... The Sound of Prophecy Fulfilled Oi, Dubs here. I'll be posting some old work, as well as new finished work (whenever I manage to finish it, that is.) I will be posting short stories, poems, and random musings here and there. So to kick this thread off, I'll start with one my most successful stories :D The Humbled Soul by Casey James Sonnier I like things the way they are. My world is dull and grey. Lifeless. The people I pass on the way home from work are muddled masses, forms without faces or eyes, forever spiraling onwards by ambiguous impulse. And in my world, everything lacks a certain clarity. Colors are bland, trees don’t sway, the sun’s smudged, and the moon doesn’t smile. Words are weightless and just float around in space; hit and miss. And in my world sincerity is a rare commodity, forced into a black market in the spectrum of human emotion. But I like it like this. My friends like it like this. My boss likes it most of all. And in my world, most normal people reside, willing to raise arms and hide behind the blades of grass; eager to pounce on anyone who expresses a veracious sentiment. And this is my world. I like it like this. Indistinct. Unfocused. If it was pristine, if the sun shined, if the trees bent in respect to the will of the wind, and if those colors- my lifeless angry hashes of pastel painting a burn here and there- ever became vibrant or full, well... I just might weep. I know this because I’ve spent a year hoping she’d come back and beg for forgiveness, to apologize for her slights, to crave for my name just as passionately as she defied it. This year, I spend hating my daughter. I hate her for thinking her world was more clear than mine. Because my world is everyone else’s world, and without it, I’d be lost. Because my world is dull and grey. I like it like this. At least I have my job. I work in assisted living. Basically, I go sit in the homes of old people who are no longer capable of living independently. For those too old to shit on their own, shirking loved ones hire me. I install handicap bars in the bathroom, make sure they’re fed, change the channel, and sit on my laptop rapping my fingers across the keys, pawing at my digital addiction. Overall, it’s a pretty easy job. And I like old people. Their general decrepitness pleases me. Their long wolfish faces, unkempt whiskers, scraggly beards, rubbery opaque skin, and their colorful use of slang from prehistoric days do well to remind me; they live far off in their own world, a land far far away from my own. Their fantasy land is impenetrable, but their views sometime allow for mine. A venn diagram of two realities intersecting when I’m measuring out the medicine. I’ve been hired to help an old lady who still speaks to her flowers. A common case for old people; they lose their minds to reality raking at their sanity. Her foster son told me that her mind has been deteriorating for quite some time, and that she’s humbled her existence to tending the garden. Well I won’t be able to get her out of the deep end, but I can slow the sink, and make it as comfortable and painless as possible. This is my job. And I’m on my way to work. I don’t notice anything on the way, but that’s not right. Because I notice everything. It just doesn’t matter. The neighbor and his wife screaming while their children plead for silence; the hoodlums breaking into that rustic Sedan; the deranged bum in new shoes clutching a sign with a fortune cookie message scribbled on the front in crisp black ink; the zealots protesting an abortion clinic; the father promising his daughter the claim to a throne where life and happiness are eternal, all were swept up in my blurry double vision, and I never notice any of it. Because if I did, I might weep. I know this because I’ve spent a year missing her. In the light the house is blanche and surrounded by pruned vegetation neatly blossoming. The scent of the chromatic myriad of flowers permeates the air, consuming the house in an aroma of color. As I approach the house, the flowers bend to and fro from a kiss in the dead breeze, like a beckoning hand. While emitting such a pleasant ambiance, my stomach can’t help but turn, and my senses struggle to turn me in the other direction. I’m allergic to sincerity. Everything about this place is sweet and wonderful, hilariously so, like a disney cliche in the ghetto. In an attempt to cure the twist in my side, I turn away, catching a glance at the boy next door. He’s digging trenches at the base of a tree, bent and bundled in winter wear. This reminds me. It’s fucking winter. I turn back to the old lady’s house. The sting on my cheek from the whips of the icy wind recalls my reality. Her house is like the ineffable Garden, an oasis in the