She collected herself from the sea shore. She had been there for a few hours, squinting into the distance hoping to catch a glimpse of something familiar. Today was not the day she would be called home. She had work to do. This occupation of her physical body kept her grounded and she knew she would have to keep it well in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. She stretched and inhaled and took in the smell of the ocean, her favorite smell.
She looked around at the others and could feel their energy. The young ones of whom she was fond always seemed happy here too. Perhaps they knew the secrets of the beginning. So new they were that their memories were uncluttered and more readily available than the older ones. The older ones were always so preoccupied with technology, never present in the moment, always off to another virtual land, worlds away and they did not appear as happy as the young ones.
She felt their energy, their distractions, their laughter, their pain. She wondered if anyone else could feel it too. It was as tangible to her as the blistering sand beneath her feet. She avoided large crowds because in those instances she became overwhelmed and distracted herself from her calling. She had to choose one at a time. She could only focus her purpose, one at a time. It was time to go to work.
Today she would choose the quietest voice. She had a theory that although it could barely be heard, it might need her the most, so she set about making her way to find it. She walked without direction until that feeling from deep within her instructed her to stop. She found herself dangling from a park swing, in the manner of the young ones. The rubber seat warm against her, the metal chains almost too hot to touch. When did she stop swinging on swings? She couldn’t remember. It had been quite some time since she raced her brother to see who could go higher, faster and jump further.
She waited there, legs pumping the air to lift her. She smiled broad, leaned forward and jumped. It seemed higher back then. She caught the attention of some of the older ones, they looked on disapproving, childish behavior for such an adult body. She circled the park and found herself sitting next to an old one on cool metal bench in the shade beneath a massive tree. She loved trees, loved that their bark resembled the skin of the body she occupied. It was a little rough, a little battered, it had places that had been carved upon.
She saw that the old one struggled to breathe. He appeared worn. His hands shook. She heard his voice, soft like feathers on the wind. This was the one she would help today. This was the one her love would touch. The much older ones were so pleasant and she loved that they had stories to tell and felt a twinge of sadness with the realization that often no one would listen.
Her introduction was sweet. His response even sweeter. He told her it was a beautiful day and indeed it was. She exchanged pleasantries, as was customary and she began the task of unfolding the man.
He was here at this park because he also missed the youth and exuberance of the young ones. He had watched her on the swings and imagined himself racing her higher and higher. He met his first love here. He unraveled the story for her quite effortlessly.
They met in high school and were fast sweethearts. They married immediately upon graduating and he was sent off to war. They exchanged letters as often as life allowed. When he returned to the states she was waiting. Their love trans versed the ocean. He said the sun rose and set with her and that the moon was jealous of her radiance. She had never heard a “he” speak of a “she” that way. He was missing her. She felt it. His loss pooled up in her eyes. When he noticed he laughed and patted her hand softly and said “The time for tears is over, we will be reunited soon enough, she knew I was afraid to leave her first, so she left ahead of me, to pave the way as she always did. I imagine I will have a honey-do list a mile long when I get there”
He said he always knew she would go ahead of him, to get things ready. His faith that she would be waiting on the other side astounded her. He said he was going “home”, because home was with her.
She listened as he described her laughter and how he reveled in the times she would smile, laugh lines forming around her eyes meant she had lived a good life, full of emotion. He said she would have joined her on the swings and that the disapproving looks she received were just the inability to remember easier times. He described a time when they would race each other to the apple tree at the end of their property and sit beneath its shade, motioning above “much like this one”. They planned out their future.
She watched this old one as his breathing calmed and his struggle less apparent. His hands stopped shaking. He had come to a good place in his mind. He was back beneath that tree, in his younger years with his love.
She saw his peace. He had been delivered home.