What if when you die, you don't just die; you wake up in a different life.
And I don't mean heaven, or "God", or anything like that... just... another life; an alternate reality, per se, in another universe, where you've been "asleep" and "dreaming" this life, and when this life is over, you wake up and live another life, with all your memories from this life, and everything is different, but also the same, at the same time?
I woke up with a jolt.
Looking around the room, I saw my family sitting and standing in every corner of the small room; my mother next to me on my left; my father in the far corner by the window; my husband sat next to me on my right; my son stood next to my father with his head buried in my father's side, as if he were afraid to look at me. My brother stood with his arms folded across his chest near the privacy curtain; my aunts and uncles stood next to him, but my one aunt, who was handicapped, sat in a chair at the foot of my bed.
But I remembered.
"Did I die?" I asked in a raspy voice. My throat was dry. It was the first thing out of my mouth after... I honestly didn't know; hours, days, weeks, of being unconscious?
Everyone looked at each other. No one knew how to answer me, but I knew they knew.
I knew I died, but they didn't understand how I knew.
My husband was the first to speak, "Your heart stopped... and you were dead for almost five minutes before the doctors were able to resuscitate you."
My mother took my hand, "How did you know?" She asked. Her face was filled with mixed emotions, and her eyes held back tears. It was a combination of confusion, shock, and fear.
I tried to scooch myself to sit up, the there were so many wires and cords and tubes connected to me, I couldn't.
My husband picked up the remote that controlled the bed, and pushed the button so the top of the bed rose. "Thanks," I said.
I looked at my family, all wide eyed and perplexed, and tried to explain.
"At first, I thought it was a dream. I woke up in a giant field of grass, and wildflowers and trees. It was warm, and sunny, and there were so many other people there. I sat there looking around for what seemed like hours, just watching these people running, and talking, and looking at me out of the corner of their eye, but never saying anything, and I didn't understand. I wanted to say something, I could feel the words in my chest, but nothing would come out. And as I looked around me, I realized where ever I was, wasn't like anywhere I've ever been or seen before. I looked up at the sky, and I saw the sun, and two moons. That's when I started to wonder if I was dead. And then I saw her."
"Who?" My mom asked. "Who did you see?"
Lynn had been a friend of our family since I was ten years old. I was best friends with her oldest daughter for years, and my son and her grandson were born only a week apart. But then, when my son was three, Lynn committed suicide. It was a very violent death, and even though, by then, our families had grown apart, I had always considered Lynn and her kids to be like my second family. She was the first grown up I told I was pregnant when I was only 19. She was in the delivery room when my son was born.
And ever since she died, every once in a while, I could hear her voice in my head, answering my internal questions, giving me advice, and while it could have easily been my subconscious speaking in her voice, I always felt it really was her, somehow, guiding me in the right direction.
"Lynn?" My brother asked, confused.
"Bee and Neen's Mom? ... Jess' Mom!"
"Oh," he said with realization.
"I know this is going to sound so weird... but, as I was sitting in the field, watching all of these people, she appeared in front of me. She looked just as beautiful as ever, with her long black hair that hung down to her ass. And her deep brown eyes and Italian tanned skin." My mother smiled. She remembered. I'm pretty sure her and I were the only ones in the room who remembered Lynn, as I had met my husband years after Lynn died.
"She squatted in front of me and asked, 'What are you doing here?' And I looked her because I didn't even know where I was! And she said, 'You aren't supposed to be here yet.' Then she smiled and she placed two fingers on my forehead, and then... I woke up. Here. Now. In the hospital, apparently."
My mother squeezed my hand and said, "You died... and went to heaven?" As if that was the proudest thing I had ever achieved.
When she used the word 'heaven', it didn't feel right. There was no God to judge me, there was no golden gates, or clouds, or flying angels with halos and white wings.
I was in another world.
"No." I said.
"I don't know how else to explain it, Mom... but this... this place, whatever it was, was nothing like how we imagine heaven to be."
"How do you know?"
I thought about her question for a long time, trying hard to remember my experience, but the longer I was awake, the more the memory faded. But something inside me told me this place wasn't heaven. As I watched all of those people in the field, dancing and laughing and talking and... being, I just knew. And so, I answered, "Because no one there was dead."
- End Scene-