industrial quarter under one of the many bridges this city is mistakenly known for. Lush and vibrant and strewn full of life. The impossibility of such a place doesn’t deter me. If I left, I might have to admit to something. Screw that. I don’t want to weep. I knock on the door and it swings open silently, nothing to alert if an intrusion happened. I like it. A detectable flaw in the perfection and chilling warmth of the old lady’s house. I call out and make my presence known, leering through the crack. This must be what the Grinch feels like when he’s stealing Christmas. My only objective is to ruin the stunning perfection, to validate my shitty reality by revealing this place to be a rotting cat infested... I don’t smell cat piss. I don’t see uncleaned litter boxes basking in the bile of flea bitten felines, nor stacks of clothes, dirty laundry, piles of trash and dusty magazines. I don’t see anything typical to a deranged senior citizens’ abode. It’s spotless really, well taken care of. Neat, organized. There are beautiful flowers all around dotting available shelf space with access to sunlight. It’s homey. I shake off the admiration and resolve to get to work. A quick tour of the house and I realize the back door is open. The spilled sunlight is the only source of illumination and it is incredibly bright. Blindingly so. Then a voice calls to me from the light. It says, “Well, come here child.” I step through the light screen and into the backyard. I shield myself from its intensity. My eyes adjust sufficiently and I take a look at my surroundings. Another fucking garden. This time, it’s more grand and the murky winter sky has been replaced by immaculate tumbling cirrus clouds. This is some Twilight Zone shit. And instead of Rod Serling is a smiling old lady. She’s small and frail, her facial features are soft with piercing blue eyes to punctuate her papery face. Her hair is perfectly white, like snow without impressions. She seems sweet. I wave awkwardly and reply, “I’m 37 years old ma’m. That means I’m not exactly a child.” She giggles in a leveled tone and waves away the apparent nonsense . I expected this. Old people typically believe their wisdom supersedes my own. “We’re all children in this light.” My physical response is careful. With a smile and a nod I dust away all chance to pursue the subject. “Sit down darling.” “Yes ma’m.” I pull up a chair as she sits in her own. “What’s your name, sweetie?” “Syd,” my name is Syd by the way, “And yours?” “My name is Eve.” She dipped her head as if she intended to curtsy from her seat. “Ah. So did your parents name you after Eve from the Bible?” “No. I am Eve from the Bible.” I scratch my head. So this is how she took the plunge. With her faith as an anchor to drag her to the bottom. I grin in my mind. In all this stunning perfection, I’ve finally been able to find her place in my reality. She’s just as defective and insincere in her claims to be someone else. Good. Cause in my reality, everyone wishes they were somebody else, someone with affluent influence and the ability to purchase dreams. Somebody famous. Like Johnny Depp. “So that makes you how old exactly?” I challenge sarcastically. “I’ve lost track deary,” she replies swiftly and with tact, “The millennium tend to blur by.” I’ve learned my lesson by this point in my life. People buried under leagues of experience molded by zealous belief cannot rise for a breath of fresh air. It’s pointless to argue, so I play along, “I see, so then all that stuff in the Bible is true?” “No. The truth, as we all know it, is a bit more complex.” My interest was piqued. She has her own version of the story. “What happened in the Garden then, Eve, why did humans fall from Grace?” I can see the shift in her features as she becomes uneasy with the particular phrasing of my query. In the depths of her aqueous irises, I see her struggle in the deep, wrestling with circles of logic she is moments from deploying. I’m familiar with this face. The chunks of cheeks spread downward, kneading themselves into an uneasy frown, the brow knits together and the gaze is redirected to the ground, or to the air, or anywhere to avoid being snared by reason. This face is commonplace, almost everyone wears it. But, it’s more a shield than a mask, defending us from our truth and its versions. Our truth is sunk and snug in the deep ends of our minds. If this mask was ever removed from my face, well... I’d be seen weeping. Eve straightens, her fully erect spine seems unnatural with the old lady draped around it, and her demeanor changes, her frame trembled. It was more along the lines, the ones that creviced, eroded evidence of something more palpable. Something more sincere. Tears streak down her face, and