I awake to find myself in a small room. Along the wall is a counter with stools. The walls are white; the fittings, stainless steel. I’m on the floor in the corner. I’m cold, ever so cold.
In a sudden panic, I scrabble around feeling for my journal. It’s here, and I sigh with relief. To be honest, I don’t really need the journal anymore. I can remember. And I don’t write in the journal, but my experiences become written in there, somehow. Automatically. I don’t pretend to understand. I’m glad to have it nevertheless, in case I ever do forget again.
I’ve been so forgetful in the past, you see.
Forgetfulness can be a blessing. If we can forget the wrongs that have been done us, then we can forgive. Forgive and forget. But that suggests that forgiveness comes first. Forgetting comes first, the slight, the misdeed, the injustice grows softer, fainter with time. We forget. And only then can we forgive. In that way, forgetting can be good.
But forgetfulness can be a curse. A terrible black creeping thing, slowly stealing your very essence from the sanctity of your innermost self. And thus I am of two minds on forgetfulness.
But as I say, I am not so forgetful these days. I remember the spheres, and I suppose this must be the inside of one of them. Ah well, nothing to worry about. Strange though it is, it will all work out in the end. Well, I say work out; I mean that something will happen as opposed to nothing happening. That’s good enough.
As there are no doors, and no windows and the room is small enough that I can see all I’d be able to from this vantage point, I content myself with remaining on the floor in the corner. It’s chilly still, but waking up a bit has helped.
I lean back against the wall and close my eyes. What will today bring?
As I watch the shapes and patterns dancing on the backs of my eyelids, I try to empty my mind. Though I’ve not meditated since the red room, so long ago now, this seems like a perfect time and place to begin again. I focus on my breathing and I watch the dancing figures behind my eyes blend and meld and shift. Sometimes a familiar image will form, and I’ll note it and it will move off and shift and change again. I spend a while like this before it happens.
The shapes behind my eyes are suddenly very concrete. They do not dance and spin and whirl. They are not vague shadows suggesting known and unknown things. It is like I am watching a movie, or a vivid memory.
There is a city. It has been bombed heavily. Not a single building is left standing and in the ruins, the twisted wooden remains, the collapsed masonry and the tangled barbed wire, fires rage.
Picking her way through the city, innocent, eyes full of wonder, is a child like any other except for one thing.
She has wings.
Her white dress, her white hair, her pale skin and her luminous wings remain unsullied by the dirt and smoke in the air as she ducks and weaves and dodges. I wonder who she is.
Something has changed.
I open my eyes and there, sitting on a stool in the middle of the room is someone else with white hair and pale skin. It is the one I have been expecting.
It is She, and She has come.
Without warning, from the ceiling, flowing down the walls, comes a trickle of frigid water. It is slow, and though it collects on the floor, we are in no danger. Yet.
I stand and move to her but again, as in the early days, she looks through me. She does not see me. A pang of sadness squeezes my heart, but I withdraw to the wall and await what will happen. With every blink, I realize the girl in the bombed out city is still behind my eyes, still picking her way through the apocalyptic landscape. This is not coincidence. There is a connection.
I’m jolted back to this room. She sings.
Though it’s been a long time, She sings, soon we will freeze and stop.
How long have we been thinking, She sings, and how should we continue our conversation. What sort of feeling have I conveyed to you or you to me? No one knows.
It is difficult. Communication on this level is difficult, and I simply don’t know anymore.
It is difficult, She sings, but you must communicate your thoughts and dreams and feelings to another. I must know that you will be my strength in the coming days. I don’t know if I can and I don’t know what challenges we face, though She suspects something, I feel.
Though no one has ever noticed it, not even you, She sings, I’m looking forward to the change of season, when we will freeze and stop.
I close my eyes and the angel is still joyfully walking through the end of the world. In the distance, she notices something. A bird in a cage. It sings, it has somehow survived this holocaust, and she smiles and makes her way towards it.
As I watch the angel behind my eyes, I am aware of the water starting to creep up over my ankles, and through all this She still sings. There are things we must do, She sings, and when you have relaxed, it’s okay to smile, you know. You must communicate your thoughts and dreams and feelings to another. I must know that, near or far, you will be beside me.
Though it’s been a long time, She sings, soon we will roll about in the warm sunlight. I will not lose, I cannot lose.
When we are separated, She sings, if I say that I have been lonely?
It’s a lie.
The angel behind my eyes is approaching the bird. It sings to her, and she smiles with glee as she tries to reach it. But it’s on the other side of a tangle of steel and wood and barbed wire and fire. Fearless, the angel plunges in to the tight space. She cannot move very quickly, and she is hampered by her wings. They are too large for this ruin. My stomach becomes knotted. But still She sings.
The wish that you be by my side, She sings, it is not only this me that I mean, you know.
The angel is She. She is the angel. Behind my eyes, the angel can almost reach the bird’s cage, can almost lift the latch to set it free. But She’s trapped. Wings ensnared in the barbed wire, they are broken and bleeding, but still he tries to reach the bird. She grows tired and falls limp. In the distance, the voices of men on the hunt, and the dogs they bring with them. She has stopped singing.
Tears stream down my face as I open my eyes. I look at She and She, now, looks at me, not through me. But the sadness and disappointment on her face are too much for me to bear. I have failed.
I want to apologize. I want to hug her. But we just stand there, looking at one another. The sadness and disappointment of She. The tears and defeat of Me.
We stand and the waters continue to rise.