If I Were to Say that I Was Lost, Do You Think You Could Find Me?

The walls of the room are faux oak paneling. It looks cheap. The baseboard is dirty; cobwebs fill the corners. Sporadic fluorescent lights illuminate the room. One in the back, away from the circle of chairs, is flickering. The chairs spread out in an enclosed circle. It’s a small circle in a big room. The late night crowds are smaller than most. At this point all the chairs are empty. A small crowd gathers around the coffee and pastries at the back under the flickering light.

The group leader is taking her seat in the circle indicating it’s time to begin. The crowd disperses. Each takes one of the hard orange vinyl chairs. Coffees in hands. Pastries dangling from mouths. The few regulars try to get their regular seats. They say hi to their regular neighbors. They cross their regular legs over their regular knees in their regular way. Those here for the first time scan the room for pleasant faces. Judging one face against the next, hoping to either make a connection or avoid a connection. The group settles in. The murmurs taper. Some of the chairs are empty, but again, it’s a late meeting and a Wednesday, church night.

“Alright, everybody. Welcome. Welcome. I see some new faces today. So, like every other meeting, I would like to start off with a little introduction to the group. This is Souls’ Harbor. A support meeting for those finding the transition to Heaven difficult to deal with.

“Some of you’ve been here for years. Some for days. But you share one thing. A discomfort. Or a difficulty coping with this new world, and that is what Souls’ Harbor is here for. It’s a place where we can share and listen and learn something from one another. So, let’s get started. My name is Mary,” the group leader, says.

“Hi, Mary,” the crowd replies; a few nod.

“I have been in Heaven now for twenty-three years, two months, and seventeen days. The thing I miss most about home is going to the grocery store. I know it sounds real simple, but when I would go to the grocery store it was never with a list. You know how most everyone makes a list. Well, I never did. I’d walk down the aisle and whatever I felt like or thought was good, or had never tried before, I dropped it in the basket.

“It became almost addictive. But I loved it. Here, with the rations, it’s completely different. The checklist is the worst. I hate it when the checklist comes because it’s this scaled down version of grocery aisles. All these great foods. Vanilla Wafers. Oreo Cookies. Tortillas. Ham. Reduced to words on paper. Sure it sounds good when you order. But a week later you pick up the things from your list and you’ve lost all desire for that item.” Mary scans the room.

“Now. One thing I love about Heaven is the people. Sooooo many people. Each day it’s a new face. A new story. A new identity and I can’t wait to wake up and meet the new arrivals or take a trip to meet new people. That for me is what Heaven is about. Like tonight, I can’t wait to hear from the new people here.” Pause. “Okay, who wants to go first?”

The group stays silent until a timid hand opposite Mary raises.

“Go ahead,” Mary says, smiling. She sits straight in an uptight schoolmarm sort of way. The pedantic manner that says she’s in charge of this meeting, but the truth is different. She needs the group as much as, if not more than, they need her. Her long red hair sits high on her head. It’s held there by unseen pins. Her skin is pale with rouge cheeks, painted red lips. She’s tried to cover the black circles under her eyes with a smooth layer of base. She looks like aristocracy posing as an average person. Her dress is pastel green and tight. Its pure sexual contours negate the uptight demeanor she exudes. She is sexy but sexless.

“Uhm, my name is Tom.” The timid hand raiser says.

“Hi Tom,” the group replies.

Tom is sixteen. Barely into high school. He’s skinny with delicate features. His hair is strategically disheveled. The kind of hair that takes an hour to make it look like he just got out of bed. On his shirt is a name of a flash-in-the-pan-pseudo-rock-band with one hit song and no future. He’s scared as the youngest member of this support group, but the fear is what is driving him to speak tonight.

“I, uh, have been in Heaven now for three days. Uhm, I died in a car wreck and I thought that I would meet my girlfriend here but I can’t seem to find her. Or know how to find out anything. I’m lost.” He chuckles. “I don’t understand anything here. I feel very alone. Everything appears to be like home, but nothing is. It’s like those paintings with the dots Mrs. Hart use to talk about. The ones made of the smaller colored circles that individually make up nothing. I look around and think: ‘Okay I can do this.’ Then I walk into a building or a shop and nothing makes sense. I don’t know how I get things. I don’t know where I live. I don’t know how to eat. Do I eat? What happens if I don’t eat? I’m hungry, but three days now and I look and feel the same.” He pauses.

