Two teens have a paranormal experience that will change their lives forever. Romance and adventure in the unknown. "Kiernan and Angel."
What is romance? What is true love? How can knowing what is on the other side make such a big difference in our lives? Does romance cross the divide of the living and the dead?
Without further ado, here is the third of the stories in my paranormal romance stories:
Kiernan and Angel
Angel first met Kiernan when she was five. They were on the slides at Marywood Park, a small new spread of playground toys, and shrubbery overlooking the Bay. As a kid she never really noticed the Bay much, except to note that it was an awful lot of "wahwah" as she would often tell her Mom, when she pointed to it. Kiernan was two years older than her at the time, and big enough to push her on the swings, which he did after she slid down the curly slide and landed on top of him the first day they met.
He'd rolled over laughing, and tossed sand at her. She tossed it back. He tossed it back. In moments they were both half buried in sand and the other kids waiting to slide began yelling at them to move or crying. Some parents came over and gently moved them away. Their parents. They were both single. Juliet Stiles was her mother. Henry Moorehead was Kiernan's father. It was a strange thing for them to meet that way, but both were quite shy, so nothing much came of it at the time. They just smiled at each other, said goodbye and took her and Kiernan back to their respective benches where they scrubbed us clean with moist towels, or by hanging us upside down to dump any loose sand in our clothing.
She remembered Kiernan giggling like a madman as Julie tickled him while holding him upside down over her shoulder, him kicking and screaming with pleasure. She didn't laugh much then, or later. She was still sad about her Mom going away. That's all she could understand at the time. After all, she was only a bit over a year old, heading towards two.
She just remembered this warm body that would cozy up to her at night and tell her funny and strange tales about beings that lived on other worlds and would come to earth to make people think and be happy. She called them Angels, just like she named her baby, her, Angel.
It wasn't until about ten years later when she was approaching twelve that she ran into Kiernan again. He was the class nerd. Two grades ahead, one year to go. She was an early bird. Smarter than most and probably going to skip most of high school and go straight to high school. It was the gift her genius father had left for her...an I.Q. that caused eyebrows to rise when they heard it. She didn't care much about what anyone thought about it, or her I.Q. She was interested in only one thing. One day proving that there was life after death and building a machine that would broach the dimensions between mortal man and immortal man so she could see her Dad again.
She had become so obsessed with science and math that she hardly even looked at boys, except when they stuck their faces in front of her and waved their hands, as if she couldn't see them. Which, no shame to them, she couldn't. Her mind was always busy, busy, and busy. She came up with a thousand and one ways to do it. To make the transition machine. Or the Angel Bridge she named it.
She remembered how excited she'd been when she'd run home from school that Monday and shown her mother her design for the Angel Bridge. Her mother had done all the right things, smiled, nodded, said "Yes, Honey, great idea." Then she'd returned to ironing the clothes. She'd put down the artwork and chipped in to get everything done. She wasn't a typical genius who ignored everything but what she was obsessed with. She had a sense of determination, purpose and resolve that also included an open door to taking care of the daily routines expected of a child of her age.
Anyway, she'd become so driven about her project that she had hurried from the library on day, her work in her hands, when she'd collided head on into a young teen backing away from his locker with an armful of books and folders. He went flying one way and her the other. He spilled everything on the floor and she as well. But the first thing he did was not to make fun of her, or to get mad, but instead to say. "Sorry. I'm such a butt!"
He helped her pick up her work, then without another word or expectation of thanks; he went about gathering his own paperwork, folders and books. It was a good time it was lunch time or it would have been a far worse disaster. Finished, he closed his locker and turned to leave. But she was still standing there where he had left her.
She clumsily reached out a hand, managing not to tumble all her work to the floor again in the process. "Thanks!"
He awkwardly took her hand. "I'm Kiernan."
She dropped all her stuff again.
He gave her a blank stare, and then hurriedly began helping her again after setting his own stuff down on the floor. She dropped to the floor and helped him, then broke into laughter. "I'm Angel. The baby that dropped on you at the park."
He frowned, finished helping her, gathered his stuff, and then got up. "Gotta get to class. Nice bumping into you, Angel." He said the bumping part with a big grin, and then hurried off.