into those deep lines, dribbling from her face. She wept. Eve raises a hand to cover her face as she silently lets her tears fall. “Whoa, hold on,” I stammer, “I didn’t mean to make you cry.” Now I feel bad. Damn. “Eve, I’m sor-” She removed her hand from her face and lifted a single finger motioning for me to pause, and a shaky smile broke out onto her face. “No deary, I’m sorry,” her gaze lifted upwards towards the burning illumination, “I’ll tell you the story. You deserve to hear it.” With a grain of salt, I shift in my seat to be attentive for story time. I would only have to listen for a few minutes before freed from this fettering nonsense. How was I supposed to know she was going to cry? I’m captive to my own courtesy. “Yes. You’re right,” I fake a smile, “Lemme hear it then.” Crazy people. Eve closes her eyes and begins, “It seems like an eternity now. Then, we never could have known what was to become of Earth. In its inception it was truly a paradise. I was among all of creation as one of the first humans, created from a piece of Adam as he was manifested from the very Earth itself. God’s light was everywhere then. You couldn’t escape its everlasting warmth. Despite what most will tell you, God neither favored us nor gave us special privilege. Myself and Adam were merely another beat among the rhythms and cycles of nature and substance,” Eve pauses, and she drops her chin now to stare at her flowers, like a mother would her children, “But Adam, bless his soul, he could be a little arrogant,” she chuckles, “Everything he saw was something to hold dominion over. I tried to tell him ‘We are all God’s children in this light’ but he never paid me any mind. Instead of heeding my words he sought to bring things under his own control. It frustrated me to no end. ‘God, why is Adam the way he is? Why did you create us this way?’,” Eve purses her lips and indulges another pause. It extends into silence and I raise an eyebrow. “What happened next?” “God replied, ‘Everything is as it should be child. Fear not. Be patient’ But of course, my vice then was impatience. ‘This garden of Eden is not yet perfect.’ I didn’t understand it then. So I continued in my haste, searching for some answers as to who I was and what I was supposed to do. Adam ignored my questions, while God served to only perplex me more.” I find myself enjoying this version. An account of a victimized Eve. It must have been so hard living in paradise, so of course, she had to inevitably ruin everything. I scoff mentally, and direct my eyes towards the zenith of the pretend sky. This garden, likely to have been planted in homage to her false past, was just as fake as her identity. It had to be. Because the world outside was a big infested festering pit. A place of wanton institutionalized violence, a torrential chaos of one group always fighting with another, throwing the plebeians for a Noble’s cause into the blades and bullets of opposing plebeians, clashes of ideals and legislation, a cacophony of leaders flaunting their growth and wealth; razing fields of green, staining the lands with crimson, polluting the big ole blue, enslaving the blacks, warring with the yellows, and forcing the reds from their homes. Humans are nothing but pioneers seeking to ravage new frontiers, seeking to stick a flag into the dirt honing their colors. This is our reality. My thoughts overflow and the deluge makes its way to wet my lips, but I bite my tongue to barricade against the flood. I just want to argue my opinions but I can still feel this twist in my side and the compression in my chest. Like I said, I’m allergic to sincerity. I return my attention to Eve as she continues. “That’s when he came. For ages he’s been known as the Devil, as Beelzebub, Satan, the Mark of the Beast, but I knew him as Lucifer,” she giggles again sweetly as she mentions the name, “He wasn’t frightening or evil, contrary to popular belief. Instead, Lucifer was sympathetic to my inquiries about life, he himself experiencing the very same enigma that was our existence. We used to lie together under the magnanimous sun, and talk for hours about all the possibilities, so eager to discern the universe for what it was. In that light, he was so beautiful and inspiring. I didn’t know then, about the Tree. God had made no mention of it. Lucifer told me about it as we basked under the sun. He said it was the source of All Knowledge; of Good and Evil. ‘I cannot touch the fruit my love. For I am forbidden to take hold of it by the Will of God. However, you are not restrained like I. You are bereft of these chains that bind me to damnation. Eve, I need you to help me understand- why? What was my crime?’ and there, the malicious and conspiring Satan that you know, was just a twisted soul, trying to figure out his place among God’s grand design. It was a perfect place, Syd, with no reason for being. We merely came into existence bleating against the unknown infinity ahead of us, like crying babes leaving the womb, not quite sure what to make of life, or the Garden, or God. We just wanted to know.” The pain in my gullet persists. My breathing is quickening, and I’m unsure why. Is her story making sense to me? I feel my pulse along the back of my spine, and every hair is now standing in attention, as if I had known these things all along. As if I had known them before. I shake my head and stand, now allowing layers of my shield to fall asunder to the weight of her words- and I fucking loathe it. “So you’re telling me, that you’re really Eve from the Bible, and that Lucifer was just misunderstood in his quest for self discovery? You expect me to believe this?” “You may believe what you like deary,” she replies calmly, “May I continue?” “I think that’s okay Eve. I’ve heard enough,” still the gnawing in my abdomen surges in waves of wanting, wanting to know, “How about we just go ahead and get started?” She’s obviously senile. “Okay deary. That’s fine. However, I think my story would maybe help you… with your daughter?” My daughter? “How do you know about that?” She simply giggles and repeatedly waves my question away in that senior citizen fashion. “Know about what?” she coos, “Don’t go becoming insane before this old lady does.” she cackles, and rather obnoxiously, flipping through a range of emotions with acrobatic expertise. Who is this lady? I sink once again into my seat feeling completely vulnerable against Eve’s innocent tendencies and her meta knowledge of my life. I sigh. “Continue.” What the hell is going on? “I had a feeling you’d say that,” she smiles slyly and inhales, “At first I denied Lucifer’s request, believe it or not. The Bible paints me as some silly gullible girl bewitched by a snake’s silvery tongue, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. I went to Adam to see what he knew of the Tree. ‘Eve, I haven’t seen this Tree,’ he said, ’and if it was here in Eden, I would have found it already.’ So assured he was in the nonexistence of the Tree he brushed my concerns away. Then I sought out God. I told him everything, about Lucifer, about the Tree, and about my own doubts and uncertainties. Now, imagine if you can Syd, the voice of God. Its the sweetest, softest song carried upon the wind and woven through the Earth, and yet the most tumultuous of vibrations that earthquakes and crescendos with every nerve ending, rending you utterly helpless in the presence of such a peaceful bliss. Imagine all of Creation speaking to you at once, and yet not a sound can be heard. This is what God said, ‘Everything is at it should be, and you will never be alone. Eden is not yet perfect. You may not know until it is. Always, you will be my daughter. I love you' That was the last time God spoke to me.” Eve pauses once more, the last words she spoke drifted from her lips as the intonation drops, the ambiance tones in somber and tints ominously. “He was so cryptic and I was so impatient,” she begins again, ”Each message of his was scribed into a glass bottle and thrown into an ocean of questions. In my frustration I decided I would want to find out myself. I guess that’s the only thing the Bible pegged me for,” she exhales, deeply sighing to reach equilibrium from the stress telling the story seems to inflict, “I acted like a child.” “What do you mean?” “I was rash. I had no faith in the words of God anymore, and my very identity crumbled. I sought the next best thing at that point. An explanation.” Now she’s being cryptic, “Eve, I don’t get it, why didn’t God just explain things to you,” now I’m engaging in this inanity, Jesus help me, “I mean, that’s the issue I’ve always had with the Bible. An infinite all knowing entity simply couldn’t explain things? I mean we’ve been blatant barbarians trying to disguise our destructive tendencies as something natural and God given. It makes no sense.” Seething through the cracks in my teeth, my barricade against my opinions fails me. This is what people in my reality do. We bitch. Eve nods solemnly as the false sky vanishes and the wintered clouds of gray creep into place. “I have an explanation for that, at least,” even the vibrancy of the lovely colored flowers seems to fade, “In my own arrogance and impatience I let Lucifer lead me to the Tree. ‘Eve, we’re going to have it all. The answer to everything.’ If only we knew how wrong we were. The Tree was a singular point of rot among the Garden. Death and necrosis twisted into the form of mangled ash black, bracken plant life, surrounding one Tree. When I saw this place, this place of death, it was the first time a human had ever experienced terror and fear,” the grip of her story has hold of my rib cage, I’m finding it hard to breath under this anxiety, “Syd, this is when I made the choice that paved the way for what humanity is today. You see, the Tree, it bore a peculiar golden apple which emitted such a succulent smell, and the air the scent lingered on swayed with such idolatrous divinity, its influence caused a craving to well in my own soul. I couldn’t help but want to taste of it. Lucifer took hold of my hand to brave the grave we dug before us. If only we had known. Hand in hand, I plucked the fruit and bit into it. I reached in my mouth to find thorns the golden apple hid underneath its skin, had pierced my gums ever so slightly. I had knowledge of pain. To my discomfort that wasn’t the end of my discoveries,” the old lady in front of me begins to be two people at once, a beautiful young woman, with midnight black hair and cold pale skin, with an expression in her blue eyes to parallel the paralyzing disparaged face of Eve as I experience her, now, and for now, I am suspended helplessly in disbelief, “The Earth shook and the Tree of All Knowledge collapsed in front of me, with it its secrets of Good and Evil- I only had a taste. When it did all crumble, Lucifer fell into the pit, and I was saved by Adam. God had told him to come find me, and save me. He did as he was instructed, but nothing was the same anymore. God and his light left the earth. I learned of despair. Like Lucifer I became a Twisted Soul, here on Earth in the Garden of Eden.” I don’t want to weep. I can remember now, that I didn’t back then. Even as she was crying, in the car, as we drove home that night. I was drunk. I was always drunk. I remember that even as I argued a hollowed opinion built upon principles defined by lies to myself, she tried to understand. I was never angry at her, but still she cried, and I thrashed, a drunken child flinging his words in an adult tantrum, not worried about the collateral they caused. I can’t remember the impact, it happened too fast for me, but I could remember the lights. As our vehicle surged through the air, it was the funniest feeling. Its like, I knew exactly what was going to happen, like I had known the screams wouldn’t belong to me. I just remember thinking ‘I missed every chance to know you’. It was that matter of fact for me - how dead I was as she died. The lights disappeared. I didn’t even weep as they told me she didn’t make it. I couldn’t. I don’t want to. Well this story fucking sucks. I’m trembling now. Out of rage, regret, confusion, I can’t tell at the moment. "So God just left?" I can’t hide the way my frame shakes, and I can’t keep my hands from moving about in wide arcs, motioning towards the sky, “So you take a bite of one apple, and it all falls apart? Then you erect some mini paradise to restitute what you lost?!” My fervor increases, my vehemence hot on my breath, “We can’t get back what we lose!” The finality of that statement restores the state Eve’s garden had previously been in; perfect, serene, as if by its very return, the vivid pigmented flowers has come to challenge my declaration. Old lady Eve is the only one in front of me now, with that sly grin stretched across her face. This lady. I sigh, my own frame seeking the middle way from the contractions in my labored chest. “Should I go on?” she’s still grinning. “Might as well.” I mumble. “You’re going to have to speak up child, my hearing isn’t what it used to be,” she chuckles and rasps, “The centuries have that effect.” “Yes.” I substitute louder. Her smiling stops, her personality tumbling along the runway, and her expression changes into something more sincere. A hardened smile that pierces my heart. “I know how you feel Syd. I understand. When I lost God, everything had become darkness for me. Despite the smudged sun, and the stiff trees, and the bland colors that surrounded me in muddled masses; I felt I was in complete darkness. I was blind. Adam tried to console me at that time,always blaming himself. He thought he was forever the fool, the one who failed in his vigil over me. My protection was his last and final charge, something he didn’t want to fail in. When God left, he was in despair too, but actively trying to pick up the pieces. I remained lost and tortured. When we had our first children, our two precious boys, Cain and Abel, I adored them both as a mother should. They brought back a luminescence I had longed for. Abel was a sweet boy, a shepherd for both animals and compassion, growing into Adam’s shoes and even then outgrowing and surpassing him. Cain seeded the land early on, becoming