The Second Life
"A Lovelight Story"
By John Pirillo
Her first glimmer of the Other Side happened at the most peculiar of times. It was a bit before noon and she was at the local Wal-Mart, shopping for a birthday card with her mother. Her mom had drifted off into the sympathy cards, for a friend who just lost their father, and she was intent on finding a card, the right card, for her best friend, Andy, whose birthday was three days from then. He was a very peculiar person himself. Always quiet, never outspoken. Polite and kind. But never one to venture out into anything on his own.
She had forged a friendship with him, much like what one does with a pet sometimes, which was not to say he was seen that way, he was just comfortable. Nonthreatening. Most of the boys seemed to be preoccupied with either games or things about the opposite sex...which meant she had to always be looking over her shoulder, because she always got a lot of attention, and unfortunately not always the best.
Some of the boys were from a different country and evidently girls were second class citizens there, because that was how they viewed and acted towards her. Her teacher had caught a couple of them writing on her desk some bad words. Very bad words. It had sent her into tears. She wasn't like that. Why couldn't they see that?
Andy, though, he had seen through the stupidity of it right away. It was the one time in her early life that he had stood up for her. He had waited until after school and confronted the two boys. They laughed in his face. Not a good idea when the other guy is about a foot taller, and fifty pounds heavier. He stomped them into the ground, making them eat soap to wash out their mouths and dirty minds.
When she heard about it, at first she thought he was kidding, but when the Principal called him in and he was suspended, she didn't think it was funny or a joke.
She had caught up with him just as he was boarding the bus they rode together. She hopped on, and they sat down in the back as they usually did and chatted and chatted. But today, he seemed to be chatting about stuff that didn't really matter. As if his mind was not really there with her. He suddenly stopped and gave her a forlorn look.
"Lovelight. Do you believe in life after death?"
She had laughed.
"I'm sorry, Andy. I wasn't laughing at you, just how serious you are. You're too young to be thinking about things like that."
"Yeah." He said, then slumped back in the chair, folded his arms and proceed to ignore me for the next ten minutes of the ride.
Finally, he let go. He turned to her. "I'm going to miss you the most."
She gave him a startled look. He laughed. "Just kidding."
But he wasn't. She could see it in his eyes. But he wouldn't say anything more and she didn't want to pressure him. He'd talk when he felt like it.
That was the day before; today she had gotten up and felt this really strange feeling, as if she was going to fall out of her body. It wouldn't be the first time she'd felt that way. She had fallen out of her body once at a friend's house. An overnight and floated up to the ceiling. She had screamed a long time, but no one heard her. She kept on screaming until she saw her body laying there between Jennifer and Dawn, her eyes closed.
That had shut her up. Then she rotated. She didn't remember how, but she turned and as she did she saw this very bright point of light that expanded into a very beautiful man, standing in the air. He had smiled at her. "We'll meet again." He had promised, and then vanished.
She had then jerked away, feeling as if she had fallen a thousand miles an hour into her body. She sat up, rubbing her face. She was sweating. Maybe she was coming down with something. But she wasn't. And she didn't.
This day was like that. She felt sweaty and light-headed, like she was going to float away into the sky. She hurriedly sat down in the middle of the aisle.
"Lovelight!" Her mother had immediately called to her. She came over and stooped over her. "You all right?"
"No, I feel like I'm going to float away and away and away." She had answered, though she had no recollection of why she had spoken that way at this point in time.
Her mother had reacted quickly, helping her back to her feet and bringing her out quickly to the car. She had driven home quickly, even running a couple stop signs when there was no traffic. She brought Lovelight into the house and upstairs to her bedroom. She helped her get undressed, then into a nightgown. While Lovelight was getting into bed, she hurriedly went downstairs and returned with a steaming bowl of soup and goldfish crackers.
Lovelight had eaten them and felt immediately better. The soup soothed her ravaged nerves. She began to feel less and less giddy.
Her mom kissed her forehead. "Get some rest. I'm come and wake you for dinner, Hun."
Her mom had turned to leave, then turned back again and said. "Whatever happens in life, you know there's always a good reason for it, right?"
"Yes. You've told me about karma a lot."
"Not just karma. But everything. The way the world really is."
"Sometimes things change for the better..."
"Sometimes for the worse." She completed.
Her mother rushed back and hugged her. "You're such a wonderful person, my little soul."
That's when she knew something was going on. Her mother that morning had had a long phone call with someone, and come away from it frowning, her eyes misty. She had looked at Lovelight, but said nothing. Instead she'd gone into the kitchen to prepare breakfast, while Lovelight worked on her math and science homework.
Lovelight gave her mom an extra warm hug. "I love you."
"I love you too, you little rascal." Her mom teased.
She waved back at Lovelight as she left and turned out the light.
Lovelight shut her eyes, but something startled her, causing her to wake up again. Finally, she felt like she might all into sleep when she began hearing this loud buzzing sound in her ears. It grew louder and louder and even through her eyelids it seemed like a light snapped on in the room and became brighter and brighter.
Finally, she couldn't stand it anymore. She sat up. Opened her eyes.
Then wished she hadn't. He was standing there in the light, smiling, and surrounded by a group of his friends. She knew they were friends because they were smiling too, at him and at her. One of them looked familiar, but she couldn't think of who it was at the time.
Andy stood there in a beautiful white garment, kind of like a tux, but with a softer, warmer texture. He waved. "Told you." He said.
She laughed. "Andy, why are you in my bedroom?"
She immediately knew why and it scared the hell out of her. She grabbed the covers and threw them over her head.
"Peek-a-boo." Andy whispered in her ear, and she could see his face peering through the bedclothes.
She threw them off and shrieked.
Andy laughed, but not at her, more like sharing a warm joke with her.
Her friends laid hands on him and he turned away from her to go with them. Into the light that now filled the room.
He stopped and looked back. "It's not so bad. But I'll miss you."
She didn't know why, but suddenly she burst into tears and jumped from bed and ran to try and stop him from leaving. He only smiled and the white light and his body vanished. She slammed into her bedroom closet door and knocked herself onto the floor. She landed hard.
Her mom came running up the stairs and found her weeping into her hands.
"Oh baby." She said, sitting down next to her and cradling her in her arms. "You saw, didn't you?"
"Andy's gone." She managed to finally stutter.
"Yes. He's gone."
She looked into her mother's face. "You knew already."
"But why didn't you tell me?"
"Andy had told her mom not to tell you. That you would find out another way. A better way."
Lovelight threw her arms around her mother and cried more. "I'm going to miss him so much."
"I know. I know. I know."
They stayed like that for a long time.
Finally, her mom helped her to get back onto her feet and into bed. This time she closed her eyes and went to sleep.
As she slept Andy appeared in her dream, wearing the same white outfit. He stood next to a tall man. Finally, Lovelight recognized the man. "You're Andy's grandfather. But you don't look over twenty five."
He just smiled.
Andy came to her and gave her a long, warm hug, then let her go.
"We'll meet again. I promise."
Then she woke up to the smell of fried chicken.
She threw on her robe, ran down the stairs and landed in the kitchen chair by the window she always sat at. Outside the window the sparrow mom who had built a nest in the tree there looked in at her and then began to sing.
Lovelight didn't know why, but she felt like singing too.
That was when she'd realized that life had a deeper meaning. Not one she'd learned from her mom, or from books, but from her own insight and experience. There was no end to life. Only beginnings. She knew that now because she had seen Andy's Second life, and she knew that everyone had at least that much more. So why not an endless number of lives. Why not?
Then she dug into her mashed potatoes and ate a drumstick, and she and her mom had a nice talk about the latest Star Wars movie.