Drama Funny Fiction

Turns out there is no heaven or hell. I should know. I just died today. 

After my final breath left my body I found myself standing in a bland waiting room that reminded me of a dentist's office. Mismatched chairs ran along the wall and a smartly dressed woman sat behind a large desk flanked by two doors. One door had a “G” carved above it, while the other had an “A”.

“Hello there!” she said brightly. “Welcome to immortality!”

“Thank you, I guess.” Looking at the woman’s name tag I added, “Suzy.”

Pulling out a file folder from a drawer she opened it and began leafing through the papers.

“Alrighty then! Ms.Wilson, it looks like you died at age eighty-five, a retired nurse? What a lovely career. And oh! I see that you were surrounded by your two children and their families at St. Mercy when you passed, how sweet!”

“Yes. So where am I exactly?” I asked. 

“Immortality! It’s where we go after we die.”

“I can see that, but how does it work? What do I do here?”

“You get to choose if you become an angel or a guardian.” 

“What is the difference?” I asked.

“As an angel, you get to continue living out your existence, just not on earth anymore. If you choose to be a guardian you will go back down to earth and watch over people, encourage them, basically help them along their journey.”

Suzy leaned forward, whispering. “And the best part is no matter which one you choose you get to go through a physical appearance de-aging process! Don’t ask me why, but we all get to be thirty again.”

I held up my hand, examining the wrinkles and protruding veins. On my finger sat a single gold wedding band. 

“If this is where everyone comes after they die, does that mean Trent is here?”

Leafing through and skimming the stack of papers Suzy said, “Yes, you might run into each other, he was your third and final husband, correct?”

I nodded and asked, “We might just run into each other?”

“Remember the whole “til death do you part” part of your wedding vows? That was the deal you made so that’s what happens.” Looking over the paper again she added, “It looks like Trent died five years ago and recently got remarried.” 

I sat back, feeling like I had been slapped in the face. “He already moved on? But we were married for twenty years!”

Smiling sadly Suzy said, “Well since death broke your marriage contract he is free to live his life here as he sees fit.”

My head was spinning. “Since when do angels get married? Aren’t they supposed to play instruments on clouds and watch over people?”

Suzy laughed. “That is normally the idea in people's minds, but no.”

“So is Trent an angel or guardian?”

Suzy looked down at the papers. “It looks like he is an angel.”

That was all the information I needed. 

Standing up I said, “Then I will be a guardian.”

Suzy clapped her hands. “Wonderful! Just head through the door marked “G” and someone will be there to help you.”

Without hesitation, I walked around the desk and opened the door. A soft white light enveloped me as I stepped over the threshold. 

The tingling sensation started in my toes, and gradually flowed up through my body and out the top of my head. My hair began to grow until it was well past my shoulders, white pigment turning into a chocolate brown. The arthritic pain in my fingers melted away, and at the same time, my spine straightened, relieving the pain in my lower back I had grown accustomed to. I watched in fascination as the wrinkles on my hand began to stretch, my skin tightening, feeling as if someone was wrapping me in cling film. 

The white light began to subside and I found myself standing on a wooden platform that ran above clouds. The sky was a brilliant blue, with hills upon hills of what looked like white cotton candy as far as I could see. 

A young man stood near me, with red hair and freckles covering his face. In his hand was a clipboard. 

“Hello! You must be Ms. Wilson, I was just informed you want to be a guardian?”

“Sure. I mean, yes.” I said as I thought about how anything would be better than facing my most recent ex-husband.

“Before we let you go out on your own you will have someone guide you through your first day.” Glancing at his clipboard he said, “You’re in luck! One of our best teachers volunteered to be your mentor. He must have known you during your earthly life.”

“Really?” I asked skeptically. “What’s his name?”

“Oh, I don’t think you need to hear my name to know who I am.” a voice said from behind me. 

Whipping around my jaw dropped as my eyes widened. Oh no.

“Surprise!” Daniel said with that goofy grin I hated. 

This was great. Just great. I walked through a door to avoid my third ex-husband and now I was standing face to face with my first ex-husband. 

“So Ava, how have you been? Finally died I see.” Daniel said as he combed his fingers through his beach blond hair.

