I couldn’t believe I’d slept so long. My eyes popped open when I heard the rush of wind and felt the brilliant sunshine through the window. I dragged my feet over the side of the bed and was pleasantly surprised that my chest didn’t hurt. Not like it had yesterday. As I sat rubbing the sleep out of my eyes the bed became hard, like wood, and when I looked I was sitting on a bench.
I shaded my eyes when I heard her voice. A pretty woman with chestnut curls walked towards me. She seemed to be in a state of happy excitement. I smiled.
“Hi,” she said. “Are you in line?”
“Uh, no,” I said, trying to figure out what she meant.
“There’s always a line here on Hurricane Day.”
“Yeah, and this one’s a CAT5. The whole beach is buzzing about it.”
I stood up. What in the world? Where was I?
The woman laughed. “C’mon. I’ll help you pick out a board.”
She took my hand and pulled me towards the big glass doors. Buddy Jones Surf Boards was scrawled across a piece of driftwood placed just so on a huge rock right outside the entrance. We walked in and were greeted heartily by a tall man with a dimple in his chin deep as the Grand Canyon.
“You two have just beat the crowd,” he said with a laugh, oddly familiar.
“I’ll have a Silverado 700, and she’ll have a Turquoise Tortoise.”
We walked out into the wind hanging onto our boards for dear life. The howling had intensifying to an astounding degree and before I’d blinked twice we were at the water’s edge. I knew I should feel terrified, but I didn’t. I could hear the wind and see it whipping up the water, but otherwise the woman and I were unaffected. She squeezed my hand.
I nodded. I couldn’t believe it, but I nodded. And then we were flying over the water, our toes at the edge of our boards, sea foam bubbling up and over. Salt spray in my face. I’d never felt so alive in my life. Why wasn’t I afraid? How could this be a hurricane? I’d barely had time to form the question in my mind when the board dropped away beneath me.
I felt the leathery skin of the whale brush my thigh, but I didn’t scream. The sensation was quite pleasant. And then – the whale laughed. Great bubbles tumbled from his gargantuan mouth, and that’s when I noticed we were underwater. Incredibly blue green water. And I wasn’t drowning. I was breathing. Underwater.
As the whale swam past me I grabbed onto the last bit of him. Maybe I shouldn’t have, because one flip of his mighty tail, and he was rid of me. The next thing I knew I was sitting on the beach. My clothes were dry, my hair was wet and the young woman, who I’d lost track of out on the water, plopped herself down beside me and asked if I wanted a S’more.
I sure did! I was hungry as all get out.
Just then I saw my Aunt Marie, her red hair glinting in the light from the fire pit. She was playing a guitar and sitting next to the guy from the surf board place who looked over at me and winked.
“Hello, Susie Q.” His eyes were a surreal shade of blue.
The pretty woman was back beside me with a S’more in her hand, and that’s when I recognized her. Mom. The way she must have looked at eighteen or some other age I couldn’t quite determine, but beautiful and full of life.
“Look over there,” she said, touching my cheek so I would. She pointed to a spot just beyond the sand dunes where a silvery pink brilliance shown in the sky.
“What is it?” I asked.
“They’re getting ready for you.”
The air crackled with some kind of energy, like thousands of birds in flight.
“He told me He could only imagine what you’d be like and . . ” Here she hesitated. “I think He’s a little nervous.”
Suddenly the air went out of me. I was going to meet Him.
“I want to tell you a few things before that happens,” she said. “Heaven is never dull. It has no bounds, and you will always feel His love. It takes forever to explore, but you’re going to love it.”
“Why . . . wh . . why would He be nervous about meeting me?”
“I think He wasn’t sure when He called your name that you’d come. But here you are. Yay!”
Mom and her sister, Marie, laughed. And so did Dad. I think his dimple even danced.
Note: Heaven will not be what we expect – at all. Hope to see you there.