I stand by the doorway and wait patiently while she looks at what used to be her body.
Turning slowly, she brings her vivid blue eyes to look up at me. “Are you an angel?” she asks in a timid voice.
If I had a penny for every time I’ve been asked that - well not that pennies are of any use to me, but still.
I gently shake my head. “No. I’m not an angel. But I am the one who’s here to take you to the angels.” I add a friendly smile to make her feel more at ease.
She considers this for a moment, then turns back to look at her grieving parents who sit agonised by her bedside.
“Will I ever see them again?” I can hear the tremor in her tiny voice, sadness I know it to be.
“Yes. I don’t know when, but one day you will see them again.”
This I’m not privileged to have seen with my own eyes, but it is what the Elders tell us to be true.
I deliver humans to the door of Heaven. To their door into Heaven, but don’t truly know what occurs when they pass through. But I do know it to be something wonderful, giving joy and happiness to all who go there.
I’m a Bringer.
It’s what I do, and have done since I’ve existed. I’m here to guide, to make humans feel as comfortable as possible through their, mostly unwanted, transition from being alive to just being.
Humans struggle to leave behind the ones they love. And for their sake, I have to ensure they don’t try to stay here on earth, trapping themselves for all eternity. Because once they walk away from Heaven, they will never, ever, be able to go there. Once their door closes, it never again opens.
I glance over at her parents. The mother is sobbing, clinging to her daughter’s lifeless hand. The father has silent tears trickling down his cheeks as he desperately tries to comfort the mother. They both appear broken, beyond repair.
Humans always take the death of a child the worst. I think I understand why this is.
I have seen what these two people are feeling hundreds, of thousands, of times before. Have been told in vivid description by many humans who I’ve taken to Heaven how it feels, but have never felt it myself.
I don’t feel.
Not in the physical or emotional sense. I have an awareness of feelings - sorrow, happiness, love, pain, compassion. I also note the sensation of touch. But I don’t actually feel it.
I do comprehend the joy and beauty in things, such as the sun rising in the bright blue sky, or the sound of a songbird singing gaily in the morning. Just not in the same way as a human does.
I know of all the feelings that surround me every day, but they just don’t attach themselves to me.
That’s just how it is – Bringers don’t feel.
I believe we were conceived like this, so we don’t attach ourselves to humans in any way.
Often, though, I do wonder how it would be to feel.
With what I see in every single moment of my existence it obviously presses me to peruse the question which is worse - to feel the agonising pain of loss, or to have never felt it at all?
I have no concept of what it is like to love someone with such ferocity that it rips you to your very core to lose them. My imagination limits my understanding.
I just sometimes wonder, what if . . .
The child I’m here to take to Heaven – Amy Jones, as I know her to be called - takes one last look at her parents, at her body, then turns and tentatively walks toward me. Her movement slow, reluctant.
It’s strange that humans have two names. Sometimes they have three, four, sometimes more. I have only one.
When Amy Jones reaches me, she slips her tiny hand into mine and looks up at me.
“You look like my mamma,” Amy Jones says, inclining her head toward her mother.
I ponder that for a moment.
It intrigues me how I look to each human. They see me as whichever female human form makes them feel most comfortable. Like now, with Amy Jones, she chooses to see me akin to her mother, thus making her feel safer. They do this unknowingly.
I have never seen myself. I have no reflection upon which to do so. When I look down all I see is a solid mass of light, alike to the shape of a human body, which glistens and sparkles, just as the snow does when the sun is gently dancing off it.
Often I have wondered what my true appearance is, or if I at all have one.
I look at the mother again. To my eyes she looks to be visually pleasing. Hair the colour of ripe cherries, skin the colour of the pale moon, eyes the colour of emeralds.
Is this exactly as I look now?
I glance down at Amy Jones about to ask this very question, when I see a faraway look in her eyes, sadness covering her face. And very quickly, my question becomes incredibly futile.
“Are you ready to go?” I ask instead.
Her eyes glitter up at me. “What’s your name angel?”
I smile to myself. Children never believe I’m not an angel. I think it somehow comforts them to think I am.
“Lucyna,” she hums my name over her plump lips. “That’s a pretty name. Am I going to Heaven, Lucyna?”
“Yes, Amy Jones you are.”
“Will you be staying with me in Heaven?”
“No. I can only remain with you until we reach Heaven’s door.”
Her face saddens. “Then will I be alone?” The fear is so apparent in her voice, it practically tremors across the room.
“No, you will be with others. Many others just like you. You’ll never be alone.”
She mulls over my words for a moment. Her tiny lips trembling ever so slightly. She bites down on her lower lip.
“Okay, Lucyna. I think I’m ready to go to Heaven now.” I sense her hand tightening around mine.