His chin rubs against his chest. His distant eyes focus on the tips of his shoes. The others look at each other and back to Mary expecting her to intervene. She looks at Tom as if she knows he’s not finished.

“There’s no orientation, you know. And I don’t know, maybe there’s a suggestion box somewhere, so I can mention that. I don’t know who to ask. I’ve just been wandering around for three days. I know I should be tired, but I’m not. I don’t know… It’s too much for me. I need to go home.” Tom begins to sob.

“I saw the door, and I smelled the coffee. So, I came in, and it seemed like a good idea, but now I’m here and…” His neighbors pat his back. A tall slender man from a few chairs over walks behind Tom and rubs his shoulders.

“Don’t worry son,” William, the tall slender man, says, “after this meeting, you can come home with me. We’ll figure this out. Alright?”

Tom looks up and sees everyone staring at him with their “Poor Kid” faces.

“Thanks, everyone,” Tom says. He lifts his hand and grabs William’s and raises his face. “Thank you. I bet I look ridiculous right now. Sorry, please.”

“Not at all Tom. Not at all. Good, good. Welcome, Tom. Welcome to Heaven. See, it’s all about the people. We all need to remember to step up and help each other. Great guys. I’m proud. Alright, who’s next?” Mary says. She smiles and looks around.

“I’ll go,” Meredith says. “My name is Meredith.”

“Hi, Meredith.”

“This isn’t my first night.” Looks over to Mary. “Mare and I have been in this group for what? Eight years? Is that right? Anyway, at least eight years. Yikes. Has it been that long? Anyway. I have been here in Heaven for twelve. And believe me, those first four were rough. I was like you, Tom. Lost. And you’re right there is no orientation, although, I wish there had been.” She chuckles and pushes her glasses further up her nose. Her curly blonde hair hangs above her ears. One could label her a tomboy not knowing her distaste for all things dirty. She speaks with her hands.

“In a way, it’s like being born again, but without parents there to guide you. Remember in college when you thought: I wish I could go back to high school with the knowledge I have now. When you thought: if I were as I am now, I would have been the coolest kid in school.

“Sometimes, I feel like that’s what happened, but there was a mix-up, and I was sent back in time to someone else’s high school. Does that make any sense?”

“Sure it does,” Mary says.

“Well, I know what I know, and have always known, but it’s not the world I knew. What I miss about home is not knowing what’s coming next. Like, I had faith that there was a God. But in the back of my mind, there was that feeling that there isn’t and after we die that’s it. Like boom! Dead. Darkness. A little dramatic, but that was a great feeling. It gave me this live-for-the-day mentality. But here, I don’t have that. Here I know this is it. I know that nothing comes after this. We’re stuck here forever. That, to me, is a little depressing and scary.

“I liked the finality of life. But of course, I’m glad it’s this way. I’m thankful that at least I got this, but now what gets me through the day is telling myself that there has to be more. There might be something else out there. It’s something I’ve created to make the day more bearable despite the reality of the situation. I have no reason to believe there is more, other than my own hope that more does exist.”

“What do you guys think? How do you feel about finally knowing the truth and knowing that this may be the final step?” Mary says.

“Well,” Michael says, “I personally agree with…uh…Meredith? It’s one of the things that’s hardest to deal with. What do I do now? Every day I spend it trying to figure out what to do today. And yes there is a lot of things to do, but as much as I hated routine at home, I hate the lack of routine here. I don’t work. I can’t plan a wedding or name any new kids. I guess I could date, but I’m not sure how that works. I’m married at home. She can date, but can I? When she dies too, are we obligated to reunite? Are we automatically remarried? I don’t understand the rules and there’s no orientation as Tom put it. But I feel happy.

“So, I’m confused. I don’t understand how I can feel one way, but logically, be aware that the feeling isn’t real. Sorry, I don’t think I’m making any sense.”

“I don’t see how any of you made it into Heaven,” Travis says. Travis is in his mid-twenties. His face is burned. His features are indistinguishable. As he speaks the tight skin around his mouth struggles to form the words.

“You seem to have no respect for this place or for God himself.”

“Now wait,” Michael says.