Angel noticed he had forgotten something on the floor. She hurriedly scooped it up, and then stuck it into her jeans pocket. She stared after him a long time, until the bell rang, and the kids spilled from the classes for second lunch and the others came pouring back from the cafeteria. She stood there until the next bell and was late for her class, but her teacher didn't notice, she was too busy picking up broken pencils that the rowdy boys had been tossing about the room.
The rest of the day went swiftly. She rushed home to tell her Mom who she had met. Her Mom listened quietly, her face looking strained as she listened. Finally, she'd gotten up and went into her bedroom, after giving Angel a kiss. Angel heard crying coming from the bedroom. What an ass she'd been, she thought to herself. I just reminded her of Daddy. She even felt a little down herself at that moment, but briefly. She worried more about her Mom, who refused to date anyone since the tragic death of her husband.
Angel was dumping the pockets of her jeans to clean them when she saw the piece of paper Kiernan had dropped. She read it. It had an address on it. His address. Wham! Teenage bells began ringing as a plan began to shape in her brilliant mind. No Angel Bridge this time, but something maybe just as good.
Next morning she got up earlier than usual and faked an invitation to a picnic. She stuck it in an envelope, and then mailed it to herself with another address on the envelope to indicate the sender. It was the name of Kiernan. She made a second envelope and addressed it to Kiernan. She mailed both of them on the way to school, smiling the rest of the day after she had mailed it.
That same day she suddenly got worried. What if? So she had carefully done some sleuthing and found out some details about Kiernan's home life. When she got what she wanted, she almost fainted with relief, because her impetuous invitations might have ignited something really nasty otherwise.
Two days later, and on a Friday. She got the letter and ran upstairs excitedly to see her Mom, who was working on an internet website for the company she worked for...Ignatius, Deplorum. A kind of wacky group of nerds who made their living doing crazy designs for personal and commercial use.
"Mom, I just got an invitation to a picnic. Can I go?"
Her Mom read it and smiled. "I don't know."
"Pulleaseeee!" She begged.
Her Mom's face ignited with a big smile. "I don't really have to work then. Okay. We'll do it. Do you have their phone number?"
"No, but I already told Kiernan we were coming."
Her Mom broke into laughter. "You're such a brat some times." Then she snatched
Angel to her and gave her a long hug. "Love you."
Angel wrapped her arms about her Mom and rode the tide of happiness streaming from her and her Mom. Maybe it she hadn't done such a dumb thing after all.
The trolley stopped near the street they lived on and she and her Mom got on. A very nice looking gentleman greeting them. "I'm Mister Corday and I'll be your conductor to the Rose Park."
Her Mom thanked him and they both went to the back of the trolley, adjusting their picnic baskets they had brought to fit comfortably at their feet. Neither said much as the trolley rattled up the hill, occasionally stopping to pick up other passengers, or to let them off. Finally, they reached the top.
"End of the Line." Mister Corday announced on the trolley speaker system.
They both thanked him as they got off. He gave them a smile and said. "I've heard nothing but good things happen in that park."
His Mom gave him a startled look. "Park?"
"Rose Park, Madam. You are going there, are you not?"
"Yes, but how...?
He gave us both a wink as he shut the doors. "Let's just say a little angel told me."
We both watched the trolley turn around and head back down the hill.
Her Mom quickly forgot about the man and we headed towards the road that led into the park. We found the entrance and there about halfway down was a man and Kiernan. Kiernan saw her and waved briskly. He came running up the levels. Breathless, he stopped before Mom and smiled. He put his hand out. "I'm so glad you could come."
"Why thank you, do I know you?" Her Mom asked, perhaps recognizing him a bit.
He didn't hear her question, because his father had finally caught up with him. He interjected himself between Kiernan and her Mom. "I'm Kiernan's father. Henry."
"Oh my God. Déjà Vu!" Juliet cried out. "You're the father of the boy my daughter fell on when she was a baby."
"Guilty as charged." He grinned.
For a brief second the entire rose garden lit up and Angel and Kiernan gave each other startled glances. They had both seen it, but their parents had not. The roses had lit up like miniature suns for a moment, so bright their eyes hurt.