proficient in the lessons of cultivation that I had passed on. Although he was truly my favorite, the first human born, his likeness was too much in the image of Lucifer,” she redirects her gaze once again, unable to face me, but not to lie or repress an ounce of truth, fully at the mercy of the weights and measures of such an admittance, “I blamed Lucifer for God’s departure and for my fall, coined him as a snake and liar in attempts to hide my shame from Adam, and even though Cain was my precious firstborn, I discovered hatred for him simply for bearing a visage. In my spite for Lucifer, I took to wrath, lashing out at the Devil, vicariously, through my son. In return, Cain grew to mirror the hate that wrought my soul twisted. Downcast and unaccepted by his own mother, Cain frequently quarreled with his brother as a result. Abel was gentle and sweet like Adam, and championed for his mother, despite the glaring fact that it was all spiraled by me. And so the story goes. I led my son Cain to commit the ultimate sin of fratricide, and I couldn’t cry then, as my favorite and despised son slit the throat of his younger brother. I was that bitter.” Eve stops to suck in some air, her bosom rises and falls with the action, the story taking its toll, “That’s the legacy I began.” “How could you hate your own child?” How could I? A lump forms at the top of my throat, and I realize that this story is meant for me, “Why didn’t you come to your senses?” Eve continued to direct her eyes anywhere to avoid my gaze, and I can descry that a flood threatens to cascade from the seas in her eyes. Guard down, her mask set aside so that I can see her true face; gravity worn and eroded by tears, an expression deadened by centuries of self loathing, I can only try to imagine how she feels. She seeks the solace of silence, so I give her a few moments of respite. I exhale heavily, rub my face, and check my watch. How long have I been here? It feels like ages, or is that simply the ages catching up? I can’t tell. “I thought you said your story could help me, Eve?” At the mention of her name, Eve perks up, and finally meets my gaze, a feathery smile perched upon her papery skin. “You believe me?” “I didn’t say that, old lady,” immortal or not, her methods are bonkers, “But I guess I do.” I set my mask aside, unable to bear it any longer, stripped and naked against the genesis of fiction, my reality now intertwined with the mythos of something I forever denied. I might weep. “Certainly there’s something good about your story.” “Of course,” the smile on her lips persists. “After that day, I spent the ages thereafter in complete denial, playing the eternal observer, fated to stand and view the rippled wake rooted in a Tree that wasn’t done teaching me my lesson. That wretched fruit was sweeter still, in its craven call to all of humanity, its siren song lulled brother to slaughter brother; sister to slight sister. Ages, and it continued. God was disserved by text after text so that holy men, who could somehow only facilitate and understand the turning behind these mysterious pages ordinary citizens couldn’t fathom, could assume authority, and plunge everyone under the depths myopia. For whatever color, for whomever’s call, your kind rose to raze one another time and time again. Moths engulfed in the flames. I watched it all. And then he came.” “Who?” “God. In a different form, with a different identity, and not entirely aware of even himself,” she laughs again, “He knew himself as Yeshua, or as you know him, Jesus, and others- Issa.” “So Jesus wasn’t actually the son of God, but God himself? And he didn’t know it?” “Precisely,” her eyes lighten, and her smile broadens “I was drawn to Jesus since his birth, recognizing the light inside of this child, igniting memories of a time when I used to bask in that very same burning benevolence, in the love I had lost. He was unlike the rest of humanity, although in many respects, exactly like everyone else. I couldn’t reach out to him, afraid of a singular judgement that could be uttered by him, which would surface the shame I spent most of my existence trying to hide in vain. As arrogant as I was, I followed him throughout his life.” “What was he like?” “He was good. From early on, even as a child, he was more kind and wise than most. Inspiring and astonishing people couldn’t help to flock to him, like a beacon in the dark. It never mattered who came to him- slave, prostitute, beggar, addict; all the unclean souls I condemned- he asked that they lay their burdens at his feet. He would take care of them. An altruistic act, not because he thought they were weak and unable to handle the weight of life; but because he thought they were stronger than they’d ever