Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The End of the World

I haven’t written anything in a while.
I realize this.
 I also realize that my creativity level has decreased by about 50% since the wedding planning started. I’ve thought of some cool story ideas and things to write about, but what I really want to write about is the dream I had a few nights ago. I gave the big dramatic story to Daniel, and he kind of listened, but I don’t think he really listened. It was one of those complacent nodding’s of the head with some “yeah’s” and “mhm’s” strategically thrown in. You know, the kind of treatment you give your coworker during a lunch shift when they start talking to you about their New Year’s party.
Either way, I think my dream is really important. If this were a movie, you’d see me—okay a tall girl with curly brown hair—lying in bed on her right side with her Kindle a few inches from her face. She’s snuggled up in a white comforter that sheds feathers everywhere as she reads a book about heaven. In the third paragraph, her eyes are heavy and she turns off her Kindle, and bam she’s asleep. Enter the white, cloudy-edged border.
Okay, that was kind of a false alarm. This isn’t actually part of the dream. Imagine a director’s cut version or something in the bonus features. That’s what this is. You know how sometimes in dreams, you’re in a place that makes no sense? Well, that’s what happened. I could easily change it to something that makes sense and you’d never know, but I am willing to stumble around this barrier to earn your trust. Okay, back to my dream.
I’m in a classroom. My high school religion teacher is pacing back and forth. The walls are all glass and we’re smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood. Despite the windows, it’s dim in the room. Daniel sits two rows in front of me to the left. Most of the seats are empty.
I hear the teacher’s rumbling voice give us instructions that bounce off the walls, but none of us are listening. We are all giggling at Daniel as he sticks his foot out as far as he can to trip the teacher as he paces. The paces stop and the deep, rumbling voice comes to a halt as the teacher stands before his foot, looking over his thick belly.
“Now what exactly are you trying to do, Daniel,” he rumbles.
I giggle and Daniel catches it. He starts giggling, trying to come up with a response.
But then the building starts shaking. I hear someone scream from behind me, “I think the world is ending!”
My chest is pounding and those words resonate in my head.
The world is ending.
I hear my few classmates yelling, but none of them move. They stay in their seats, screaming about the end of the world. Daniel disappears into a side room, and I run down the stairs. I catch my balance on the cold railing as the stairs shake beneath me.
My car sits on the side of the road and I open the door as quickly as I can. I have to get home.
My keys sit in the passenger seat next to me and I fumble them into the car. The tires screech as I take off, heading down the long road that leads to the interstate turnoff. I hear the ground giving up; I hear her scream bouncing off the walls of the hollow classroom. The world is ending.
The sky is dark and the leaves start falling off the trees. My heart rushes and there is an explosion in the distance. Something so huge, something so real, that my breath stops. A black explosion that looks like a fatal bomb mixed with the biggest tornado you can imagine. It doesn’t come from the sky. It comes from beneath the Earth.
My mind leaves my body and I let my hands off the steering wheel. A white band of light forms around the explosion, reaching up to touch the tips of the sky. My body is shaking and my vision blurs with tears. Tears of joy or tears or sadness? I don’t know. I realize that it doesn’t matter if I drive this car. I’m going up there. I’m going to follow the light. Before my car veers off into a ditch, everything becomes white and I can no longer see. A smile runs across my face, because I know who’s behind that white band of light. And then I’m gone.
I must’ve been gone for only a few seconds, but within those seconds all I could think in the white mass of light was all the things I’d done wrong. More like all the things I didn’t do right. What could I have done different? How many more people could I have helped? Why did I spend so much time doing absolutely nothing? Why am I so selfish?
And then I realized, before a second could even force its way past. Nothing mattered. My job, my education, my money, my things. None of it mattered. Because here I am now, and I’m not on Earth. I’m going to heaven. I know that’s where I’m going, and nothing matters.
And then I’m here. I’m in heaven. I don’t open my eyes to see anything and I don’t want to. My mind is so happy and so comforted in this place. I feel warm. And then I realize what this overwhelming feeling is that takes over my entire body.
I open my eyes to a beautiful woman that stands next to me, leading me around. I see masses of people. I don’t look past them to see what wondrous things this place has, because I can’t stop looking at their faces. More importantly, the faces that are missing. I stare at the beautiful woman.
“Where is Daniel?”
Her mouth twitches, “He didn’t make it, dear.”
My eyes water and my throat closes.
“What about my family? My sister,” I cry.
“She didn’t make it either.”
I stare at the woman and say the words I’ll never forget, “If they aren’t here, I’d rather be in hell.”
She smiles and says, “I think you’ll like it there.”

Now there’s more to my dream. I end up jumping off the cliff of heaven and landing back on Earth. It’s a mess of fire and smoke, but I make my way to Daniel who’s lying down in a room of the school. I hug him and drag him with me to find my family. But I woke up. And I’m really glad I did, because there wasn’t anywhere for us to go. And I was crying in my sleep.
Normally I forget my dreams. And if I do remember them, they’re a jumble of nonsense. But this dream—it stood out to me. It taught me some valuable lessons that I’m never going to forget. I’m not gonna lie though, it still bothers me that the woman said I’d like it in hell.


  1. Valerie WellsJanuary 08, 2013

    Perhaps it was like that Twilight Zone episode with the old man and the dog. They both drown and he's walking along and this fellow tells him here's the gate to heaven but his dog can't come in, and the old man says the dog comes with him or he's not going in. Turns out that was a ruse, and heaven's really the NEXT gate, where of course they let the dog in because what fun would heaven be without dogs?

    1. Hmm, I've never seen it, but I'd like to think that's right! That definitely was not my idea of a good turn of events!