I wasn’t sure what to expect the next time that I saw him. I’d only been up a few days, but I figured he at least would have come and found me by then. Then again, we hadn’t seen each other in some sixty years at that point. Maybe less. Maybe more. I still wasn’t sure quite how time worked on the Higher Planes. I was having enough trouble just finding my way around the Elysian Fields. Apparently they have an 18-hole golf course somewhere. The terrain changes every time you play, but the par remains the same.
I was down at St. Peter’s Pub enjoying a pint of the finest stout I’d ever imagined when I finally heard his voice. I spun around on my stool and there he was, looking just the same as the day he died. He didn’t recognize me, of course. I’d put on a few dozen years since the last time that we saw each other. But he still caught me staring, the old maid on the barstool.
I turned my face away to hide, trying to work up the courage to say something. He was hanging with a buddy who looked to have died somewhere between our ages. For a few minutes — or maybe just a lifetime — I sat there and listened to him talk. The sound of his voice sent me back to a time when I was young and he was still alive.
We both were still alive.
Then I overheard him tell about a girl. Some saintly slut that he’d been seeing, or sleeping with. I don’t know. I had never thought before about how that worked around here. After he had passed, I tried to move on. It took a couple years, but it was just what I had to do. It hadn’t occurred to me that people in the afterlife might do the same.
I downed my pint and flagged the barkeep for another. I bet he’d never thought I’d keep my drinking up the way I had, although sometimes I think his death’s what drove me to it.
Finally his friend made off for the head and I took my cue. I scooted down the bar until I was seated right next to him, and spoke the name I hadn’t spoke in years:
It seemed my voice had triggered some kind of recognition in him. He turned around to face me.
“…Lisa?” He held his breathe as he looked my withered frame up and down. “You’re here?”
“Of course I am. What did you think, I wouldn’t make it? Think they’d send me down below?” I didn’t mean to get so defensive so quickly. But his wasn’t the reaction I was expecting either.
“No! It’s just…It’s been a while, you know? How…how long has it been?”
“Sixty-three years,” I said.
Read part 2 here