Short Story: Emma Rose

The blood withdrew from her extremities. Had she been capable of feeling them, her feet and hands would chill her. She would put on socks and bundle up under her favorite blanket. Maybe she’d have a warm cup of tea in her hands.

But she could do none of that.

While her family helplessly watched her wither up with chill, Emma grew warm in her mind. She was not lying on her bed. She was not feeling the anguish that her family felt for her. She had drifted from that place a timeless period ago.

As her brain ordered more blood for this final task, Emma grew in strength. She lifted herself from the grassy field. The sun shone brightly on her naked skin and she noticed that she was neither tired nor old. Her skin was fresh and at ease. Her legs were taut and had spring. She curled her toes in the grass and looked upon her youth. She felt her strength. She felt vigor course through her blood and she felt life.

She stretched and yawned. Emma lifted a foot and smiled as she tickled her sole on the grass. She closed her eyes and smiled. She took another deep breath and tasted the air. She was by herself, but not alone.

She was beyond thinking or speaking to herself. She had no desire to articulate her experience. She only felt. Every thought was translated into action. There was nothing other than experience. Everything outside of herself was inside her mind, and every emotion was rendered tangible in her physical world. She was at one with her world and there was no separation.

For what we can only describe as forever she enjoyed the physicality of the world around her. She lied down on the soft grass and smiled at its tickle on her skin. She rolled to her stomach, and resting her chin in her hands she looked at the grass and marveled as it glowed. The surrounding trees were soft and it seemed as though even their mighty trunks swayed ever so slightly in the soft breeze. The clouds on the horizon drifted happily over the ground and transformed into mystical shapes. In an other-worldly unison, the birds sang in symphony. Every different species sang together in their unique voices and the melody was beyond description.

She fell asleep. As she slept she dreamed. Emma was on a bed, cold and tired. Her body hurt. “This isn’t real,” she thought. She moaned, pulled her legs to her and hugged herself. Someone put a blanket on her. People spoke. She recognized the voices, but was too tired to place names. She was beyond speech, and could only experience.

“She’s cold, put another blanket on her?”

“Thank you.”

“How long has she been like this?”

“For a few days now. She’s not had anything to drink since last night. She moans sometimes, but hasn’t spoken since Friday.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes. It’s just hard to watch. I try to make her comfortable, but I don’t know if I’m helping.”

“I know… we wish there was more we could do, like we could fix her. But it seems like our work to comfort her is more for us. It’s strange.”

Silence.

“I finally saw that Woody Allen movie you talked about. I enjoyed it. Very funny.”

Emma listened as they talked. In her mind she was happy for them. They talked calmly. They laughed. They were quiet. They cried too. But she did not remember the last time all of these people were together physically and emotionally. Every single person with her was with her, and with one another. Their words and actions were as a whole, with each one as a piece of a bigger puzzle toward the completion of a larger goal. They were all separate physically, but their minds were of one. From the youngest, a child, that tried to understand what was happening, to the oldest son that sat quietly by her bed, beyond description or understanding each individual was united with them all. The only one to see it, eyes closed, was Emma. She relaxed as she felt the warmth of their love.

She relaxed as the warmth of the sun on her skin began to wake her. On her bed she softened and the tension loosed in her limbs. The blood flowed to her extremities and warmed her frail body.

On the grass she stretched, rolled, and looked at where her body had lain for an unknown period of time. She rose with an old, unfamiliar spryness she never remembered, not even as a child. As she rose, she watched the grass spring up and not one blade was crushed or troubled by her presence. All evidence of her nap vanished before her eyes.

Now she noticed the sky. It was bright. Its colors were warm and called to her. Her strength grew and she leapt. She flew several feet into the air without effort. The trees appeared as shrubs. She felt no fear. She stopped ascending and did not fall. She goggled at it all. She felt full of love. It came from some unknown source and poured into her. This love, if that even applied anymore, beckoned her upward. But she was not yet ready to go. The world below still beckoned her. With great ease she lowered herself onto the warm grass and sat.

She had been here forever, but knew that she needed to leave because there were many more things to do and see, but did not know what they were. Yet she wanted one last look at this beautiful place. She softly touched the grass and let it tickle her again. She gazed at life around her and felt a tinge of the deepest sorrow she had ever known. The tinge grew and strengthened. She was filled with a sadness most complete. Tears streamed from her face and fell from her big, clear, beautiful eyes. They crashed onto her hands, legs, and the ground.

On her bed, Emma felt peaceful. It was her greatest effort and her life’s accomplishment to open her eyes and look at her family for one last time. She could not speak for her breathing was hard and her mouth dry. On her back she could see them all. Love poured from her being and emanated to every person in the room. Every one in the room appeared as a child to her, even her children who were advanced in age. From her, all these had sprung. She loved them. She could see they were sad. She hurt for them. Everyone was touching her, and she remembered being an infant, and the touch brought comfort. She closed her eyes.

Everyone knew that all was not well, but all was as it should be. Young and old alike, they shed tears through their words to Emma. She heard, “It’s okay. You can go.” She knew they were with her in the grassy field and they heard the sky calling her. Softly, hardly noticeable, she gave one final squeeze to the hands holding hers. She managed to open her eyes for a final look, and then let them finally close.

She took her hands from the grass. She dried her eyes. She stood and rose from the ground. She was ready. She had to find the source of this love and life that was flowing through her. She looked up at the skies and willed herself to rise. And she rose.

The family around her erupted in tears and began their mourning.

The earth beneath her vibrated with joy at the completion of its mission and the birth of its new creation.

Emma rose.

Advertisements