I feel as if I am lying on my bed, only I know for a fact that there is no bed underneath my body. Still this feeling of complete rest invades me. I don’t want to open my eyes. The feeling is in my body but not in my head–I am aware that there’s something wrong and I refuse to check in case I’m right. I spend what seems like an eternity like that, trying to remember those meditation exercises that weird substitute teacher tried to get us to learn, but I need to open them now. There’s woods. Everywhere. I didn’t expect this: Anything that isn’t absolute darkness or clouds with angels was not my idea of afterlife (I went to Catholic school, what can I say?). Anyways. Woods. My body moves through the sea of trees without my command. I barely notice–the feeling of rest still grows. Seems nice until I see a small inscription on one of them: M+B carved inside a heart on a Blackwood. This is not the afterlife, this is just San Pedro. My body takes a turn I resist to make and takes me home. The backyard. My dad hanging up my green polo shirt. I see mom through the window of the kitchen, working on her December exams, I don’t have enough time to see if Jessica is in her bedroom. My body floats to the river. As nice as it is even from here the river smells like dirt and mud. I can’t help but make an effort and take the lead. I float towards the football field. It’s getting dark and I have a feeling that there might be a game tonight. I never liked it when I was alive though. It feels weird to say the words “when I was alive” though. There’s no game. There’s no one. Well, no one but two kids running through it trying to escape something or find something. One waits for the other and gives him her hand. They keep running and a light goes off at the tunnel. Bernadette comes slowly into the scene, searching for the kids, thinking about going back and finishing some movie on her laptop back at the security booth. She turns around, giving up, still hearing the giggles and I go back to the river. It’s almost night. I close my eyes again. My body takes the lead again. I feel it moving, turning… but I trust it. I’m at peace. I feel light on my eyelids and I can’t help it but open them. There’s a huge light pointing at me, hurting my eyes. I descend, trying to get away from it and on the way down I see something floating. Felipe. Felipe looks me dead in the eyes and says, “You never got me enough treats, I never loved you.” I try to reach my long lost guinea pig but he flies away into the night and out of the light beam. I keep descending, I never noticed I went so high. Suddenly the light calls for me, calls for me, hurts me, and screams at me.

“Bernadette, please move the beam,” I mumble. ♦