A Symphony of Cicadas
Author:Crissi Langwell

Twenty-five



“I think I’m ready,” I told Aunt Rose. She stepped forward to take my hand.

“Are you sure?” she asked. I glanced one last time at John who was now in deep conversation with Hannah, Sam at his side as they chatted as casual as long-time friends among the bright lights and loud music. I smiled.

“I really am,” I told her. I could hear the songs of Heaven flirting with the sounds of the carnival. I was being overwhelmed with a sense that this world was no longer mine, that I didn’t belong here, that I didn’t even want to belong here. It was like all of the past was one sweet memory of a more naïve time, and I was about to go home.

Before I could take one last look, say a final goodbye, or even breathe in a final whiff of the world around me, Aunt Rose and I were whisked through the air at a speed I had never experienced. We broke through the atmosphere of earth, plummeted through space like shooting stars, and whipped by the silent planet giants in the sky like passing mile markers on a highway. The air around me tasted like a copper penny, though sweet in the strangest way. And I kept my eyes open so I wouldn’t miss anything.

We reached the barrier in what felt like moments, slowing to a stop right in front of the glowing wall. I could see the swirling wind storming on the outside of the border of our galaxy, and I reached forward to touch the wall and feel the vibration of its movement. The wall glowed brighter under my touch, and then moved aside to create a vacant doorway of space that created a safe passage through the swirling tornado to the other side of our galaxy. I peered through and could see a whole universe of beauty, lands farther than the eye could see or imagine, showing all the parts of earth I had loved in my life that now existed in Heaven. Streams flowed into lakes, the fields of lush green expanded to the horizon, and deer grazed on leafy bushes. A mountain towered over a lake, a waterfall streaming down its side and creating a luscious fog that misted over a garden holding every flower I had ever seen in my life.

And this was just what I could see from where we hovered on our side of the galaxy.

I wanted to see more. Still clutching Aunt Rose’s hand, I moved forward. She began to loosen her grip, startling me from continuing through. Confused, I looked back at her.

“This is as far as I go,” she apologized. She smiled at me with kind eyes, her comfortable beauty radiating in the glow of barrier. I embraced her, though I felt no sadness. I pulled back and looked into her eyes, the silky blue I alone hadn’t inherited. If I looked deep enough, I could catch glimpses of her thoughts, her life, and the very parts of her that made her who she was. And within it all, I felt her yearning to join me and leave the sadness and heartache behind.

“Come with me,” I said to her, but she pulled back at the suggestion. She looked back in Earth’s direction, even though it was far too distant to see.

“I can’t,” she said, but her tone was unconvincing.

“Yes, you can,” I assured her. “Leave all that behind. Let’s move on together. Let me be your final traveler to Heaven.”

“But what about Sara?” Aunt Rose asked. “Who will guide her when it’s her time?”

“Sara will be fine,” I promised her. “There is always someone for those who cross over. You told me that. But it’s your time now to move beyond this divide. Let’s cross over together.” I took her hand in mine. She hesitated for only a moment, taking a deep breath and letting it out as she weighed the decision. She looked through the doorway, peering at the worlds that were waiting for us to explore. The look in her eyes went from fearful and unsure to longing and determined anticipation.

“Let’s go,” she whispered, her hushed voice filled with giddiness, her smile that of a child, and we walked through. And the songs of the angels cascaded over us, reminiscent of the cicadas’ song in a forest a long, long time ago.

The end.