know. ‘You are never alone, brother and sisters stand all around you,’ he’d tell them, ‘You feel an unseen love.’” Eve stops and chuckles once again, her pale cheeks flush with embarrassment, “I even challenged him once.” “How did that go?” I laugh in response. “Not as I expected,” she continues, “We were there outside the city of Galilee, Jesus was surrounded by a crowd of followers and listeners, as he often was during his times of travel. I could see it then, although at the time I didn’t realize it, that the light of God had spread, its light shone from the eyes and mouths of those eager to participate with Jesus. He had that odd effect of rubbing off on people, even his enemies came to love him, and he could ignite that light within their own soul. And that night, someone had asked, as they often did, ‘Teacher, how are you so perfect? Tell us your secret?’ ‘Tis no secret my friend,’ he laughed, ‘And you are too kind to me. I am not perfect. I only seek to be a reflection for you, and for everyone else, my brother. Like a reflection in the water. In doing so I believe that I have discovered the path to perfection, the path to God. For you are just like I, uncertain and sometimes confused by the ripples of the surface which can make seeing one another difficult. Be still brother, look deeper, and you will come to see me as I do you, then this place will be perfect.’ Amazed at how a divine man could speak so highly in regard to someone so ordinary, they cheered him. ‘Such grace,’ they said, ‘Such a Humbled Soul.’ That’s when I stepped up, frustrated by his nonsense, his quest to empower these fools who didn’t know the first thing about God. Or so I thought. I said, ‘Jesus, how can you speak thusly? You push these people to walk the path to perfection when the world is so imperfect, by design. Timeless has been this age of aggression, never ending are the seas of blood, consistent are the rise and fall of Empires that flourish at the tip of spears and blades; how then, can you claim we are all equal? Surely, wicked men do wicked things because they are evil? Do you seek to mirror those men as well? Man has lost his right to stand at the side of God, and what you lose, you can never get back.’ I practically spat in his face, shaking and seething with anger; foaming from the mouth, I was quite the feisty lady then,” she jabs, “and his response stopped me in my tracks. Jesus didn’t say anything. Jesus wept. The crowd was rendered silent by his breakdown. But I knew then, because the light of God inside him couldn’t let anything be hidden, that he was weeping because I could not. My heart was so bent it couldn’t break, and he knew it.” “Jesus cried for you?” I’m amazed, captured by the imagery conveyed to me, seeing the empty glass of a broken man and the spirit he tried to nurture. Despite everything, he could weep, when others prided themselves on their ability to not. A Humbled Soul. “Mmmhmm,” she nods, “He could feel my pain, and he stammered through what he said next, which also amazed me, ‘I do it because our roles could have been reversed, because by mere circumstance I could bear the sorrow that you do, I could be filled with hate and sadness.’ The eyes of the crowd centered on me and Jesus, as he continued to weep, and I felt myself being undone and illuminated by the light of God. By the light of Jesus. So I ran.” She delivered a poem to me that I never read. Even after she died. I just wanted to remain in the dark. It was so much easier than being exposed to the lights and the shadows cast from the words I know would make me weep. There it sat, that folded note, collecting dust, decorated by a heart in faded black ink. I kept on running even after she wasn’t there to run from. My love for her was eclipsed by a great pain from the past. I guess I burned our connection, because I couldn’t bridge the Great Divide. So I never touched that poem, her final words. I can feel, the pressure behind my eyes, the flood that threatens. The parallels between me and Eve are starting to become more apparent as the story continues. I’m starting to think, can I weep? Among the colors, and scents they travel upon, its all becoming clear; the combination of their efforts make them more vivid and evocative, reminiscent of a time when I sought to be whole. I know this, and Eve notices, the influence of her words becoming visual as I struggle with something skewed attempting to right itself within myself. “Should I go on?” She proceeds cautiously, “You could always come back tomorrow.” I shake my head and extend a hand and motion for her to continue. I need to hear this. “Okay Syd. I maintained a distance from Jesus. That is, until the day he died. Convicted and tried, sentenced for laying