Martin entered the space of solitude. What was wrong with him? Everyone was happy and content. There were no worries, no pain, and no feelings of loss. Everything was in place to nurture understanding and spiritual growth. The strong understanding that those left behind would be coming unto this realm at their time was enough to calm everyone’s hearts and leave them at peace in this place of hereafter.
But Martin never got to experience any of those calming feelings. He was ever troubled with the loss of his life, being ripped from two parents that loved him dearly and a home that he’d never wanted to leave. There was no period of adjustment for him. The only experience for Martin was prolonged loss. His changing physical appearance did nothing to reflect the distance between himself and his former eight year old self. If he had his way, he would revert right back to his world of bicycles and pizza dinners, video games and soccer tournaments.
Kassie was sitting in social studies. She sat next to Yonnie and the two of them usually talked right through class. When the teacher caught them, they texted. Either way, it helped pass the time. Teachers didn’t understand, but in the age of technology, kids could listen and text and do a whole host of things simultaneously. Just sitting in class doing one task was painful. At home, any kid was bound to be watching at least one show on tv, but was probably bouncing back and forth between two, while talking to friends on Facebook and texting with others. All balls stayed in the air. Nothing went wrong. Oh yeah, and all that was done while they were doing their homework. So sitting in class expected to do one measly assignment at a time was torture. Nobody could sit still without talking or texting or both.
Martin was motionless. His closed his eyes and he saw the back of a head. Not just any head, but that of Jessica Sterling. But how could he know her? Keeping his eyes closed, Martin looked to the left and noticed Yonnie looking at him with an odd expression on her somehow familiar face. Then she spoke and Martin’s world turned upside down.
“Kassie, what is it with you?”
Kassie didn’t answer. So Martin willed her lips to move and said, “Oh, nothing.”
And that’s when he heard it for real, for the first time. The voice that he heard when he was submitting to his calm state. That voice that accompanied his lost feelings and grounded him. That voice that saw him through an eight year old existence and beckoned him to go further with her as she reached each birthday, not wanting to leave him behind.
Kassie sat in a trance. She was keenly aware of things around her, but it was as if she was watching a movie instead of seeing through her own eyes. She heard Yonnie speak to her and heard herself answer. She realized that she wasn’t alone. He was with her.
Shivers ran across her body as she began trembling in true fear now. Morgan stared at her shaking her arm. “Kassie, what is it? What’s happening to you?”
And Martin answered as truthfully for himself as he did for Kassie, “I don’t know.”
Kassie abruptly stood up and approached her teacher’s desk.
“Mr. Erlichman, I need to go to the bathroom,” and without waiting for a response she turned toward the door and walked out. She took a deep breath as she entered the hallway, trying to give her nerves a chance to settle down. She didn’t know if she was the one who had decided to leave the class.
Then she heard the voice.
“Close your eyes.”
Kassie jumped out of her skin and spun around. She wasn’t quite surprised to see that no one was there.
Get a grip, she thought to herself. This was insane. Then she heard it again, more forcefully this time.
“Close your eyes.”
Frozen in place this time, Kassie pressed her open palms to the sides of her legs and breathed deep. She felt as if she were standing at the edge of a 20 foot diving board ready to jump off the first time.
And just like that she did it. And her world forever changed.