurt more afterwards, thinking about it. That's one of the good things about death: you don't feel it happening. It's all lifted away. "Why are you, uh, how did you get here?"
"Oh, I'm not dead."
I furrowed my brow in confusion. "What? Then why are you here?"
His smile was wider now. "You'll never believe it."
Author's Note: This is the first chapter of this story. I'm sure you've read it before but it's still be tweaked. I'm going through right now and editing things - taking out, adding in, fixing grammar. All that stuff. Let me know if anything needs work or if you see any errors. Thanks! And be on the look out for the next part. .:Shards:.