“You had your chance, let me speak,” Travis says. “I came here about four months ago. And every day to me has been an adventure. Every day is a day of exploration. I wake up and think: What can I do today? Not like you though. I think the possibilities are endless. Unlike Mary, I’m glad the pointless things in life have been cut down to two minutes a week. Unlike Meredith, I’m relieved that I no longer have to worry about what’s next. Every day is about that day. And I love it. Sorry, guys, you sound whiny and unappreciative. What’s the alternative?”

“Then why did you come in tonight if everything is so great for you?” Mary says. “I’ve seen you here every Wednesday for two months. You sit there, you listen to everyone, but you never speak. Things can’t be that great. Can they? So, tell us why you came.”

“Uhm. I don’t know. I really don’t,” says Travis.

“Well, think about it and at the end of the hour I’m going to come back to you,” Mary says. “Alright, who’s next?”

“I’ll go. My name is Elizabeth. I have been here for one hundred and seventy-two years. This is my first night here. I am the complete opposite of you, Mary. I can’t stand all the people. When I first got here it was so crowded, but nothing like this. It’s too much for me sometimes. I run into people I don’t know who want to get to know me. They’re excited about being here, and that’s great and all, but leave me out of it. Let me live my life or whatever we want to call it. I miss some of my freedoms. Which for me one hundred and seventy-two years ago were very limited. We still make choices. Nothing has changed, but it seems to me that we live on the verge of being too afraid to make one mistake. We know what happens. We know where you go for ruffling feathers. So, even though we can make decisions, none of us do.

“We make the decisions he wants us to make because we don’t want to go there. We don’t want to be banished. I saw a guy in the ration line the other day. He started some sort of fight or something, and then out of nowhere, an angel came and whisked him away. Banished I’m sure. No trial, no warning, just taken away.

“I miss fighting. I miss yelling at one another and occasionally slapping them. It sounds petty I know, but anger is the ultimate in expression. Now, I don’t express myself out of fear. Fear has become my life. In Heaven, I spend all my days in fear of myself. I’m afraid of what I might do. Sometimes I want to lash out so that I can be banished. Because I think it’s as it was at home. Hell was used as this tool to scare us into obedience, and now I think: forget it. Take me there. I’m ready. For all, any of us know it may, in fact, be Heaven and this is hell. Believe me, this is not what I thought Heaven would be, and, despite all the pain back home, I was much happier than I am here. I wish someone would hit me.” She looks around the room almost daring someone to stand and hit her. The expression fades and now she seems to beg for it. Her sadness is written in her sunken cheeks and discolored eyes.

Mary breaks the silence. “Okay, Elizabeth. Let’s take a breather, okay? Are you alright?”

“Yes. Sorry. Please. Please forgive me,” Elizabeth stands and runs for the door, no one pays her much attention.

“I’ll go check on her,” Meredith says to Mary.

“Okay, now who is going to go next? How about you?” Mary points to a quiet man in the back, tucked away from everyone else. He looks up and glances next to him knowing full well she is talking to him. “Yeah, you.”

Travis raises his hand, “Wait, aren’t we going to address anything she said?”

“I don’t think that would be a good idea tonight, Travis. Let’s let someone else speak, “ Mary says. Travis shakes his head and settles back in his seat.

“Sir, would you?” Mary says again to the man in the back.

“I’d rather not,” Jameson, the quiet man says.

“Then why did you come? You can’t sit here and listen to everyone else. You have to join the conversation. Now come on. Give us a story.”

“Uh. Alright. Uh.” He stands and pulls his chair into the circle. A few people move their chairs making room. He drops the chair with a thud, then settles into it. “Well. I don’t know where to start.”

“Tell us a little bit about you, before you were here. Here in Heaven,” Mary says.

“Okay. Well. My name is Jameson, and I’m retarded,” Jameson says.

“I don’t like that word,” Mary says.

“You know it’s funny when people say that. I remember all types of people. All they would say: ‘I don’t like that word.’ Especially in front of other people. It was like this little moral battle that they could win with that one sentence. I mean who would try to fight that one. But you know, whenever they were alone with me and no one was looking, they all used it. And it seemed to flow rather easy. All them. Like I couldn’t hear or understand. But I remember it. And now that word, retarded, is the only thing that feels right. Because here I know things. I understand things. Here, blue is no longer a feeling, it’s a color. I know what I want to do and why. I know the answers to things that I only felt before. When I’m hungry I can tell you what I want. Challenged. Handicap. It was a state of mind. I was inside myself. And now that I know things, I don’t know anything. I’ve lost touch with the emotions. I have the ability to reason, but I don’t know if I feel like I used to. Everything is so tempered. It’s so level. It’s so boring. I don’t know what I want.