I folded my arms and demanded, “What are you doing here?”

Feigning shock he said, “Didn’t you hear? I died from a broken heart!”

Rolling my eyes I said, “Oh please! It was a car accident.”

Clutching his heart Daniel moaned dramatically. “How could I concentrate on driving when the girl of my dreams was already engaged to another man, only a year after our divorce?”

“Oh please! You didn’t treat me like I was the girl of your dreams.”

The man with the clipboard slowly started backing away.

Shrugging Daniel said, “That’s debatable. Where are you going, Ron?”

Ron’s face turned pink. “This seems like a private conversation.”

“Does it? I have never been good at reading social cues, at least that’s what some people have told me.” he said, looking straight at me.

“I don’t have to stand here and take this.” I said.

“You kind of do.” Ron squeaked. 

“Excuse me?” I spat. 

“You walked through the guardian door, therefore you have to be trained. Daniel is the mentor who signed up for you so…here is your assignment. Good luck!” Ron said as he shoved a paper into Daniel's hand and briskly walked away.

“I can’t believe this.” I lamented. 

“What? That this is how the afterlife works? Or that you get to hang out with me in my prime?” Daniel raised his arms and flexed. 

I did have to admit he looked good. His skin was perfectly tan, his arms were well toned, his chest…nope! I had to stop this train of thought right away. 

“I can’t believe that we are stuck together.”

“I’m sure there are worse things than spending a day with your childhood best friend. Now, this assignment doesn’t look too bad, it should be easy for you since you’ve been married three times.”

“How did you know I…” 

“Off we go!” he interrupted, grabbing me by the arm and snapping his fingers. 

My body felt like it folded in on itself and snapped back into place within a second. My vision blurred for a moment, and when it cleared I looked around. 

We were standing in the middle of a beautiful park, near a large pond with a stone bridge arching across the water. It was autumn, so the trees were alive with colors of orange, red, and yellow. People were picnicking on blankets, riding bikes, and strolling down a dirt path. 

I took in a deep breath of the crisp, clean air. 

“Come on then, I believe our charge is over there.” Daniel set off towards the bridge. 

“Hey, wait up!” I called out as I caught up to him. “Can people see us?”

“Nope. Think of it like we are here, but in a different dimension. We can walk through objects, including people. They might feel a sudden shiver up their spine when we pass through them, but nothing more than that.”

“Okay, but what exactly are we doing here?”

Daniel stopped walking. Lifting his hand he pointed to a young couple sitting on a checkered blanket, with a baby crawling around them in the grass. 

“Missy and Garret Vadez. Married for almost four years, but they are drifting apart. Our job is to determine if they should stay together or if they should call it quits.”

“Why is that any of our business?” I questioned.

“Well, we are their guardians after all. On earth, people often think with their emotions instead of seeing the bigger picture. Think of it like we are here to see their situation objectively and nudge them in the right direction.”

“Okay, and how do we do that?”

“Oh, it’s simple. We could whisper positive things about their spouse to them while they sleep, inducing a dream.”

I made a face. “Ew. That is creepy.”

Daniel smiled at me. “I always loved how you scrunch your nose when you are uncomfortable.”

I raised my eyebrows. 

“Anyway…” Daniel said. “If we touch them and say something it becomes a thought for them, or we can project our feelings. We can also rearrange objects if needed. For example, let’s say that we discover Garret is being unfaithful. We could take a letter from his secret lover out of his coat pocket and leave it on the coffee table for his wife to find.”

My breath caught in my throat as a memory of finding a similar note on my table just five years into my second marriage flashed across my mind. In fact, my then-husband also swore the note was hidden in his raincoat pocket and had no idea how it got on the coffee table.

Furrowing my eyebrows together I said, “That was a very specific example.”

Daniel smiled. “It may be a tactic I have used now and then. Let’s get closer and listen to what they are talking about before we make our move.”

Crossing the bridge in silence I stole a glance at Daniel. He looked happy and more confident in himself than the last time I saw him. There was also a matureness I hadn’t seen in him before.

Catching me looking at him he flashed his dopey smile again.

Looking away I sighed. I guess you can’t take the boy out of the man in life or death. 

Reaching the young couple Daniel put his fingers to his lips. We stood in front of them silently. 

“Seriously Garret, it’s like you don’t want to put any effort into our relationship anymore.” Missy was saying. 

“How could you even think that?” Garret scoffed. “I do so much every day to show you that I love you.”

Missy rolled her eyes. “Like what?”

“I do any chore you ask me to do, I change the baby's diapers whenever you ask, I even let you choose the movie we watched the other night!”

“Oh please! I feel like I am your mother! Can you not do those things without me asking?”

“But if you ask, I know exactly how to help you!”

I grabbed a hold of Daniel's arm. “I’ve heard enough, I know exactly how to help.”

He looked at me skeptically. “Really? And how is that?”

Walking up to Missy I knelt behind her and put my hand on her shoulder. “You deserve better.” I whispered.

“I deserve better!” Missy said.

Daniel glared at me. “What are you doing?”

Taking my hand off of Missy I said, “She deserves to be happy.”

Walking up to Garret, Daniel put his hand on the man’s head. “And who are you to say he can’t give her happiness?”

“I can make you happy Missy, I know I can!” Garret said.

Putting my hand back on Missy’s shoulder I glared at Daniel. “You deserve to be treated like a queen, not like an afterthought. ”

Missy snapped, “I deserve to be treated like I am special.”

“I thought I was treating you special Mis.” Garret said quietly.

Before I could help Missy respond Daniel raised his hands toward me and said, “Enough!”

My feet left the ground and I sat suspended in the air, with Missy just out of my reach.

“What are you doing?” I snapped.

“What am I doing? What are you doing?! You know nothing about this couple and you are trying to split them up.”

“I heard enough to know how she is feeling. It’s not like you treated me right when we were married! Now put me down!”

Lowering me to the ground Daniel said, “Because helping you with the twins, cleaning the house, and providing for us financially so you could stay home and raise our kids wasn’t enough?”

“That’s just it!” I snapped. “I am more than a mother. I am a person with feelings and needs. Do you know what it was like to be home all day and night, with no other adult to talk to? How basic human needs became luxuries? Did you even realize that after we had the twins you stopped taking me on dates? You began to kiss me less frequently? What happened to the man who was so in love with me he used to sing me love songs to try and woo me into the bedroom? Because that man died the longer we were married!”

Reaching out and touching Missy I pushed all of my emotions into her.

Missy burst into tears as she stood up and ran away. 

“Missy, wait!” Garret jumped to his feet, scooped up their baby, and ran after her. 

I stared after them as hot tears began to roll down my cheeks. 

“Ava…I didn’t realize that’s how you felt. I am so sorry for not seeing that when we were married.” Daniel said as he took a step towards me.

Sniffing, I said, “You never even asked me.”

He walked up and wrapped his arms around me as I began to sob. My shoulders shook as I ugly cried into his shoulder. He began to twirl my hair with his finger, as he hummed what had once been our song.

Pulling away, but not letting go, Daniel looked tenderly into my eyes. “I am so sorry it took me two lifetimes to realize how you felt. You did always say I had a thick skull.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Maybe we both have hard heads.”

Daniel reached up and wiped a tear away from my cheek. His hand felt smooth, yet strong. 

“Daniel, I…I want to apologize. I can see now how much you did for me and our children, I should have realized it was a different way of showing you loved me as our lives changed.”

“Don’t worry about it Ava, neither of us was perfect and never will be. I guess we got lucky in death though, huh?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, we messed up our life together on earth pretty badly. Death is normally looked at as something so tragic, yet, I am happy you died. It made our paths cross again. Maybe we can start over?”

Stepping back from him I said, “Don’t get ahead of yourself.”

His infamous grin spread across his face as he extended his hand to me. 

“I bet we could at least be a good team in helping other couples avoid our same mistakes then, what do you say? Friends?”

As I looked at his hand I felt a spark of hope I hadn’t felt in a while. Maybe the afterlife didn’t have a heaven or hell, but I was starting to see it had the potential to be something wonderful. A new beginning.

Shaking his hand I smiled and said, “Why not?”

July 23, 2022 03:49

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.