before I

I never wanted this. I never asked to be born again, but of course God had other plans.

Each life was colder than the last. The past twenty had barely even been livable; I’d finished that last one myself, pleaded with God to let me fall home early, and when he had whispered nothing back I knew he understood.

I surrendered; I placed my head inside the stove, locked the kitchen doors and waited for the darkness to envelope me once more. See I’d already felt this same delicious pull of practically dying once before in this form, but they’d found me too soon and I’d been taken to halls of egg white rooms and shocked apart and stitched together and hurriedly fixed for another decade or so of putting on faces and opening fragile eyes. But this time God knew there was little to dissuade me, and once the will to live is gone, there isn’t a point in Him leaving an empty body on earth when the soul was so beyond ready to leave it.

He took me into the blackness of his hands, curling me in his fingertips as he separated what I was from what I had become, sifting out the truly evil bits but swirling back into me the learned pains I’d need for later; He wasn’t letting me be through there yet. He was to make me return again. I sighed, and if I’d had a physical form then it might’ve been crying, or maybe just staring stoically into His eyes with a pleading resignation.

This was to be my 33rd form, He told me softly, and I told Him I knew.

“You always were one of the ones who remembered when I brought you back,” he spoke, loving and somber. I didn’t know what to say to that.

“Who am I this time?”

“It will be easier than the last one, I promise.” When a prismatic arc of color flickered through His face at the carefully chosen words, I knew He spoke the truth; He was the truth.

I sighed again, a dusky orb of hearte with nothing but deep eyes staring back at his lined, gently smiling face.

“I promise,” He repeated, when I didn’t reply. He felt the air change as I began to trust in His truth again. “Who you are will be quite similar to who she was, but the world you live in will be kinder… I am sorry,” He finished. I knew He was working His purpose out, and I had nothing to do but follow His light. He placed me into the first inky pond and I relaxed for the first time in 30 or so earthyears.

A heavenday later, I was here, in the last of the cleansing pools, re-gathering myself for the impending rebirth. When His strong fingers slipped under the crystalline waters to encircle all that I was and would be, I swam reluctantly into them and settled myself down on my back. He lifted me up towards the intricate gold-rimmed mirror suspended in the nothing just beside the heavy door to the birthing room. I stared back at who I was to be as He watched me. This form had chocolate-y sepia eyes, swirls of dark brown hair that glinted auburn in the slivers of light slipping through from His eyes glittering behind me. I tested the graceful but small limbs a bit, noting the staffs of melodic scars up the wrists and ankles, ghosts of tears trailing down the soft round cheeks, and a full bottom lip that begged to sing.

He placed a single flower into my pale new hands. I twirled it between soft-tipped fingers and it was a smiling-yellow daffodil, and then a rain-sprinkled lilac blossom, and then a blood-scarlet rosebud, depending on how I held it… or maybe it was how I looked at it. He clothed me in a gown of filmy white and curled my hands around the flower’s stem. I tremulously felt the thorns and the stiff little leaves and the drops of water that crept down from its petals.

He breathed a song into me then, and a poem, a faith and a love, and everything else I’d need to survive humanity as long as He’d need me to. I realized that these wide, teary eyes made everything look more beautiful, even the pink scars lining my arms and the crisp dead bits that fluttered from my flower down into the dark. He prayed over me then, caressing the hearte He’d so lovingly made for me and molding it purposefully for whatever nightmares I’d be facing in this next life. I smelled the rain then, and I knew He was guiding me into the light. He embraced me one last time, and I turned the brass knob and pushed open the tall wooden door.

A blinding ache, a flashing ecstasy, and an ‘amen’ echoing through the hallway.

Then it was cold, icy cold, and I was crying.

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