aside the crosses of others, for burying their burdens; forced to bear a cross on his bare shoulders, hung and nailed to its length. It wasn’t bloody, it wasn’t dramatic. But it was sacred. Everyone among the crowd ceased to breathe, apnea in reverence and fear- even myself. I was going to lose God again, and the worst part of it all was that I never took the time to know him. The pits of my horror opened up once again, like on the day that I took taste of the fruit, I would be enveloped in darkness. As if in resonation, the spectators to that sacred moment began to chatter nervously. They too would lose hope. Jesus smiled in response. He had prepared his final words. Not the words penned in the Bible, no. His words were much more sincere. Instead of asking God to forgive us, instead of trying to play savior, he looked upon us like a parent so proud of his children. He beamed with certainty, having an arrogance that only a Humbled Soul could attain. “I have faith in you.” I get it. “It was like every shackle and every fettering lie believed was swept away, like the veils of fog were dusted away in the brilliance of his light,” Eve becomes more intense in the telling, “His real miracles were the most magical. He set people free by carrying the blind into the light, holding their eyes to the Sun, burning away the chains that tethered souls to a tortured existence. He delivered me from my sin, not by securing a seat for me in heaven, but by lifting the weights that held me in the depths of Hell. Because he loved me.” “If Jesus died, what happened to God?” I choke, afraid this story might still end in the way that most things do. Eve laughs to comfort me, “That’s the funny thing. Even though Jesus perished, and his body no longer possessed the light of God, it kept surfacing in times when it was needed most. Throughout our history, these children made of pure gold, pushed for peace and love. The vitality of God was still here, the underlying beat threaded within the very Earth. I finally realized that this must have been what God meant all along, and it wouldn’t be denied, as the pulse quickened, the vibrations spread into people of all colors and creeds. God emerged from the shadows with different names, not aware of a beginning or end, only that it was time to light up the darkness. I have here, a poem written by a girl, a beautiful sweet girl whom I met a while back” Eve reaches into her breast pocket and produces a note, decorated by a heart in faded black ink, “She also had an amazing light. So young, and even she could tap into the essence of God,” my heart plummets and cracks, I begin to weep, “I think you should hear what it says Syd.” The tears are streaming down my face, dribbling from my chin, I bury myself in my hands, “I do. I want to hear it.” My voice cracks into a something like a scream, one that belongs to me. I continue to cry, pulled back into the darkness behind my eyes; I can see her face, and I know Eve’s right. The light behind my daughter’s eyes could extend to me from the stars, something I can’t continue to deny. Eve clears her throat, “It says… Truth be told, You’re chained to the past, Hold fast Dad, For the Darkness never lasts, Once upon a time, The Morning rose, To greet the tides, And the wave behold, A message among the throes, A message from God, “All are chose.” But you must choose, So read it; Hand in hand, We’ll see this through. I have faith in you.…. Eve ends the poem. I look up, and open tear stained eyes. At this moment, my reality of gray, the smoke that divides, is dust away by my daughter’s final words. My world shatters from the weight of an ounce of truth, more powerful than the pounds of lies. This ineffable garden is so bright and vibrant- a gently painted burn here and there to scorch the fabric of my reality- I continue to weep. I guess I need to, and Eve doesn’t mind. She stands up, and steps to my side, places a hand on my shoulder, and just leaves me in silence. I can hear her smile. I’m reminded that I only lost my daughter because I was lost, and worse than I ever thought I could be. Yet she had faith, and her light endures. It renews me, and my tears turn from sorrow to joy. I finally get to know her. In the story she told, Eve sought to deliver me into the light. Into the place where all colors are one, where they are the most magnificent and awe-inspiring threads weaved into illumination so subtly bright; a place where the tumultuous call of God rings so softly . In this light, we are all children. So I tell you my story, and even though I never got a chance to know you, and never will, I have faith in you. Does that mean anything? I think it does. In the words of someone who should be famous, “All are chose.” So choose.