He felt like a twenty year old. His body was nimble and spry, as if it had suddenly been released from a long bondage. There was not a single ache or weary muscle; every limb moved freely, strong, and supple, even his hair was thick and full and though he couldn’t see it, he knew it was black again. He could see clearly over the distant expanse, featureless, neither light nor dark. He could see every molecule of air for miles and miles. Though there was not a single feature of landscape or sky, the place did not seem empty. It was full, surrounding him, engulfing him with sensation that massaged every sense with ecstasy. Every smell he had ever known filled his nostrils, merged together, yet each identifiable. Every taste, every sensation that had ever touched the tips of his fingers and every pore of his skin, every sound and every magnificent sight that had ever come into his vision was there, within him, around him, one with him. Absorption into inevitability, painful yet exquisite in its ultimate beauty, like departing into birth. It drew him like a siren upon the shore of paradise. Yet he was still attached to the old place. He struggled to free himself from the glue of life, like a fly trying desperately with its whole being to free itself from the sticky trap of the honey pot. He could feel himself slowly, bit by bit, pulling free, but he was not yet there.
The sound of a pendulum clunked in his brain, like the sound of iron dropping into place. It was his time.
It is him. I know him, yet I don’t. I am in this dark place yet it is full of light, there is no end to the expanse, no up or down, nor left or right. I am standing on firmament yet there is nothing beneath me. Nothing but he and I, yet I have the sense there are hundreds or thousands, perhaps millions of faces just beyond sight. There are orbs of all sizes floating in the thick ether, rising, falling, taking new shape, absorbing into each other, separating. There are millions, billions, perhaps trillions of them, each individual yet freely able to meld into others, become one and then separate once more and become a new orb. It is like staring at the countless multitude of stars and star dust in the heavens.
He looked younger than he should have looked.
“Did your God turn his back on you? Why even believe in that shit?” he said to me.
“What do you mean? Of course I believe in God. What a blasphemous thing to say,” I said. Belief or not in God has never occurred to me, though I have often been drawn like water flowing down a hill into the old beliefs, my Pagan Gods, as Christians call them. After all, there are many, serving different callings and desires. How can one God be pious and unspoiled and yet be a trickster, a warrior, a lover and all other things that men are.
“It isn’t real,” he said.
Why say such things to me? I had not been thinking about God or even the bishop or priest.
“It doesn’t matter if it isn’t real, though I don’t see how I could change my thinking after living my entire life with him embedded in it. He is like my arm or leg, or the heart that pumps my blood, a part of me that I could not survive without. Why say such a thing to me? In this place, this time? Is not the purpose of life to know God while here on this earth? Who are you? Where are you? I cannot see you but I can hear you in my mind. What is happening?”
“God is just the name we call it. It is that thing that is within you, that thing that is you. We are God. All of us, all things that exist, in all time and all places. I can see it clear as day now.” He said to me, “it’s too late now. You can’t get away. It will be as it has always been. I’m sorry, but don’t worry, it will all be okay.”
“Are you the troll?” I asked.
I was afraid to my core, yet my body tingled with the anticipation of impending joy.
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