“Close your eyes,” I say.
Her heavily lashed lids close slowly. I can sense her fear. Her apprehension of stepping into the unknown.
“You’ve nothing to fear Amy Jones, you’re safe,” I whisper.
I close my eyes and we’re gone.
* * *
I’ve returned to Earth since taking Amy Jones to Heaven as I wish to spend some time at my favourite place – Hyde Park in London - before I take my next human to Heaven, my next 'bring’ as we refer to it. London, coincidentally, is where my next human happens to be. Not that it would matter where I am, as it only takes me a matter of seconds to travel. I close my eyes, think where I want to be, and there I am.
I see my friend Arlo already here, sitting on our usual bench. He too must be waiting for his next bring. We Bringers have no need to sit, to rest, as we never tire. We do so, I suppose, in attempt to adapt to the environment around us.
I glance around Hyde Park. There are a few humans milling about, taking in the wonderful sights. This place fascinates me. Over time I have observed with interest the beautiful sights it has to offer. Year after year I have watched it travel through its seasons, noting how the trees sprout greening leaves that spiral around the willowy branches, creating the most incredible shades of greenery, for them to only turn to burnt amber as they succumb to wane, and fall unwillingly from their dwelling. Lastly they end their journey on the Earth’s floor, leaving the tree bare, only for it months later to once again begin its cycle. And I am charmed by all the differing varieties, of colourful flowers. I watch as they explode into bloom. Then ultimately, and sometimes untimely, fade and die.
Just as humans do.
Arlo and I have been to places all over the world, seen all the extraordinary sights that God has to offer, but sometimes it is the simplest of things that can be the most captivating.
The bench Arlo is sitting on has a plaque with an inscription scribed on it. It reads –
‘John, I’ll love you always and I know we’ll be together again one day. In the fields of Heaven, when God calls for me to come join you, where I know you’ll be waiting patiently for me. Ava’
I always sit on this bench, one that has been marked by a human loss. It feels very much in time with who I am.
Humans always mark the death of ones they love. Whether it’s a headstone at a grave or a bench very similar to this one. I think I understand why they do this. An expression of how much they truly meant to them.
They really do have some very strange ways, which is why I find them so fascinating. Arlo is also intrigued by them. We spend almost all our free time together watching humans, discussing them. Seeing how they interact with one another. We spend countless hours puzzling over them. How they think. How they feel. Why they behave as they do.
“How long do you have?” I ask as I approach Arlo.
He looks up at me, his yellow hair glowing in the light of the sun. “Eighteen minutes. And hello to you, Lucyna.”
Arlo is always very precise and to the point.
“Hello, Arlo,” I say with a smile.
Taking my seat beside him, I pause momentarily, hovering over a question that I have wanted to ask him for some time, a question which has now been piqued by my visit with Amy Jones.
“Arlo, may I ask you something?”
He turns to me. “Of course.”
“How do I look to you?”
He looks at me puzzled.
I refresh my words. “I know our appearance changes according to each human, but for some time now I have wondered how I actually look to you?”
“Hmm.” Arlo looks as though I have ignited a thought within him. “You have never wondered this before, Lucyna?” It almost isn’t a question, but I answer anyway.
“Well, I have thought of it many times before Arlo, but have never asked you. Honestly, I’m not sure why. It’s very curious to me.”
I turn to look at him. His bright eyes are gazing upon me with seeming concentration.
“Well, what do you wish me to describe?”
I take a moment to think this over before answering. “What colour is my hair?”
“Black. As black as the night sky,” he replies.
“And what is my eye colour?”
He ponders this for a moment, rubbing his forehead in thought. “Well, I would say they are like the colour of the waters that surround the Maldivian Islands. I would have to go back and check that I am correct in this, but that is what I believe to be true. I can go now if you wish -” His eyes close, readying to leave.
“No, Arlo, there is no need. I take your word on this.”
He opens his eyes.
I now find myself even more curious. I thought by asking Arlo these questions it would end my wondering, but it now seems to have only furthered it.
How I wish I could see what Arlo sees when he looks at me.
“And I, Lucyna, how do I look to you?” Arlo says, breaking into my thoughts.
Putting aside my own contemplation, I turn and look at him even though I do not need to. I would know how Arlo looks even if my eyes were closed.
“You, Arlo, have the most glorious hair. It’s the colour of the sun, and your eyes, well they are the colour of sugar snap peas.”
His smile broadens at my words.
I glance back at the few humans around us, gliding through life. Completely unaware of our existence.
“Why do you think we cannot see ourselves, Arlo, as others do?”
But before he gets a chance to answer, my mind begins to fill with the name of my next bring. I’m always informed of when and where in good time, but I don’t receive the name until two minutes before the human is about to leave their body for good.