A favourite place

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“…If I could have a favourite place, I would say it would be where I’d consume boxes and boxes of pizzas, cold beers, of the root kind, and acoustics at the corner with only the best of fingers to grace it.”

The old man sat in his rocking chair, and the young woman spoke.

“There is a swing made of wicker that hangs from the ceiling. There’s sunlight, white linen sheets, and the smell of grass from the lawn outside. Then there are sticks of churros dusted with cinnamon and sugar, warm in its paper container, and friends in polka dotted dresses and summer tops crunching the light, sweet, deep-fried dough.”

The old man smiled and rocked, then looked around him and exclaimed, “I love celebrations. What are we celebrating today?”

“Today, we’re celebrating today.” the woman said.

“What a lovely thought…”

There was a brief silence before the break.

“Have you ever wondered what heaven is like?” the woman asked.

” Yes.” pause. “But first I want to know what you think its like?”

She sat quiet for a long time, jaws clenched, emotions hidden.

“Heaven had always been a quiet place I’ve imagined for myself.” she said in a near whisper.

“Its quiet but never founded in loneliness. There’s always a silence filled with life- trees, birds, water falling from somewhere. Where walls are broken to perfection. No more fears, only light. Only warmth of the most enveloping kind.”

“Warmth is good…” said the man, still in his rocking chair. ” Tell me more…”

The young woman, suddenly self-conscious said, ” But I’ve been talking this whole time. I want to have a conversation with you.”

” Who says we’re not having one now? You speak. I listen. Conversation.” he smiled, eyes filled with a glow.

The woman with slight indignation reserved to a huff, while he urged her to continue.

“Heaven. Heaven… It’ll be nice. In this place, there are no politics, no more one-upping the other person, liking whatever you want to like and not what society tells you to, and no more pretending to be what we think we should be.

There would be no fears. No one to impress. No pretense, insecurities, or even no head full of critics. All the not good enough, the not thin enough, not talented enough- so many blows to our self-esteems, and so filled with what people have said in the past. And its never the right people too. Never the good ones.”

” mmm….” the old man said. ” So, what are we celebrating today?” he asked again.

“Its your birthday today Pa…”

“Ohh….” he murmured quietly. Another long silence. ” And… how old am I today?”

“You’re 89”

“That’s very old.”

“No, you’re just young enough pa… just young enough…”

Then old man with his head held wistfully, looked into the sky. “I think I would like heaven very much.” he said.

“Don’t say things like that pa…” said the woman.

“Well someone has to. Better it be me than your mother I always say.” he laughed.

The woman looked at him with the eyes of her five year old self, and said, “Pa don’t go anywhere kay?”

“Where am I going?”

She couldn’t speak.

” I feel like I want to talk to you forever…”

” And when you do, I’ll be listening…”

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