For some reason their parents hadn't seen a thing. Their eyes couldn't leave each other as they descended to where the picnic was planned, both totally forgetting about their son and daughter as they talked, and laughed.
Kiernan fell turned to Angel. "You're good!"
"What do you mean?" She asked. She suddenly realized he might have caught onto what she'd done. Neither her Mom nor his Dad had asked about who sent the letters. Both assumed it was from each other. She could be in deep, deeep trouble. Suddenly, she didn't feel like a genius anymore.
He pointed to their parents. "I haven't seen Dad this happy since Mom..."
He stopped, choking on the last word.
Angel touched his arm and smiled into his face. "Ditto."
She turned and he turned to watch their parents sit down and continue talking on the nicely spread picnic blanket.
As they talked he could see his mother standing in white light behind his father, and she could see her father in white light standing behind her mother. The ghostly figures turned to look at each other, smiling, and then they looked up the layers of roses towards the children.
Kiernan and Angel both broke into tears when the ghostly parents smiled, then waved goodbye and vanished in a tunnel of white light that whisked them away.
Henry and Juliet got married six months later after many happy days of meetings in the Rose Park. As to Angel she and Kiernan became best friends and he even gave her ideas for her Angel Bridge, but somehow that project slid further and further into the back of her mind as time passed by. For hadn't she already created her Angel Bridge. As she and Kiernan watched Henry and Juliet kiss gently, she knew she had built her Angel Bridge and it had worked. Perfectly.
Plume, "Adventures of Love," By John Pirillo. She had two weeks to live, but she had a garden of roses and love to last her a lifetime.
Adventures in the Rose Garden
By John Pirillo
The Rose Garden is a special place. I still remember it from before. Elevated along the tiered slope of a massive hill, it was layer after layer of roses that grew endlessly for miles...or what seemed like miles. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. Orange. Purple. Violet. White. Black. You name it. They were all there and a thousand variations, hybrids of roses that had been specially cultivated to exhibit a certain look.
Some were grown to have black tips, some red, and some orange. Some had feather tips that stretched their petals outwards like a tongue thick at the base and tapering at the tip. Some had hats upon their crown, filled with fluffy colors. Some were brassy looking. Bright copper colors that shone in the morning sun, and glowed at night.
It was a special place. The Rose Garden. It was there I found peace of mind. There I found....romance.
Plume was a silly girl. No one knew why exactly in retrospect, but at the time it seemed to be the right way to look at her. She was all colors and soft things, dolls and sweets. A teen of sixteen she was reaching the blossoming of adulthood in all its glory...and some might say, misery. But not Plume. Eva May Desiree was her real name. But Plume was her given name. In the Rose Garden. It named her, as it named all who entered its rich, scented atmosphere.
The Rose Garden is like a piece of heaven detached and planted on earth to give those who have aching hearts or lonely hearts a chance to thrive, to be nourished and uplifted. To find real love, or true love.
Plume got up that morning in her small apartment, slipped from her cotton sheets onto the hardwood floor of the three bedrooms flat that overlooked the San Francisco Bay. It was an ordinary day after an ordinary night. Not because it was dull and dreary, but because it was just another beautiful day in a great city. A city of lights, hope and dreams.
She slippered her feet with moccasins of tender pink and orange, then looked out her bay window. She opened the windows with the side levers on both sides, until she could fill her lungs with the fresh taste of the tangy salt air blowing in from the bay. She could see the long lines of cars and trucks, all colors of the rainbow, marching back and forth on the distant Golden Gate. She imagined herself in one of those cards, or perhaps seated on the front seat alongside one of the husky drivers who rammed their trucks through city after city to deliver exotic goods and products that everyone needed, such as bread, gas, bathroom products, and Wal-Mart goodies. It seemed so exotic to her.
You see what made Plume really special was that she had only a few more weeks to enjoy the view. Each day that she got up, she knew she only had one less than the last day. She had terminal cancer. It was eating her brain stem up. The doctors told her that she'd started having gaps in memory, and malfunctions with her body, but not completely, just bits and pieces until the stem lost all its ability to keep communications open between her mind and body, then her brain would die because the heart would stop pumping blood to it. Her muscles would refuse to move her body and she would become paralyzed.
