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I am a dead.

I live in the ethers, among angels and wispy things.

After I died, it was an illness that took me, I floated up into that pillar of light you hear people talk about. My mother was there, long gone from the material world, she sat me down for a talk.

It was cloudy and I felt extremely happy, no body pain, or mental tom-foolery. Mother said, “Patricia, you have been a good woman, with four fine boys to speak of. You lived as a pious woman that did the right things, but it’s time for you to live your next life. This one is going to be different. I want you to help people from here, above, from heaven. Will you do this?”

My mother. She looked like she did when I was in grammar school; when I learned my letters. Back then she wore silks and sang to me while I imagined that her rustling skirts were a soothing musical instrument. She was sitting, but I could hear her skirts moving in a slow rhythmic dance. Whoosh, swish, whoosh.

“Patricia, you mustn’t fall into the past just yet.” She smiled and touched my hand. Her touch felt watery and soft; thick, like fog, yet safe. That contact went into me, not on me like a human hand, into me. I nodded. “So you agree?” I nodded again. Perhaps I was hypnotized by the unconditional love or the dreamy place I sat with my deceased mother. My agreement came from somewhere inside of me, a deep place that I was not familiar with, I agreed with my soul.

“Mother, what is my soul?” I asked.

“Ah, yes, you have agreed then. You see, beloved, you have part of God in you. Your Creator exists everywhere, even here,” she waved at the room. I studied the chairs and tables where we sat, thinking that it’s obvious what she says and simultaneously, I have no idea what she means.

A moment goes by. I don’t know how to open my experience with words. I am sure it was a moment, but I was able to see all years of my life, and then I could see beyond my birth to other times I had come to Earth for these commitments, or something, where I had a plan that went into effect at birth unbeknownst to my earthen life. I learned, or remembered, how a soul comes to life and what happens when the body dies. So, yes, I agreed to do the thing my mother asked.

Next, I met a man. I knew him, but I met him again. Some memories where foggy, he said it was because I didn’t need them right now. But I knew when I met him that we danced. Not to the cadence of rustling silk, no, we danced like lovers. Our bodies in a rhythm that made people watch. We glided to orchestras and bands; we danced at balls and celebrations. He said that I would always know him through dance, especially the waltz. A simple step where we sailed with the wings of our angels while people watched, thinking we were skating on ice. I felt dreamy when he took my arm and we glided around and around. Then a spin left me standing at the side of a dance floor. Two men were talking, so I waited politely. Their tones were intense, serious. They spoke of war, predicting it, and the taller of the two seemed to be set on seeing it happen.

“What is your opinion?” the shorter man asked me. Apparently, we were on familiar terms, so I dared not ask his name. I looked several feet away to my dance partner. I wondered, do I defer to the masculine opinion, or speak as I might of in my lifetime? I knew this to be another time, European maybe, possibly sixteen or seventeenth century. My friend gives me a no sign, a slight shake of the head, don’t defer. Speak, I think, and he nods just a little.

I turn to the men and say, “Good evening gentlemen. I seemed to have come at the perfect time to remind you that war kills both sides. No one really wins. Which one of you would sacrifice your son or nephew to have a piece of land?”

The man on my right, the taller one, drops his jaw and clears his throat. “Why, miss, you speak of death when there is only discussion.”

With a slight curtsy, I reply, “Yes, of course, I apologize. My mind hears war and thinks of loss, not gain.”

The taller continues, “Indeed, a female perspective. Men must use their higher intelligence, and not their hearts to maintain peace in the land.”

“And I am sure that you will do so, sir.” I reply demurely.

The shorter man speaks, “Miss, please tell us what you would change, were you born in the hierarchy.”

Worried, I check with my friend who still stands nearby, he gives me an affirmative tilt of his head. My confidence increases, but not enough, “Well, change is a grand idea. Possibly I would change the curtains in the drawing room, they’re ghastly.”

Everyone laughs. “And after?” the man on my left inquires.

I nod, conceding that I dodged the question. “After, I would sit with leaders from other lands and ask them how they maintain peace. I would confer with successful people, business men, mothers, religious leaders. I would encourage people to volunteer to help others. Much of this has been done, it is not a revelation.”

Shorter man, “Ah yes, but I think you have stalled on courtesy. What would you ask, say, a Swahili leader?”

I must set the stage; something is happening here, “If he were an aged man with children, a leader of many years, I would ask him about his wife.”

Taller man, “His wife?”

“Yes, I would ask him how his wife interferes when his children fight and I would ask if she teaches him through words or actions,” I reply.

Taller man, “Him? Ha! A woman does not teach a man through words or actions. Her life and chores are handed down through generations. A man must reinvent himself often. That is the challenge, not fighting children and bickering babies.”

The other man laughs. “John, were you not taught by your mother how to interact in life? Did not your mother’s womb give you what you have now to lead? I think the miss here offers the idea that we come from something and if we lose it, we become barbarians that look to no authority. And that my friend, is what war is. Not plans drawn from the study of our King and Queen, but from battlefields where our sons and nephews lay down their lives so that our ideas can sustain. Is that what you mean, miss?”

Suddenly, my dance partner is there and begs the pardon of both men, he whisks me into a dance. “Well done.”

After an elegant twirl, I ask, “What did I do?”

“What you always do, you started something.”

We lift up, rising above the dance floor while two people are still dancing below. She is not me, and he is not my lovely ethereal friend. I see that we occupied them for a moment.

My friend explains, “Nothing invasive or dangerous. These are souls in service, and you were able to joust with the men a little better than the young woman you see dancing below. She is only seventeen and both men will think of her for a long time. She, on the other hand, barely remembers what was said during this very important conversation. But she holds the frequency of your words which will help her to be the light and love that she can be in her life.”

I am at the small table again, with my mother. She nods to me, and I feel myself smiling. She tells me, “You are good at your new life. I knew you would be.”

My new life.

My new life as an angel.

originally written 2013.10.28
1366 word count