They walked in silent contentment for a long time; Ethan occasionally taking bewildered glances at his angelic companion.  He felt like he knew her, had always known her, but at the same time every time he looked at her, Ethan felt like he was seeing for the first time.  Not just seeing her, but seeing at all, as if she made the world new around him by her presence.  Each moment was like being recreated, born again.

            Before following the path, she had given him soap so that he could take a proper bath in the pond.  He felt himself blushing as he cleansed himself, knowing that she was standing only a few yards away with her back to him for propriety’s sake.  She blushed and smiled to herself, knowing that she had seen him every day of his life and that there were no surprises for her.  Nonetheless, she couldn’t help peeking over her shoulder.

            After his makeshift bath, Mara gave him new clothes, light coloured for the desert.  She shaved him, holding him in her lap to use a razor, stroking away years of beard growth and trimming his hair.  Her soft fingers played over his smooth cheeks and he looked up at her with a grin, his eyes sparkling.

            Now they were walking on the green carpet, soft as moss beneath their feet.  It was a comfort for Ethan after years walking over sand and stone.  His new light boots were a luxury after going barefoot so long.  He couldn’t remember ever feeling so good.

            At night they slept together on the green sward, Mara putting an arm over him as they spooned, her wings unfurling like a blanket overtop them.  He nestled in and slept without dreams for the first time in years, and she slept for the first time in her whole life, feeling more at peace in that one night than in all her years in Heaven.  She awoke before him, and smiled as he opened his eyes, looking at her with wonder and love.

            “I love you,” they both whispered.

            They walked all day, hardly speaking.  Ethan was basking in Mara’s presence, at a loss for words, while she was simply happy to be present to him now.  She had seen his whole life and did not need to discuss it, had no need of anything but him.  Eventually however, the loquacious young man found his voice again.

            “I feel like I’ve always known you.”  Ethan said.

            “You have.  I was always with you.”  Mara smiled.

            He blushed.  “I mean, it’s like I always knew that.  On some level, anyway.  All the things I searched for, all the places I looked for love…  I was looking for you.”

            “And now you’ve found me.” 

            “It’s silly.  Every Hallmark card in existence suddenly makes sense to me, and before I just thought they were lame.”

            Mara smiled.  “They’re still overly sentimental, it’s just that you’re still in shock.  My beauty has that effect.”

            He caught her playful smirk.  “I didn’t know angels were allowed a sense of humour.”

            “Well, I’m not your typical angel.”

            The path they were following turned north, and they continued to walk.  It was so odd to see deathly scorching sand on either side, and yet be walking on plush green grass and flowers.  Ethan looked up at Mara.

            “Where does the path come from?”

            “God,”  she said, as if it should be obvious.  “We’re following a path of faith.”

            “What do you mean?”

            She waved her hand to encompass the wilderness around them.  “This place is not the ‘real’ world.  Think of it as a physical representation of spiritual and symbolic realities.  The world you know has a faith that is dying, like this desert here.  Sometimes there are deep wellsprings of faith, like the pool we left yesterday.  Now, we follow in the footsteps of faithful people.”

            “Who?”

            “Your sisters.  They’re travelling from your home northwards, but they will soon turn into the west.”

            Ethan blinked.  “That’s not possible.  I started in the west, in British Columbia.  And I walked west.  Gwen was in Ontario, that’s east.  How are they ahead of me?”

            Mara laughed.  “I told you this isn’t the physical world.  Distances are not the same here.  You’ve walked for as long as your journey needed to be.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you were going anywhere.”

            Ethan scratched his head, trying to wrap his brain around the idea.  They walked on.  Whether they walked for hours or days Ethan could not tell, every moment with Mara seemed fresh, as if past and future no longer mattered.

            “You were always with me?”

            “Always.”  She smiled warmly, as if proud of the fact. 

            “Why couldn’t you show yourself until now?”

            She almost frowned for the first time, looking up for a scant instant.  “I wasn’t allowed.  Gambiel or my father Raphael always took visitation duties, except food deliveries while you were sleeping.  Somebody upstairs decided it was best to prevent us from building too much rapport.”  Her voice held a twinge of bitterness.

            “But you’re here now.”

            “Yes.”  Mara smiled again.  “Happily so.  There’s a lot going on in the world, everyone else was busy so God finally sent me.  Plus, I pulled a few strings.”

            “Raphael’s your father?”

            “Yes.”

            “I like him.”  Ethan said.

            “Me too.”

            “Want to know a secret?”  Ethan asked.

            “What’s that?” Mara responded.

            “I love you.”

<<Previous   Next>>

Advertisements