Another Trip Around the Sun

    Clutching my wife’s hand, tears were running down her face as I managed to say through my own, “I love you, so so so so so much.” The number of so's being important and something we have done since we first said those three magic words 70 years ago. She sob-laughed, “I love you so so so so so so much, too.” I pulled at her hand, and she climbed up cradling my head. I smile as I caught her scent, perfume mixed with something I can never quite put my finger on, but that is uniquely hers. The warmth of her body soothes the pain from arthritis and all the procedures. I have had a long and happy life and now it is drawing to a close. I cannot think of a happier way to go than with my one and only holding me tight. 

    I slip under, memories of my life flashing by, so close and real I could almost reach out and feel them. A voice interrupts, “I’m impressed, you led one hell of a life.” I look around trying to tell where it came from. No longer in a hospital bed, Jean is no longer holding me. The space for lack of a better word is boundless and foggy, like a grassy hilltop on a cool summer night. Fear grips me. “Who…who said that? Where am I? Jean?!” I cried out. “Your maker. Where do you think you would go after death?”, the voice said from nowhere and everywhere. “I’m dead...” I said more to myself, thinking about how much Jean must be hurting. “See right there, she took that selfish streak right out of you. I’m going to have to think of a good reward for her”, the voice said. “What reward? You know Jean?” A booming cackle erupts from the sky, lightning flashing over the horizon. “Of course, I know Jean, she’s my creation as well.”

    The year’s as a lawyer disciplined me in setting all the facts straight. Needing something to hold on to, I started there. “So, you are God? With a capital G.” Not waiting for a response I looked around, “I died and this is heaven?” The breeze blowing by as sounds of a soft chuckle passing with them. “Ha, close but no cigar as you used to say. This is purgatory.” Thoughts racing through my head now, Used to say? Purgatory? “Why am I in purgatory?” I ask hesitantly, afraid of what the reason might be. “Everyone comes here first Sam, but don’t worry they don’t stay long. How do you like the highlights of your life?” the voice said. The sound of an old movie projector reel winds up behind me.  I turn to find the memories of my life still flashing by, no sound but I don't need it. I can remember every word in my head, a smile spreading across my face and a tear joining it a moment after. “Oh, don’t fret, they will see you again one day. When their trials are over.”

     Trials? What trials? I thought, concerned for my family, that this voice might keep them out of heaven. “My wife and children are the most loving caring people on that earth of yours. What possible charges could you bring up against them?” shouting at the sky now, unsure where else to direct my anger. “Easy now Sam, no defense attorney needed here. I’m only speaking of the trials of life. Each person after their death comes here to watch their life and then they are tried and sentenced. You are in your trial now you know?” 

     Anger and my competitive side spurred me on, “Alright, fine!" I yell as I try to calm myself. An idea occurred to me, "So do I get to speak in my own defense?” crack of thunder, “ha, sure why not? Would the defense like to make an opening statement?” The fog lifts and the hillside is gone. I'm in a courtroom, not just any courtroom but the first one I ever tried a case in. I stand before an empty judge chair, the movie reel playing on an exhibit board with the label Exhibit A. . “Well, ah ladies and gentlemen of the court”, The voice interrupts “It’s only us Sam.” The voice sounding playful. “Right, uh gentleman of the court.” Another interruption, “I don’t have a gender, Sam.” The deadpan in its voice telling me it was enjoying this. “ok, ok his grace of the court.” A warm breeze passing back, “Continue.” The voice says with a smug note to it. “I’ve done some bad things in my youth, things I’m not proud of I won’t deny it.” The video scrolls through adolescent rebellions, high school parties. All the classics, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It moves to one after I settled down and had kids. The missed t-ball games, missed family dinners, missed everything for those first five years as a defense attorney. It moved to the fights I had with Jean, the debates of family vs work. I snapped out of the memory looking at the empty courtroom. “but I learned from my mistakes.” Images moved again to when I opened my own local practice and got out of defending corporations. All the people of my small town that I had defended or mitigated disputes for. Seeing my son graduate high school, and going to my younger daughter’s volleyball games. The family vacation to Mexico, and when we got caught in a storm and had to run all the way back to the hotel in wet sand. We had made it back panting and laughing at our misfortune. “I thought for a long-time work was the most important thing, since it supported my family, but I found being with my family was the most important part. I found showing them how to balance life was more important than getting them every desire they might have. Showing them how to be a good parent would teach them how to be a good parent one day.” The video fasts forwarded through hugging Ashley when she graduated college and putting my arm around Mark as he held his firstborn, finally chasing the grandkids around the back yard.     