“My family’s here. It’s funny. But they’re all so distant. Because they don’t know how to treat me, how to act. They used to have this way of talking around me that is now obsolete. And although they’re the same. I feel like a stranger. I feel like I don’t belong. It’s so different. It hurts, too. Because I come here and I’m ‘fixed.’ I’m ‘cured.’ And it makes it like there was something wrong with me in the first place. It makes me wonder. If I was broken before, and he could fix me with a snap of his fingers, why didn’t he do it when I was born? Why did he make me that ‘way’? Why let me live a life that way then take it away from me?

“I know all you must think I’m crazy. I mean who wants to be retarded. But I don’t know any other way. I don’t. That word though, I love that word. Retarded… Retarded… It sounds, I don’t know, like life,” he trails off. He stares at the floor thinking about what he said. He lifts his head and stares at Mary.

“Thank you, Jameson. You’re very brave for sharing that with us. Everyone let’s give Jameson a hand,” Mary says and lifts her hands up by her face watching the others as they clap. Jameson forces a smile and nods his head.

“Alright. Who’s next,” Mary says.

A hand pops up next to Mary. A plain woman in her late thirties stands up. She is clean, cute, but plain. Ponytail. Trimmed nails with clear polish. Her makeup is faint to the point of not existing and her attire is sweat pants and a tee.

“Okay, you don’t have to stand though,” Mary says.

“Oh sorry, I’m a little nervous. But I want to share with you guys because, like all you, I’m lost. Seems to be the running theme tonight. Uh, my name is Summer, and I died about three months ago,” Summer says. She pauses and sits back down. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Take your time,” Mary says. She lifts her hand and pats her on the back. The whole group stares at her.

“When I was sixteen I had an abortion. I wasn’t raped. It wasn’t my dad’s. I had sex with my boyfriend. We didn’t use a condom, he didn’t pull out. We took no precautions. It was a completely avoidable situation. It was almost perfect in its entirety. Had I been ten years older I would have been in Heaven, figuratively, of course. Kevin was great. He did everything right. I felt great, and although in the back of my mind I knew this would, or at least could, happen; I did nothing to protect myself. I snuck off, and Kevin never knew. My mom, she, uh, found out somehow. Some protestor knew her and told. I never knew. But what I do remember is that she told me I was going to Hell. She told me that what I did was a sin. I was a murderer.

“For the rest of my life, she hated me. She never forgave me. Every day was a struggle.

“I remember one Christmas, where Dad saw how it was all getting to me. I was twenty-six and my mother still wouldn’t let me forget. Finally, my dad said to me: ‘Honey, one day you will meet your baby in Heaven.’ It was one line, but it was perfect. That one perfect line that we all hope for. That one line that says everything. And from that point on it didn’t matter what mom said or what I felt because I believed my father. I believed that one day I would see my baby in Heaven. I believed it so strongly.

“Then I got cancer. Now I’m here. On my first day, I didn’t look for her. I always hoped it was a little girl. But I thought she’d find me. And now I sit here three months later and nothing. I haven’t seen her, I don’t even know if she exists. I don’t even know if she came here, and it’s like I’m losing her all over again. As if this time though I’m the one who’s being left… but I want to see my baby.” Summer wipes tears from her cheeks.

“I don’t know what to think, and I’m too scared to look for her. What if she’s real and doesn’t want to see me? What if she wasn’t, you know, alive yet and she doesn’t exist? I don’t know what to do.” She stops and stares at Mary.

Everyone claps again for Summer. She nods with the applause.

“Anyone have any comments.”

“I’ve seen aborted fetuses before,” Hannah, an old woman across from Summer says.

“Hannah,” Mary says in her hushed angry tone.

“What? I have. This is what I’m saying. Walking down the street, I seen ’em. Their little cords wrapped around their wrists. Whistlers. That’s what I call them, cause that’s what they do. They walk around and around the town, whistling and twirling their little cords. It’s like a parade. A parade of the damned. All their little faces, whistling. Passing the time. How you like that? Huh? You wanna find your girl? Find the whistling fetuses. Tell them what you done, tell them you like their moms before them. Tell them you’s a murderer. Tell them. See where they take you.”

“Hannah, stop it,” Mary says.

