Chapter 1 : I.
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The sunshine is warm on my bare skin, warmer than I remember. Its rays waltz unhurriedly over my face and arms to a tune inaudible to my ears. A pale golden trail glistens in wake of the dance’s delicate steps. A part of the sun beam am I, and like the beam of light, I shine. A gentle breeze envelopes me. It too is warmer than I remember and brings great comfort to my chilled limbs. The wind smells of the sea, of salty memory. I leap out into the sea of air and float, suspended in its warmth, and comfortable in its familiarity. I am blissfully free, light as a speck of sand, bright as the summer sun.
Time is a concept, distantly familiar in this eternal bliss. How long I float on the wind, I do not know. I am perfect contentment. The roar of the waves beneath, around, within me is a private symphony, and in its serenity I simply am.
This is my corner of heaven.
The breeze shifts course and blows towards the shore. It gently sets me down whispering sweet promises of return. I lift my hand, strangely light, and allow the departing wisps of wind to caress my pale fingers. I know that I will again be one with the wind. My lips smile as my feet contact the living earth whose heart beats beneath my feet and whose lungs sigh sweetness.
An alluring fragrance calls to me, its voice sweet and clear, and beckons me to follow. Without thought, my limbs obey, moving with a grace that is not their own. A garden, vaguely familiar to me as though I had dreamt it in another lifetime, stretches out all around me. A rich, perfumed cherry-red fills my vision. Tiny blossoms surround me, overtaking my senses. The soft petals murmur, though I cannot understand their secrets.
A willow tree towers from the centre of the delicate flowers. I need not hear the discourse of her small green leaves to know her sentiment. She is weeping. My soft palm contacts the willow’s rough bark. I yearn to grant consolation to the mighty tree, and press my cheek against her trunk. In a mighty sigh, grief dissipates. The red blossoms embrace the aged willow. Tranquillity is the name of the garden.
A strange sound disrupts the peace so carefully safeguarded by the garden. It is a foreign voice, of neither the tree nor the cherry-red blooms. Curiosity fills me and I look around for the source. Through the low hanging branches of the grand tree, a young, school-aged boy with hair more red than the petals around him stands in front of a slightly older boy with hair as white blond as mine. A young man with kind eyes stands next to an older blonde woman who rests in the arms of a badly scarred man. They stare at a mound of fresh soil. Their faces tug at my mind, and though I cannot place them, I know that I love them. I now understand for what the willow was grieving. I nestle down amongst the flowers and watch the curious scene in front of me. The blond boy’s mouth opens. The perfect tranquillity disturbed by the sound that pours forth.
“Maman, do you think that Victoire will be okay here?”
The blonde woman opens her mouth, then closes it. No sound comes out. She turns and buries her head in the scarred man’s chest. He rubs his hand over her quaking shoulders.
“Of course she will be, Dom.” The scarred man said quickly. “She is home, were she belongs.”
“Nana says that Victoire is in heaven now.” The small, red-headed boy’s voice mirrored his size. “But what is heaven like?”
The boy with kind eyes looks up from the ground. He brushes his hands roughly over his eyes and then squeezes the youngest boy’s shoulders.
“Louis, I think that we can only dream what heaven is like. But Vic always imagined it to be a warm summer’s day. You know, with warm sunshine and soft breeze.” His voice shook as he spoke.
“I bet there are flowers there too.” The boy called Louis said confidently. “She always liked when you brought her flowers, Teddy.”
My heart is heavy for the family gathered here on my perfect day. The scent of the red flowers wafts up and curls languidly in my nostrils. I pluck one away from the rest. The stem leaves a trail of green on my skin as I roll it between my fingers. Victoire. The name is familiar in my mouth. Tucking the blossom behind my ear, I turn towards the cliffs above the sea where my breeze had left me. Tempting wisps of the salty wind tickle my face.
I step from the cliffs and into the warm billows blowing in off the sea. I know that I am once again a part of the warm waltz of the sun once more, dancing over the symphony of the rough water. But my mind wanders. And then it occurs to me. I am Victoire and the group in the garden mourned for me. Maman, Papa, Dom, Louis, and Teddy. The urge to return to them, to comfort them, to let them know that I was alright fills me.
But I know.
It is not yet time for them to follow me.
Floating on the salty air in the warmth of the summer sunshine, my fingers skim the top of the sea. The water is cool to the touch. It feels like liquid diamonds beneath my finger tips. The endless expanse cushions my body and gently rocks me. A speck of ruby mars the sea’s surface. I gently lift a red petal from the water, and know that Teddy had thrown it to me.
“Do not mourn for me.” I whisper out into the air. The sound of my voice surprises me. Crystal chimes to accent the symphony of the sea. “Heaven is perfect happiness.”
I close my eyes. I am one with the sun, one with the wind, one with the sea. And now I one with the cherry-red blossom as well. Time and space slip from my awareness. I am contentment. I simply am.
This is my corner of heaven, and here, I will be waiting.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading. I'd love to hear what you thought of this. Reviews are love.