I Can Walk©
“I can walk, I can walk”. He gleefully shouted with surprise as he gracefully walked across the empty and shallow room.
He looked down at his youthful and strong legs and feet and saw and felt no swelling, no pain and stood erect with ease. He felt no pain in his limbs. He was even trimmer and younger than before. No big belly.
He walked faster and faster back and forth across the smooth bare tiled floor. Since he had just his socks on, he glided like a playful child would across that polished floor. He slanted his now agile body weight to balance himself as if he were sliding into second base. In fact, he actually slid his body against the floor and imagined himself stealing a base as he did when he was just a scrappy kid in a sandlot. With this sudden burst of vitality, it was an enlightening revelation.
Of course, it brought him to wonder what was going on.
The room, which was extremely bright and laced with thick white blurry fog, was a stark bold place, yet gentle and soft as powder. There were no windows or doors. There were just walls of blurry white fog that covered them and its ceiling. He walked further to explore a long stretch of what seemed to be a hallway, again surrounded and bordered in bright white fog. The temptation to walk and run forward was irresistible. The path was so long that he was able to run to what seemed like an eternity to cover. He ran, jumped, skipped, slid, tumbled, did pirohettes and acrobatic moves that he never thought he would be able to do again (not that he practiced pirohettes). He thought he heard faint music in the background so he started dancing with his imaginary partner to a waltz.
He was totally immersed, hypnotized and taken by this sudden freedom. Not since his prime of life, did he feel this youthful abundance of joy of movement and freedom from age and what accompanies it.
It was then he thought he heard a voice. There was no one there, just a faint voice. It had no instruction, no familiarity and no tone. It was just a comforting indistinguishable voice of reassurance and direction. He continued dancing. But that embracing voice kept supporting and encouraging his impromptu and delightful performance.
Slowly, there were others joining him on this fuzzy and vast dance floor. There were people he knew in his adventurous life. Some he recognized instantly, while others it took a while to familiarize with. As they all danced slowly, they nodded to him in recognition and admiration. Nothing was said, just everyone continued dancing contently and naturally.
Then came a couple that he was very fond of throughout his life.
“Aunt Laura, Uncle Joe, I haven’t seen you for so long.” He said with proud humility and sincerity. They then switched and he was dancing with his good dance partner, Aunt Laura.
He was greeted and welcomed with warm gestures from everyone.
As he danced, a band began to appear. He knew some of them. Isn’t that Rick on trumpet and Jerry on trombone? He thought to himself. He wandered off the dance floor to join the band. They didn’t stop playing music. But standing upright next to them was a huge bass fiddle. Just like the one he played and carted around for many years. It was as if it had puppy dog eyes and it was begging him to play it. He positioned his hands and body against the smooth varnished wood of its neck and strummed the perfectly tuned nylon strings. As he played the bass, the rest of the band turned to him and nodded in approval. That’s just what the music needed, a backbeat.
As they played beautiful music, the crowd grew and enjoyed dancing to their serenades.
It came time to stop the music. As he mingled with his bandmates, he then went to sit down.
Not long after he found himself in that comforting place, in another room with the same features, a woman stood in the same fashion as he. She stood there and a little state of confusion, blinked her eyes and gazed with wonder all around. She took a few quick steps and again found no pain or discomfort in her legs and body. She took several deep breaths to consume the fresh air of youth and being.
Taking sudden and rapid movements, she darted about looking for something, anything. A chair, table, counter, any object to hold, touch, move, something physical to relate to. She started pacing, walking, skipping until that long hallway appeared. She first thought that it was too long and too strenuous to handle walking through, but a voice reassured her otherwise. She thought nothing of that delicate voice. She didn’t question it or distinguish it as a voice. She just kept on skipping down that lengthy walk way. After a while, she realized that she wasn’t winded, out of breath, tired or strained. She was just confused of her odd surroundings.
Then she stopped and looked down at her familiar yet unfamiliar legs. They were strong, pretty, energetic, slim, and swift. She looked around with sudden head movements like a squirrel does.
She picked up a faint sound of music in the background. She slowly and cautiously ventured toward it. Peering through the fuzzy white walls, she gradually walked on through its border. There were faint images of people dancing. Not all of the same people as before. Again, some she vaguely recognized and some she knew. It didn’t dawn on her to go over to anyone. Curiosity and the sense of foreboding was still in charge.
With great suspicion, she inched her feet closer still. She walked quietly and gingerly like a cat would wanting not to be noticed. As people turned toward her, they recognized her. With some uncertainty about her, she didn’t know what her appearance would be. There was no mirror of vanity to check. She extended her arms and gave a quick once over to her slim and shapely body and figure.
With a smile inside her, she liked her body, clothes, shoes, jewelry and other personal adornments. She gently put her hands to her hair and touched it. She knew that by just the touch that it was to her liking. Now that she was a little more comfortable and secure, she proceeded to walk with self-confidence.
Still a little bewildered by all this, she mustered up the courage to move on. As people waved, smiled and greeted her, she nodded back in uncomfortable and uncertain smiles.
Continuing onward through the crowd, the people she saw were more familiar and friendly. Then she spotted her mom and dad. He ran to them like a child would run to their parents. And then she saw her grandparents and other family members.
But then, the crowd parted and as it did, this beautiful woman eyed HIM from across the room.
Immediately he cried out “Agnes, I knew you were coming, but so soon?”
They took each other’s hands, hugged, kissed, and he escorted her to the majestic dance floor. The dance floor cleared for their unaccompanied and intimate performance. They danced and looked in each other’s adoring eyes like they did when they first met many years ago. Between them dancing, the gleam in their eyes and the cloudy and fuzzy background, it was heavenly.
The crowd dispersed quietly.
There they were left there all alone. Locked arm in arm they strutted and stared at each other adoringly like they did a lifetime ago. As they walked slowly, they passed through a gigantic tunnel void of clouds or anything. They looked through its what seem to be a glass view and saw their children, grandchildren and immediate family all doing fine.
This pleasing landscape contented them with profound pride and concrete reassurance. They looked happily at each other, gripped each other’s hands tighter and continued walking with the fuzzy white cloud at their sides.*
*Dedicated to my parents, Anthony (July 21, 1932-March 2, 2013) and Agnes Evangelista (February 3, 1931-March 19, 2013).