Got to get back to the garden
It was supposed to be something along the lines of a sentimental journey. It was a vain attempt to retrace the steps he had taken before wandering off the path. More than a year had passed since the traveler's last visit to the place he referred to as his "church." There didn't seem to be much reason to go back.
Three years had passed since the last details unwound themselves. Three queens were supposed to reveal themselves and from them he was to learn the answer to a riddle. They were perhaps only the description of a riddle, for although he tried to convince himself he understood the meaning of the riddle, none of the solutions he came up with left him satisfied. It was three years since the last of the three queens left the church. In their absence the traveler could only imagine the building would cease to radiate the kind of metaphysical energy it once had.
"What do you believe in?"
The traveler awoke that morning with a strange sensation that would later manifest itself in a powerful desire to return to the restaurant he called his church. Like a siren song carried by the wind, he could not escape it. There was time. He waited until evening was upon him and drove out to the church. His only intent was to have a couple of beers, remember times gone by, and head home satisfied that this chapter of his life's story was over.
"You will have no doubt and the sky will turn to gold."
There were riddles within the riddle, and this one had taken on a life of its own. As he drove, he could see the sky behind him and it glowed with the setting sun. The sky had turned to gold, this time behind him, leading him to believe it was a sign that the story was over and behind him now. He took comfort in the sign.
The bar and lounge area of the church had been almost completely redesigned. Change was evident, but the place remained familiar. He sat down at the bar. The bartender was the only employee of this church remaining from the days of the three queens. He didn't know she still worked there. It had been a long time since he set foot on this once personally sacred ground.
There had been a funeral.
Christina had been twenty-five years old when she died, having unwillingly walked past the goalposts after a lifelong illness. The bartender had been her best friend. The traveler sensed his random notion to visit the old church was more than just chance. There was a story to be told. Having heard only small slices of the man's story over the years, the bartender figured he might be able to understand what was on her mind. Others said she was stressed and hallucinating. The man who sat at her bar had moved fifteen hundred miles in order to understand a dream. Now she had a dream of her own.
"She came to me in a dream.
It wasn't like a dream, though.
I could swear she was really there."
The traveler's experience with death and the appearance of recently deceased persons made the bartender's story most interesting to him. Their mutual friend had appeared to both of them on the night of her funeral. Her presence was so powerful that it left both of them uncertain if they were awake or dreaming. The message Christina gave to each of them was quite different. In the vision of her friend, the bartender, she was at first panicked. She told her "I am still alive. Why are they trying to kill me?" Then she would appear again, happy and at peace, her beauty restored to its fullest potential and all signs of her illness and treatment gone. She asked her friend how her funeral was. Her friend responded by asking, "Weren't you there?" Christina laughed and told her she had not. "I've been busy."
In life we tend to show bits and pieces of ourselves to different people. We share sides of ourselves with those we believe will be accepting and hide other sides of ourselves we believe will be rejected or scoffed at. It is rare when we find one person with whom we can be completely open. Even a spouse or lifetime partner usually doesn't know everything about a person. Some pieces stay locked inside. There are some things we might never share with anyone.
The traveler knew things about Christina that her best friend did not know. The friend knew more details about her life than the traveler. After all, Christina and the traveler had only briefly been lovers and remained distant friends after that. Still, he was the only one who knew that she believed she would not live very long. She planned for the future and spoke of brilliant things that would happen with her career, her future home and the great life she would have. To the traveler she confessed that she did in fact want these things, but they were a dream she clung to as she lived in denial. She had a strong feeling that her cancer was not completely gone from her body and would return. And it did.
"It is part of my religion."
Each person is a mystery, adrift in their own personal universe making connections and trying to understand themselves. Most do it unconsciously, finding ways to distract themselves, others are conscious of their journey. Like the traveler, they are trying to understand why they are here. The dead that walk among you have a need to understand. The difference between "Why am I here?" and "Why am I still here?" is very big. The nature of the difference can only be truly understood if you are one of us. Otherwise it is merely conjecture. Death and birth are not all that different. They are beginnings. The death of someone close can often be a sign and they are often the ones who are giving the directions. Before you accept that you have passed on from one frame to the next, you often fight and try to reclaim what once was. Sometimes the soul gets trapped between two worlds. Sometimes it shines brightly for just long enough to show a path that was forgotten.
The traveler had forgotten.
Now he remembers.
It has been two months since my last confession. The journey continues, as do the distractions.