     “I led one hell of a life; it wasn’t perfect. There were mistakes I would like to correct but I can’t. All I can show is how I made up for them, how I used them to make myself a better person. If you cannot let me into Heaven then maybe it’s not the place for me.” 

    “Sam, Sam, Sam, I don’t decide if you go to heaven.” The voice said. “You don’t? Then who the hell does?!” My surroundings change and I’m sitting in the judge’s seat, facing the gallery. “You, Sam. You decide. I give everyone this trial, here is the bad.” To my left the prosecution desk has the images of my young life playing. “and the good.” The defense table playing happy moments later in life. 

    “Now Sam this is an important decision so listen carefully. Did you live the best life? Are you satisfied and deserve to go to heaven, or were you not good enough and want to go down?” A door opened at the end of the aisle, bright light spilling from it. A trapped door opened near my feet, grey clouds and hazy along the surface. I felt confused like it was a trick. “I can send myself to Hell? Why would anyone do that?” The voice answered. “Hell does not exist, Sam. Unless you think of Earth as Hell, which it can be from time to time but as you used to say you got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.” What is he talking about? “I’ve never used that phrase, or the other one you mentioned, Close but no cigar.” The voice laughed, “Yes you did, this is your ninety-seventh trial, Sam. I know you very well, in each life you have ever had.”  

    “I’ve…I’ve had ninety-seven lives?” I muttered dumbfounded. “Yup and each one was better than your last.” He said with a hint of pride in his voice. “Why do I keep going back?” I asked. “I’ve been asking myself that question for centuries. You all go back and back and back. It’s why the population is so damn high back there; everyone takes so long to feel satisfied. I’ve got to give you a new body each time so I add a mouth to feed on top of my own new creations. Every once in a blue moon a soul feels they did their best and move on to the next life, that’s my favorite day by far. You see Sam, life is a crucible, it molds and shapes your soul into something unique and wonderful. But your soul is yours, I give you raw life and you reshape it to your own. Boy are they beautiful to watch, but you are the artist I’m only a helper. So, are you done sculpting? Is your collection of lives complete?”

     “I don’t know,” I said, taken aback. “It’s ok, take your time Sam, we have all the time we could ever want here or should I say there is no time here. If you are tired, we can sit and talk until you are ready. I don’t mind the company one bit.” The voice said. “Ok I’m lost, if I take a new life I forget my old one? I forget about Jean, I forget about Ashley and Mark? My parents and brother, every friend I ever had?” I said still trying to get a handle on this. “In the next life? Oh ya, that’s the point, no spoilers. You do take one thing with you, your soul. It has a memory of its own, but it’s more instinctual rather than true recall. It will remember the big things you learned. When something feels wrong or right before it happens. When you react without thinking to a situation you have never been in before. When you just know what’s going to happen next for no reason whatsoever. That’s your memory of past lives. Don’t worry I’ll keep your memories right here with me. If you ever decide to move onto the next life you will get them all back. Then you can share them with everyone that’s moved on, everyone eventually gets there.”

    “So, I’ll see Jean again then? One day she will be there?” the breeze chuckled, “Oh yes, she may have another life or two but one day when she’s complete she will move on. It only takes one or two more lives for a soul mate to figure out their other half moved on and is waiting for them. Not finding that special someone in the next life tends to cause an odd hole they can’t fill.” 

    “Couldn’t you tell them their other half moved on and is waiting?” I asked. “Now why would I do that? Your life is about you. If you are done crafting and ready to rest. No two people are the same but don’t worry about being lonely back there. Loved ones from past lives are most likely in the next waiting for you. After ninety-seven lives there has to be a few. You can reminisce and explore your old lives while you wait on Jean.”   

    “So, what’s it going to be Sam? Are you done with life or would you like to take another trip around the sun?”

The End


  1. Oh I like that :) thought it was gonna be sad then it was mind-fucky and kinda heartwarming

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts