He sat at the edge of the nothingness, wondering at the world that lay beyond. A mysterious realm of tangible pleasures, flesh, blood, and sin.
Her spirit sat next to him in silence. She knew his time was drawing near, and grappled with a vague fear inside that this would be their final goodbye, the last time they would be together like this, free of worry and of all the material chains awaiting them in their next life.
But his mind was somewhere else, he couldn’t see what she did. All he could feel was the surging excitement that made his transparent spirit ripple like the glassy surface of a lake in the wind.
“I wonder how it would feel to have legs.” He said, breaking the silence. “You know, to stomp down on solid ground, touch things, feel things.” He paused and turned to face her. “And you, I will finally be able to see you in the flesh, can you imagine how magical that would be? feel your skin, caress your hair, all of it.”
She smiled faintly, not wanting to burst his bubble, but the words just came out. “Once you cross over, you won’t remember me. You won’t remember any of this.”
He fidgeted in his place, his wild rippling growing milder. “Well, I’m sure I’ll recognize you somehow. Isn’t that what they call chemistry? I’ll just know.”
“Maybe.” She said with obvious skepticism. “But you’re forgetting something else. Those pleasure you’re drooling over come at a price.”
“What do you mean?”
“Choice.” She said sharply. “You’ll have the power to choose, to make decisions. to sin and make mistakes. We both will, and…”
“And what?” He was growing nervous by now.
“Who’s to say we’ll make the same choices?”
“And who’s to say we wouldn’t?” He was growing angrier, his ripples turning into waves.
“I’m just saying we have to be prepared.” She said sheepishly, knowing all too well you can never be prepared.
He was about to retort when a vortex appeared in the empty space before them, and a strong wind starting blowing, pulling him alone while leaving her planted in her place.
“I think it’s time.” He said as he struggle to resist, trying to tell her one last thing. “How about you give me a sign? One thing that…”
But he didn’t get to finish his last sentence, and she knew it wouldn’t make any difference, for whatever sign they’d agree on would be soon forgotten as he crossed over to the material world.
As the wind carried him away, her apparition disappeared, and the next thing he knew was a series of events flashing before his mind eye: Him being born, pulled out of his mother’s womb, falling down while learning to walk, cutting his lip, giving himself a life-long scar, celebrating his seventh birthday, swimming in a lake, signing contracts, burying his father, grappling with depression, swallowing pills, flying over the clouds somewhere, meeting her, recognizing her without realizing it, parting with her, emptiness, regret, family, kids, the emptiness persists, a vague yearning for a place unknown, somewhere beyond the material world, and then a big flash of light…
In a few minutes, he was a little bundle of red, slimy flesh, crying his lungs out, shocked and confused at what he’s just seen, protesting in vain, wanting to go back to where he was, floating freely and peacefully in the vast, glaring whiteness. But as soon as the umbilical cord was cut, his mind was a blank page, unaware of the journey that lay ahead, one he would have to enjoy, and endure, until his soul is free again.