For years after the death of my best friend and spiritual guide, I would dream about him being alive again. We would talk but I never got the chance or courage to ask him where he had been. So this is a fantasy extension of that dream.
“The dream came back and you my best friend Robert came to me again. This time we talked of where you had been since you died.
“Everywhere I had missed going”, was what you said. “New York, Paris, Calcutta, Des Moines.”
But I said, “We went to Paris together in ’90 and you were so cold, don’t you remember?”
“That explains it. If I am cold, it is as if I were not there.”
“I see. So apart from tourism, what else of after death can you tell me?”
“Well the judgment part is swift but kindly, and things I had thought bad were not it seems because my intent was not faulty.”
“Did you meet God?” ……………Well, I had to ask, I might not get another chance.
“No, it was sort of, like, getting a passport; lot’s of hanging around. Then a few moments with a slightly higher up being — not even an archangel.”
“All very kind and benign.” I prompted. “And then?”
“Well, I seemed to hear voices asking me questions, and that took a while as I had to meet with each voice, Mother, Dad, Aunty Enid, David and of course Susanne. All those people I had loved. It was nice but not, you know, actually special. You see none of them seemed to know they were in heaven. In fact, it seemed to me that they were where they wanted to be, such as, a very polite English, tea time heaven with no emotional upsets, where the cucumber sandwiches never run out, and the little fancies were always moist. Where there is always a supply of every kind of tea and the napkins and cosies were in pastel tones, not gold. Where the light through the french windows was soft and pellucid.”
I said, “Well that and the tourism does not sound like much of a heaven, don’t you think?”
“Ah Edmund”, he smiled, “their images were very small and cosy, just like they were/are.”
He continued, “My cousin Shirley is a movie star in Hollywood, now she is dead and makes high art films and is acclaimed. I feel the cherubs who are her companions must get bored with the constant praise she needs. But then in heaven I guess constant praise is fairly standard.”
There was so much I wanted to know but slowly he drifted off into the distance, waving now and then in an abstracted manner, much as in life, as it is in dreams.
Then I was in a private Lear Jet, with a steward to wait on me. He was smiling always. He said,
“Don’t worry too much Edmund, Robert had a small English domestic imagination.”
He said, “Everyone gets what they really need here.” “All else is sorted elsewhere, we need not be concerned, just happy.” He smiled and before I could question him he told me to ‘Fasten my seat belt’, as we would soon be landing as Chris was just coming upstairs with the breakfast and I had to wake.”
“Don’t worry about this.” he said, “Life is the one to worry about: get that as right as you can. We will look after you….well…After, and your worries and petty little guilts are to us as nothing. Most people do not have it in them to transgress on the grand scale. Life is in fact almost self regulating, why else do you think that horrors exist if not to clear away the clutter before you leave the world you know”.
Then like a kaleidoscope turning, all became clear and I could see the full picture, just for a fleeting moment.
Then everything faded away and I woke up with a slightly baffled smile.
Copyright 2012 Edmund Preston