My new surroundings beckoned. My insatiable curiosity turned outward, rather than within. I wanted to know what it was. To experience the discovery of this place anew, as if I’d never died before. Truly, it was everything and nothing. Light and dark…but I’d thought this already. Most imperatively, it was whatever my mind believed it to be.
All at once, I could see the construction of it. Like the bridge in that children’s movie The Last Mimzy, it was geometrically perfect. It was mathematical, this spider’s web, and that was only the infrastructure of a single thread. Countless threads had been woven into the blank canvas of Paradise, awaiting the individual artist to render it alive. Breathing. Existing, because I needed it to exist. This was the fabric of Heaven. This was the birth of Summerland.
How brilliant! How illuminatingly, inexorably brilliant!
It sang the glory of every religion and mocked the very presence of them simultaneously. Or perhaps, it was only the separation of them. For the afterlife was completely personalized. Heaven – but, of course! One person’s idea of heaven would not fit everyone’s ideal! My mind feels shattered, as if I can inspect each broken prism separately in a kaleidoscopic spiral of reasoning. These stunning bits did not lay themselves out in order for me right away, though. They fit back together again along the course of receiving answers to questions I could no longer contain, like a three-dimensional puzzle. Humpty Dumpty’s shell reconstructed Fabergé. Finally, having the need, I found my own voice in the ether.
“Where is here?” I ask.
“In between,” The reply came from both the detached voice and my ever-expanding wisdom.
Perfect. It was the way station. The place just beyond the veil of the living and far before the final place of rest. I imagined a vast, wide-open train depot where bullets made of iridescent metal shimmered like stardust, as they zipped along crystalline tracks… and it became so.
My body seemed to pull itself together without much effort. Grains of matter flying through dimensions of overlapping continuum to manifest a reality where I needed it to be. I was standing then, just as surely as I’d been floating, but not on the platform. I was merely an observer, beyond its right shoulder in some kind of open forum, a true Piazza Paradiso. A gathering of comings and goings with countless passerby always in a rush. Time meant nothing anymore. Why was this the most difficult concept to accept? The people slowed down, began socializing and returning the friendly waves from those already seated in windows upon the trains. For with my changed perception, I had made it so.
“Time means everything to us in life,” The voice commented, only it was no longer detached.
It belonged to the early-thirties man to my right. He wore khaki slacks with a white button down, and I seemed incapable of manipulating that fact.
“My own thoughts work here, as well,” He pointed out. “You have some idea of the In Between.”
Translucent pools ran over the edges of floating isles skirted with flowering shrubbery; waterfalls running serenely into others hovering at varying heights. They seemed to serve no other purpose than to be aesthetically pleasing against the backdrop of endless Universe. The terminal was an interwoven array of catacombs constructed from pearl-white marble. Their flying buttresses pulled at my inner explorer. Bridges and tunnels made of white, bone thin arches a hundred feet high, disappeared around distant bends. It was all reminiscent of French Gothic and Gaudi. Barcelona was Heaven inside of Notre Dame and I’d love to see how Rob Alexander would paint it.
“Which train would you ride?” My companion asked at length.
Looking through the star clusters taking shape right before my eyes, my peacefulness hiccuped and the novas lost a bit of their shimmer.
“I have to decide here.”