A sea of golden sunlight surrounded him as he stepped into the room. His younger sister, though older now, sat at the piano. Her long, wrinkled fingers moved gracefully over the ivory keys as she played their mother's favorite piece. He saw them sitting there together playing and smiling. They had been younger then. She sensed his presence and smiled at him with tears glimmering in her eyes.
There was a noise like glass being shattered by a heavy rock. He turned and ran to the entryway.
"What are you doing," he asked the moving men frantically.
They ignored him and he returned to his sister. When he entered the room she stood and walked out into the yard. He followed close behind her. She walked to the top of a slight hill and sat down; the bright green grass a carpet under her.
As he sat down beside her she said, "Remember when you told me what the sky looked like?" Without waiting for a reply she went on, "You said 'The sky looks like it goes on forever yet it looks like you could reach up and touch it. It is the color of the relief you feel jumping into a cool pool on a hot day.' I will never forget that," she said looking at him.
"You can see me and everything! How?" he asked.
"Everything is perfect here Alan." She looked intensely into his eyes. She glanced away. "Look over there."
He did and saw two children, a boy and a girl, playing in the sun. They were playing tag and laughing.
"It can't be us," he mumbled bending over and squinting.
"Yes it can be. Anything can be," she replied.
"Where are we," he asked with a puzzled look on his face.
His sister simply walked away from him leaving him to follow her once again. She walked to the gates of their mother's secret garden, where they had played so often as children. He could hear their laugher and their mother calling them in for dinner. The gates shone a bright golden color that hurt his eyes. He loved the way they caught the sunlight. The gates were so bright that he couldn't see into the garden.
"Let's go in," his sister said, nodding toward the gates.
"Okay you go first. I can't see," he replied.
She took his hand in hers. Her hand felt smooth to the touch, not like the leathery hand of the old and wrinkled. When he looked at her face she seemed younger, her features more defined. He gazed at his own hand. The skin was no longer wrinkled; it was smooth and alive, as if he was growing younger.
"What is happening to us," he asked with urgency in his voice.
"Let's go we can't be late," his sister replied looking ahead and pulling on his arm.
They walked slowly into the garden. It looked fresh and new. The air had the sweet smell of flowers and clean air. He could hear birds chirping in the background. He walked to the fountain in the middle of the garden. The water was clear and cool. He looked in to see his reflection and saw himself as he had looked when he was twenty.
"What kind of trick is this? What is going on?" he wondered how many times he would have to ask the same questions.
He received no reply. At that moment, the two children burst into the garden bringing with them laugher and make believe.
"Would you like to play hide-and-seek with us?" asked the boy, who looked exactly as he had when he was ten. He never realized how cute and innocent he had been. He was sure he was dreaming, but he didn't want to wake up. This dream was Heaven.
"Let's go," said his sister.
© 1999 Erin Leahy, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
I wrote this story for a creative writing class after listening to some classical music. While the music was playing this story is what I thought of.