“No,” Summer whispers. “I need to hear this. I need her hate, I deserve it.”

“There was a mix up with you. You shouldn’t be here. Someone like you. Someone who does these things. You don’t belong in a room with me. Peu,” Hannah spits at Summer. There isn’t enough to see, the gesture alone gets the point across.

“This is not an arena for judgment. We do not do that here. And Hannah, if you cannot abide by my rules, you will have to leave.”

“Leave? How you like that? I come here for two years and this, this, this baby killer first night and she gets favor over me. Ah. Who needs ya? Huh? Who needs any of ya?” Hannah struggles to rise. Her varicose veins shudder under the pressure of her large, little body. She tries to hide her fat belly with an oversized pastel purple cardigan. She fails to a degree that one even wonders why she wears it.

“Little bitch,” she says as she strolls by Summer. Summer’s face is locked in her hands. Hannah’s words pull out a few more tears. And William makes his way behind Summer and rubs her shoulders. She doesn’t respond. He moves in front of her. She falls onto his chest, wrapping her arms around him. She lets everything out. William walks her out of the circle and to the bathroom to freshen up.

“Well, um, who’s next?” Mary asks.

The woman across from Mary raises her hand.

“Okay, you,” Mary says.

“Well, hi. My name is Kim. What I love the most about Heaven is that I can understand everyone. To me, you all speak perfect Korean. And I’m sure to you I speak perfect English or Spanish or French. So, that to me is neat. The thing I miss the most about home is not understanding everyone. I know it seems silly, but sure, it’s great to know what you’re saying. But it takes away the desire to learn a new language. A language that’s not your own. When I was alive, I was a linguist. I spoke eight different languages and dialects. But I got here, and I was useless. I didn’t need to translate; I didn’t need to help someone understand.

“It reminds me of that story in the Bible. The one about the Tower of Babel. It was this great story about the people on Earth and how they were building this tower to Heaven. It scared God. He thought once we worked together, there would be nothing we couldn’t do. So he made it so none of us could understand the other. All because he was afraid of what would happen to him if they all worked together and built this tower to Heaven. But now I’m in Heaven with all you, and it’s like before God made everyone speak different languages.

“So, why isn’t God afraid of us anymore. What is it about Heaven that he is so comfortable? I want God to fear me. I want to be the atomic bomb to his Oppenheimer. And so I sit here and think what’s different? What kind of control does he have? What freedoms have I lost? And I can’t think of them, but logic dictates that something is different, but I’m not allowed to know the answer. I’m afraid that I’m no longer free. Like the crazy woman earlier. I don’t remember her name.”

“Elizabeth,” Mary says.

“Right, Elizabeth. She talked about how we can’t just slap someone. We almost can’t talk, as we are now because who knows who’s listening. For all I know, one of you will go and turn me in as soon as you leave here for my blasphemy. Then I’ll wake up tomorrow in God only knows where. So, I’m afraid that Heaven isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m starting to wish I had not been such a good girl.”

“But no one is saying that you can’t do anything, just don’t get caught,” Michael says and laughs.

“Wow, guys. We’re cooking today. Making some great progress. You guys are letting it out and that’s what I like to see. Who’s next?” Mary scans the circle looking at the faces of those that hadn’t spoken yet.

She looks for someone avoiding eye contact, someone who doesn’t appear to want to speak. In some ways, she enjoys forcing them to speak. She thinks in her own way that the pressure aids in the healing.

“You. Do you wanna go next?” A short man, balding, his feet hang above the floor like a little kid. He looks at her and smiles. It’s the awkward smile. The one that says: Uhm, I don’t want to, but if I have to. She returns the look: yes you have to.

“Hello, everyone. I’m very pleased to be here today. I have been dead now for…. let me see…. this is embarrassing. One of the things you don’t think you will ever forget is how long you’ve been dead.” He chuckles. It’s pleasant. Some think of their grandfather, others of their cuddly high school chemistry teacher. “I remember I drowned. I chained a large boulder to my ankle. I put a lock on it and I swallowed the key. Then I threw it over the 8th Street bridge back home. I remember jumping over and in that split second before I hit the water, I found God. That was the moment. That precise moment. And I remember begging under water for a miracle. For God to save me. I wanted to live. It took death to tell me that. But under all the weight of the water, he never came. For me, the hardest part has been knowing that my entire life I was wrong.

