The sun explodes out of the horizon and the morning sky catches fire with angry reds and oranges.
A soft breeze carries the smells of a new day on the lake.
Cranes fish and ducks quack while waddling around in the water with the buzz of insects overwhelming everything.
Yet Tommy misses yet another glorious morning because he is visiting limbo.
His body is present, sitting on the wet crabgrass, in lotus position with ankles on knees eyes closed and his hands resting calmly in his lap.
He breathes slow and steady.
He looks as if he is just resting, but the vessel in which he houses his soul is currently empty, for the essence of Tommy is in the astral.
The place between all worlds and universes.
It is what his mother once referred to as, “not remotely possible.”
His mother thought the soul belonged to God and could only go one of two places Heaven or Hell, she thought the multiverse a fools dream, she thought the only magic that has ever occurred was perpetrated by Jesus and was limited to when he turned water into wine, walked on water, or the other stories the bible told of his life.
Tommy knew otherwise.
He first left his body when he was just nine years old and traveled to the moon. He found the buried American flag left on the surface by Apollo 11, but as he floated around he grew bored with the desolate dusty place and almost gave up projection entirely until he figured out, with practice, how to will himself anywhere.
In middle school, he did the normal horndog teenage boy type things one with this ability might be tempted to do.
With maturity, he realized, this was a huge betrayal- the guilt of which limited him.
He wanted to do more than gawk at nudity.
He sought to interact with the spiritual fabric. He wanted to move away from the physical places in his own universe and see more of the entirety of space, touch time, and feel the energies that makeup everything.
He learned to manipulate the levels that existed in the astral. He could make subtle adjustments to them. It wasn’t touching a thing or shaping individual events it was more that he could fold one reality into another. He discovered that there were endless possibilities even for himself. He discovered how to be every version of himself. He could be both alive and dead, rich and poor, stupid and smart. He had been to the afterlife, the womb, the dark side of life, he sampled variations that made dreams seem lame.
And when all of the hims came in contact with the same ability, it was like an infinite number of brains working in tandem.
They were of one mind and all experiences became the same experience.
He found the center of the universe and could go there and bask in the swirling white light of creation as quickly as he could see which scratch-off lottery cards were going to be winners.
His mother would have said none of this was possible, but his mother is dead and lost in an illusion of her life that was black and white.
Either wrong or right.
She exists in a self-created limbo, one in which there are little options, in a universe where infinity could be a playground, where one sits and waits for something that will never happen is a complete tragedy.
As the sun rises higher over the lake, Tommy spends the morning with his Mom locked in the delusion in which she lives.
They sit on a park bench in a small grey park. The trees are bare. There is no wind, or animals, or children playing, or cars on the streets. There are other people around, but they move with hunched shoulders and stare only at the dirty pavement under their feet.
This is a version of the afterlife where most will go and remain for eternity.
Tommy takes his Mom’s hand, “if you just let go, you can have whatever you want.”
“Tommy!’ she looks at him and he sees conviction, ‘why must you ruin a good day with this Buddhist mumbo jumbo. I’m not going to let go of anything. Jesus is the way.”
Tommy sighs, he does not know if he will ever convince her. She was wrong that any strict set of guidelines provided anything more than a simplistic story of the multiverse. This misconception followed her into death.
He wishes he could just take her soul with him and show her the endless possibilities that exist, but to do that she would need to let go of the imagined physical limitations of her body.
Sadly it’s not possible within the rules she has set up around herself in life.
Tommy knows she is lost. He drops his mother’s hand and stands up.
His mom looks up at him, “Will you come back tomorrow.” There is desperation playing around the corners of her eyes like a fire looking to catch, maybe that means there is hope.
And as usually happens Tommy feels the hope and promises, “Yes Mom, I will not leave you here.”
She nods, turning to face the ground, once again lost in the hell of her limitation.
Then Tommy’s soul returns to his body tears falling heavy from his eyes.