On Easter Sunday (Josh Luna Cover)
I was in the bar and it had this skylight that was interesting. If you were not believing in a heaven or hell, you would still note the amount of heaven in the bar. You know how the pictures are, shafts of sunlight descending from the clouds, so pure, so empowering to your inside, that it feels as if souls are already rising high into the light. That was the kind of skylight that lit up the large room and then some soft music played and I was alone, at the end of the bar. It smelt like some sort of cinnamon too.
The bartender had returned from wherever he had gone to and he was already stocking the glasses of his regulars with my favorite thing. They frequently joked that he had bled it out when clearly he was doing something even more marvelous with the tap water from the bar. They had gotten used to this. I had not. Not at all. I was not even like them yet. These guys had saved the world countless times over and I kept asking myself, what the hell was I doing in a bar with guys that had saved the world countless times over?
It was this inferiority complex that kept me to my end of the bar, glass empty and not even bothering to ask for a refill. Who would I talk to amongst any of them? I wasn’t even real to them.
It was the bartender that suddenly appeared before me with a transparent jug of water. He cocked his head to one side. I had nodded. I had also wondered what the spiky laurel like thing was doing on his head. Was this the reverse Olympics? Where they decorated heroes with thistles instead of laurels? It was until I considered his life that I managed to get the image of that crown of pain down, with the last sip from my cup. He looked at me patiently with kind eyes.
'So, what is your deal? You have been her for…twenty two days and all those day you have been really blue. What is on your mind?'
'How original. You have been on Facebook too long?'
'What me? N. Although I have several accounts run by several people, organizations too. Plus I just returned. It has not even been four hours.'
'And you are already hard at work, I see.'
'Well, the wine is not going to pour itself.'
I managed a smile. He was still the same. It was such a shame that people never liked to banter with him. Always expecting him to say a word that will turn their lives around, deep profound stuff. No one expected him to be a conversationalist. They never understood that banter with him was like a dance of friendship and his world knowledge made it all the more delectable. I have learned a lot from our dances.
'But seriously talk to papa,' he asked as leaned on the bar. I pushed my glass to him and transparent became yellow.
'I see you have diversified into white wines.'
'I can pour you a beer.'
'No, that would be too liberal.'
He let out a chuckle. Someone, a guy, bald and tattooed called for a refill. I recognized him but all I could remember about him was that he could fly. The bartender said he was coming but when they asked again. He tightened the cap of the jug between us and then pushed it to slide across the bar. It rode straight until it ended up in the cupped palm of the bald guy and by then, it was red. I marveled at this new trick. The bartender had the corner of his eyes wrinkled when our eyes met. We were silent as he waited for me to speak. He wore a robe, thick and shiny with a maroon tassel across his neck. I understood that at this period he had to wear his traditional clothes, to honor the season. And also, the crown of thorns which I think he should have taken off by now. He saw studying the crown of thorns and starts to scowl.
'We are not changing the topic until I know what is going on with you.'
I looked into my glass. 'How did you stay buried?' I asked.
He acquired this confused look on his face. 'Err…I was dead.'
'No not that, silly. I mean t figuratively. Your first thirty years. You were hidden despite the fact that you knew what to do since you were twelve. That is like eighteen years of standing out naked and cold knowing fully that there is a sweater inside and watching the world burn while cold. How did you do it?'
He looked past me at the door for a while. Someone had come in. A girl in a jacket and she was looking lost. However, her look changed when this giant creature came into the room from the back. It looked like a man but it had some inhuman teeth, black lips and black hair. If I wasn’t mistaken, it looked like some kind of grim reaper. His skin too and the edges of clothes frayed. He was corresponding with a gentleman in a suit. A somewhat calm one and it was this gentleman that put the girl at ease. He said something to the creature and the creature grinned at the girl. She shook a little but then stepped forward when another thing of musculature, dark spiky hair, orange clothes and muscles—have I mentioned the muscles before—motioned her over. Despite his overbearing muscles, he looked terribly harmless. She took a seat beside the bald guy.
The bartended focused on me now.
"If you are asking about the lost years, I think we have talked about it before. You know I travelled around the world, the regions you now call Phoenicia and the old Assyrian tribes. My people were exiled far and wide and I reached out to the outlying Jewish settlements to reconnect them and this helped because after the sacking of Jerusalem, the ousted Jews had places to go to. Because I had reconnected with some of those settlements. I didn’t just pray all the time. We talked about people and places, else why do you think I was able to rally seventy people and send them about Asia. In those days we did not have countries like you do now. The world was very much like your Nigeria, one region, but numerous kingdoms and tribes, up to like five hundred minorities. You ever wondered why I was at home wherever I went. I made friends in those places and I taught their traditions to people I sent out. I did not really have a house and Martha’s house was just not in a place like Tyre or Joppa, you know. I spent time with people, connecting, loving, accepting. It really helped me because I grew more tolerant of people. I was nearly always in the company of the societal rejects and sometimes, they are all not misunderstood. Some are actually just out to hurt others. Uhm…it was kind of like what you now call networking except that I wasn’t doing it to cash out some big money after thirty days, I mean, years."
We both laughed at his joke.
"It wasn’t only political and messianic. I was deeply interested in the people I had come to live with. I loved them. So, I travelled for them. I did not stay buried per se, I uh…just lived until I was ready. I also enjoyed myself."
He finished with a smile.
"But what if I enjoy myself too much and miss my starting gun?"
He reached across the table and touched my chest, just by the sternum. 'If you listen to your heart, you would know. Like, the world will come to you by itself. Enjoy your burial. Enjoy now. I know I did. You will tomb out soon enough and knowing you, it might probably be a woman that you would see first.'
'Isn’t that exactly like your resurrection whatever?'
'Yes, it is.' He laughed. 'Anyway, you hold on now. I have a new customer.'
I had more questions but I let him be. He strolled back to where the rest of the crowd was.
The girl that had entered was in her somber mood. She had drained her first glass and this time the bartender personally poured her one from a new bottle he had opened.
I was watching them through the camera.
"Hollywood ruined your movie too?"
The muscular guy asked.
Her answer was obvious.
The bartender capped the bottle.
'Welcome to the club. You can tell us all about it.'