The Night Joe Died
Joe pushed his apartment door open with his foot and entered the dark and lonely place he now called home. He set the bag of groceries on the table as his eyes adjusted to the sparse light in the apartment coming from the lone lamp by his only comfortable chair. He just stood there staring at the lamp for a long while and basked in his own misery. Life had become such a burden and such a load that he felt he could no longer bear it. He felt overwhelmed by the emotions that were coursing through his veins. He was also a little buzzed or drunk, he could not tell. But what Joe did know was that the divorce was killing him, he missed his mom and dad, and he was completely eaten up with guilt. He hated his life and really had just been going through the motions for a long time, and now it has all caught up with him. He just knew that life was cruel and he was ugly because of it. Joe didn’t believe in love any longer because he himself knew of no one that really loved him.
Joe hadn’t cried in years it seemed, but at this moment it just happened. He fell to his knees and began to weep. He wept tears of bitterness and of wondering why he felt so unloved. He wept because he had been accussed of pushing everyone he loved away and he wept in self pity. He put his head in his hands and was helpless to stop the pain from pouring from his tightly clinched eyes. He tried to stop it but he couldn’t.
Deep within Joe, he remembered a time of happiness, a vision of holding his grandfathers hand and singing a song that he had long forgotten. He could hear the melody but the words came broken and distant except for one phrase that echoed over and over in his aching head: “create in me a new heart”. Joe involuntarily repeated in his head the phrase “create in me a new heart” from that magical song and remembered the security and comfort and love he felt so long ago. At last the words pushed out through Joe’s lips and he spoke it so loudly and mightily that he caught himself by surprise. He began to repeat “create in me a new heart” at first passionately, and then with resolution and indignation, and finally with only a whisper like a whimpering child.
As Joe gave in to the mysterious phrase, suddenly he felt someone take his left hand in a grasp and lift his right hand upward. Awash in despair, Joe was sure he was imagining it. But with his arms raised and the touch of that strange hand holding his, something happened. He felt as if his heart would burst. It was like his heart began to burn and the warmth pushed and spread throughout his whole body. Then he felt a white hot light, and what felt like a crack in the inside that began to sear him in pain. He squeezed the hand that was holding his and the hand squeezed back sympathetically. His free hand was reaching up and he could feel what can only be described as electricity pulsing through him. It was like the electricity was passing into his heart and making it explode. It was too much to bear and he knew that he would die and he began to tremble.
Then silence. Joe dropped his hands to his side as he knelt with his head collapsed on his chest and was suspended in perfect silence. Out from behind him he felt a warm breeze approaching somehow; waves crashing in the distance but growing closer. Then the waves rolled through him and over him, one after another he floated in their rhythm. Joe was consumed and was powerless to resist this mystical energy. The waves pushed from the inside and flowed out of him through tears. But these tears were different. They were tears of rapture and joy and love and everything indescribable. It poured over him until he could take no more. Joe collapsed in a pool of his own tears on the carpet. He felt tired and peaceful. Then he sensed a presence like a soft caress and a whisper in his ear, “I love you Joe…I love you”. Then the person or presence whom Joe did not know gave a gentle kiss on his cheek. Joe was too exhausted to even open his eyes but managed to groan a question: “Who are you…what is your name?” There was no reply and Joe felt so sleepy he began to fade, but before he fell asleep he heard a reply like a distant thunder echoing across space, “You know my name Joe”. He then fell into a deep sleep.
Joe awoke the next morning with the sunshine pouring through his window and shining into his swollen eyes. Something was different…