Her mother was at work, even though she hated missing one moment with her daughter. But with her father gone for several years now, her mother had to work to pay the expenses of their apartment, as well as her medical expenses. Thousands and thousands of dollars. That made Plume sad, but not for long. Her mother was strong. She would survive. And besides, even the approaching blackout for her life couldn't put a dent in her positive nature. She believed the world was a place of miracles. Each second was a moment of great excitement to her.
That was especially true since she'd found the Rose Garden.
Every day she woke up she made herself a promise to see just one more part of the world about her, and the day before she'd found the Rose Garden. Quite by accident. She had been seeking a way to get to the tallest hill where she could take pictures with her camera phone of the bay to share with her mother and cheer her up, but for some reason, her mother would break into tears instead and hold her tight, as if she were going to burst apart if she didn't.
So she was determined to go back again this day. She hurriedly threw on socks, jeans, a thick sweater...it was cool outside...and a hat to protect her head from the sun. She looked kind of like a Raggedy Ann, because all her clothes mismatched. She was put together from all kinds of colors and textures. It was her contribution to her life. Her artistic side.
She snatched up her drawing tablet, some pencils and erasers, jammed them into her purse, left a quick note for her mom so she wouldn't be worried, then ran out of the apartment, locking it behind her. She just made it downstairs in time to catch the trolley. She heard its ding ding, clanking sound as she was dashing down the stairwell of the four story building.
She reached the street and the trolley driver, Mister Corday, waved at her. He made a gesture at the trolley and she nodded. He slowed for her to a stop. She dashed on board. "Thanks, Mister Corday!"
"My pleasure, Plume. Where to?"
"The Top of the World!" She told him, her eyes bright with the fever of desire. He nodded, put the trolley back into gear and it levered back out into traffic, picking up speed.
It was a little game they played. He pretended to be her chauffeur, and she pretended he was. She put her fare in the cup before her, watched it get gobbled down its throat and roll into the space where all the coins went, then excitedly, ran up to the top deck, where she immediately went to the front.
It was full, except for one spot. Next to a young man, maybe a year or two older than herself. He didn't bother looking up when she sat down, so she ignored him at first, instead twisting about to watch the buildings roll past as the trolley climbed the steep hill.
She looked back at the young man. He was handsome in a dark kind of way. His hair was Beatles length and he wore a diamond stud in his right ear. A tiny tattoo marked his left ear. The shape of a heart. His hands were strong with long fingers. He wore jeans and a cord shirt with a button down collar.
"It's so exciting." She finally said.
The adults about her smiled, but said nothing.
The young man looked up. "You're odd looking." He said, and then looked down again.
"Thanks." She told him.
That got to him. He looked up again. "You're stupid too."
She laughed. "Stupid is as stupid does."
He gave her a suspicious look. "Are you calling me stupid?"
She ignored his question. Looked uphill where they were traveling. He said no more. She turned around and looked at him again. "It's so exciting."
He looked up and gave her an annoyed look. "You've already said that."
She smiled. "I would have remembered if I had?"
"Are you calling me a liar?"
She shrugged. "Lies are like tiny balloons. The more you pop, the more annoying they become."
He started to get up, and then decided against when the trolley made a jarring stop, dropping him back in place. She looked away, which contented him. Maybe she was through bothering him.
She looked back at him again. "It's so exciting." She told him, putting even more energy into her voice.
He looked up again, this time ready to explode, but the look on her face froze him in his tracks. "You're different, you know that?"
"Mom tells me I'm special."
He nodded. "That I can believe."
He looked down again. He felt her still staring at him, so he looked up again. "What?"
"So exciting!" He finished for her, surprising her. "Look, how many times are you going to repeat that stupid thing?"
She burst into tears. The adults gave the young man stern looks, which he completely ignored, but somehow Plume had struck a chord in his being. He raised a hand and it held a heart in it. "Would you like one?"
She rubbed at the tears in her eyes, and then saw the heart. It was a candy heart. It said "I love you."
"Mom tells me never to talk to strangers."
He laughed. She did too.