“Some of you are very lucky. You spent your lives surrounded by God or at least this feeling that there was a god. I didn’t know till I was about to die. For me, that’s difficult because I was so adamant in life. I, so very much, hated those that believed. I thought they were naïve and outright stupid. How could you believe in something so juvenile, so, outdated? I know what some of you are thinking. If I believed in God, I wouldn’t have committed suicide. Maybe. Maybe God could have saved me from jumping, but he didn’t. Since I‘ve been here I have dissected my secularism. I have spent almost all my time thinking about it. Because let’s be honest, there isn’t a lot to do around here.” He chuckles again. “It all comes down to religion. I remember my father and I having a debate about spirituality and religion. To me, they were the same. But to my dad they were different. For me, religion took away my spirituality because I couldn’t separate God from religion. When I thought of God I thought of Jerry Falwell and evangelicals. I thought of gay bashing bigots or anti-immigration hypocrites. I couldn’t separate any of them. I saw the Salem Witch Trials, the Inquisition, and the Crusades. I saw suicide bombers and religious wars. I was stuck in this, this, this pattern of hate. And I thought: how can he be a part of that, how can I believe in that? It was hard.

“And the reality was I couldn’t believe in that. I couldn’t believe in the Bible or the Koran or anything. In my mind, they were permanently connected to this hideous world. In the end, it was religion that killed me. Maybe spirituality would have saved me. But religion had already killed my spirituality.”

“What about something you like here in heaven?” Mary asks.

“I like that I can figure out myself. Though the more I learn about reality, and me, the worse it gets as I realize that it’s too late. Eternity. That’s what I have. I have eternity to understand how great it could have been. And to me, it makes this entire place less than heavenly. Sorry, don’t mean to bring the mood down anymore than it has been, but that’s how I feel.”

“I understand what he means. It’s almost as if we should go to Heaven first. This could be a training ground before we’re born,” Michael says.

“Nah. That would be kind of silly don’t you think? It would almost take the fun out of new discoveries or experiences if we already know what is going to happen. Imagine taking a class here about your first kiss. Then you’re born. You grow up to be sixteen and James from your fifth-period calculus asks you to go to the movie on Friday. Instead of this anticipation over what’s going to happen, you know it’s going to happen and what it’s going to feel like. I wouldn’t vote for that,” Kim says.

“What about the rest of you?” Mary interjects. “Any thoughts on…. I’m sorry you didn’t give us your name.”

“Oh, um, my friends call me Tiny.” He smiles, and his cheeks redden.

Mary giggles a little as she speaks: “Tiny. Any thoughts on what Tiny has said?”

“I agree. The big issue I had with my faith was my church. Every paycheck, I had the pressure of setting aside that ten percent. I tithed, as I should, even though sometimes I couldn’t afford my electric bill. I paid my tithe. But I questioned it. I wondered if God was better off with my tiny check. Would God want me to not have heat for my kids? But each time I talked myself out of keeping it. Because it’s what God wanted. But more accurately, it’s what the church wanted and as my time continues here, I wonder why they needed it. Did they need that bigger wing or was it just a way to get more people and more money? Maybe that’s a little cynical but…I don’t know.”

“You’re missing the point. You’re trying to demonize the church. They were doing God’s work. They were trying to save us, all us. They were spreading his word and it takes funding. You can’t climb the highest mountain and expect the sound of your voice alone to convert the masses. They’re in business, yes. But their business is saving our souls. Ten percent is a small price to pay for eternal salvation,” William says taking his seat.

“That’s right. I’ve been sitting here, listening to all you complain about this and that and it reminds me of life. Nothing has changed. You people complaining about how nothing worked out for you and how you are affected. It makes me sick. Here we are in Heaven. Heaven of all places and still things aren’t good enough for you. What do you people want? You made it. We made it. Some of us have family here that we haven’t seen in years and now we get to spend the rest of our lives together. So what is it? Tell me, tell him, what can God do for you, to make your stay more comfortable?” Travis says.

There is a moment of silence as they all step back to think about what he said. Mary stares at all them. All the shrunken violets. She turns to look at Travis.

“Well, it seems we’re coming to the end. We said we would get back to you Travis, and this seems like the perfect opportunity, as you’ve taken over the floor. So, tell us, Travis, why are you here?”

This is the third chapter of If Heaven Were a Real Place, a collection of short stories about Heaven and what it would be like after thousands of years of human corruption.

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