She looked at the heart in her hand. "What's this?"
He gave her a surprised look. "I just gave it to you."
"I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
She gave him the heart back.
The trolley stopped. She looked over the side. "We're here!"
She forgot all about the young man as she raced to be first off the car. She flung herself down the stairwell, gave a smile to Mister Corday. He nodded. She stopped and looked back. "Do I know you?"
He laughed. "I'm Mister Corday."
She smiled broadly. "Thanks, Mister Corday."
She got off the trolley.
The trolley started up again as Mister Corday steered her once more. It began to turn on its tracks to face back down the hill.
Plume danced up the long hill of steps that rose into the Rose Garden, skipping one, dancing another, then skipping again. She reached the top, breathless and excited, and then spun around, taking in the view. Rows and rows and rows of beautiful roses.
"I love you!" She told the roses.
For a brief moment it felt like the entire hillside gave off a glow. The roses lit up like tiny light bulbs and turned faces towards her. But it must have been an illusion, because when she blinked her eyes everything was the same again.
She went to the bench that let her look out over the city, and the roses at the same time. She reached into her purse, took out a brush and began smoothing her hair back into place, enjoying the feeling of the bristles of the brush as it massaged her scalp at the same time it put order into her hair.
She felt rather than saw him arrive. She turned around and a strange boy stood there. He looked at her with such lonely eyes that she wanted to take him in her arms and cuddle him, to make him feel better.
"Hi!" He said.
"Hello. Do I know you?"
He smiled and sat down next to her.
"My name is Plume." She said, offering a hand to him.
He took it and didn't let go for a long time, then trembling he looked up into her eyes and smiled. A smile so full of light and friendship that her heart tumbled for a couple of beats, missing its rhythm.
"I love you." He told her.
He held out a heart in his hand. "You forgot this."
She took it and flipped it over. "I love you."
She looked into his eyes and her heart tumbled again.
"Do I know you?"
"Forever." He said, taking her hand in his.
She laughed. "Silly. I don't talk to strangers."
"Then let's not be strangers."
"Here." He told her. He handed her a second heart. She took it and looked at it. "I love you."
She sat on the bench until the sun went down.
He sat beside her, his left hand holding her right.
She didn't ask him again who he was. Some part of her remembered.
The next morning they met again at the top of the hill. And again they introduced themselves to each other. Each time she sat down on the bench, the Rose Garden seemed to light up for a moment.
But there came a day when she could no longer leave her apartment.
She lay on her bed, trying to remember what she had forgotten. They she looked over on her nightstand where thirteen hearts lay. Each one said "I love you."
Her mom took off the rest of the week to be with her. Her employer finally took mercy on her and offered to pay her for the day off.
She stayed with Plume when the doctor saw her, and when the doctor left shaking his head. She fell asleep holding her daughter's hand, hearing her breath go in and out, sometimes easily, sometimes with great effort.
The doorbell rang.
She ignored it.
The doorbell rang again.
She sighed, let go of Plume's hand, and then raced to the door.
Plume's eyes opened and from where she lay, she could see rows and rows of roses, all colors of the rainbow. And a handsome young man stood there at its gate, holding out a heart for her, just like the ones she had on her nightstand. She smiled at him and he smiled back. She rose from her bed and went to him. He took her hand.
"I shouldn't talk to strangers."
"I'm not stranger, Plume." He told her. Then he gave her a new heart.
She read it. "Forever."
She looked at him, smiling the same time as her mother stepped back into the bedroom. Her mom froze. A beautiful tunnel of white light stretched from the bedroom out the window. She saw Rose standing there with a young man. They were laughing. As they began walking further into the light her Mom could see a vast garden with row after row of beautiful roses, their faces lit up like light bulbs. It was like looking at millions of living rainbows. She felt her heart skip a beat. It was so beautiful!
Plume stopped for a moment and looked back. Her mom tensed. Plume raised a hand, waved, then blew a kiss and took the young man's hand. He put an arm around her shoulder and they vanished into the light.
Her Mom looked away and Rose lay on her bed, her eyes wide open. A smile on her lovely face.
Between her fingers was a new heart. "Forever."
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.
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