It has been easier to stay away from Jake now that Chris is being nice again. But this morning when Chris was at the music shop and Zoe was at camp, Jake just came and sat on the sidewalk in front of my house with his dog, Milo. I went out there and sat next to him. He was quiet then he took my hand and I pulled it away but smiled at him. He rested his elbows on his knees and looked at the ground. Milo sat there with his tounge hanging out, panting in the summer heat. I thought about what I wrote yesterday and said to him,
“I have a new theory of heaven.”
“What’s that?” he said, still looking at the ground.
“Well, it has to do with combining science and spirituality.”
“That already has a name; Scientology.”
“No, not Scientology.” I said and pushed him so that he had to catch himself from falling over.
“What? I wouldn’t hold that against you.”
“Anyway,” I said. “Do you want to hear it?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
“It has to do with the String Theory and alternate universes.”
“Have you been watching Phineus and Ferb movies?” He pointed at me.
“I don’t know what that is. But I’ve been watching Nova.”
“OK, so, go on.”
“You keep interrupting me.”
“I’ll be quiet I promise. You were saying something about your scientific heaven.” He grinned and pet Milo’s head.
“My idea is that heaven is actually an alternate universe where we understand time in a way that we don’t have the intellectual ability to understand it now. So when we die and move on, this new universe gives us the new ability to understand what we could never comprehend before, allowing us to now experience time as the past, present and future. Because of this, we get to be with our loved ones from the past, the present and the future.”
“You mean like the people who died a long time ago and people you haven’t met yet are there?”
“Yes. And you know, with a traditional heaven, you leave everyone behind and join loved ones from the past there. But with this alternate universe, time theory, we get to also be with the people who we just left a second ago when we died. We get to be with everyone. Grief is obsolete. That is my idea of heaven.”
“That’s freaky. Are you all together in one room?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know how that would work. In this universe now, we don’t have the ability to comprehend that.”
“That’ for sure” He laughed. “There are some people from my past that I don’t want to see. And what about Hitler, is he there? Cause I don’t want to see him.”
“I sighed. I don’t know.”
“I’m just kidding with you.”
“‘I know” I said.
“I had no idea you were such a nerd,” he said rubbing my arm. “Why are you making up new religeons in your spare time? Is there someone you are missing?”
Now our conversation was at that point that I had fantasized about since I met him. He would be the one who would listen to me about my grief, who wouldn’t be tired of it. He never knew Meliah so I would’t feel bad telling him the gory details.
“My sister. She died in a car accident last year when she was 9 months pregnant.”
“Did the baby die?”
“Was there anyone else in the car with her?”
“No. No one else was hurt. She was hit by a truck and the driver walked away unscathed”
We sat there, quiet for a few minutes. I wondered if I had just completely alienated him. I was no longer fun. I was suddenly loaded with baggage. I had been thinking of him as a way do deal with my grief and that grief would make me mysterious and deep. But perhaps it doesn’t work that way. People don’t want to embrace sadness into their lives. They want excitement and positive newness to discover. Perhaps now discovering me wasn’t so much fun.
“That sucks” he said.
He got up and Milo did too, his tale wagging.
“I’m gonna go,” he said.
I just looked up at him, feeling really stupid.
“OK” I said, my face burning.
He turned around and walked off down the street with Milo at his heels. I guess I deserved that, I thought. This whole thing was bound to blow up in my face at some point. But that conversation certainly didn’t go how I imagined it would. So much for finding someone to help me through my grief. Maybe a year is too long, I thought. Maybe I needed to be getting over this and not be spreading misery everywhere.
I put my head in my knees there on the sidewalk and let some tears slip down my face. I thought about how a wormhole time machine would be good right now, and that I probably had two big red marks on my forehead from pressing it on my knees. A drop of salty water dripped on my flip-flop.
I looked up and there was Jake again.”This time tomorrow?” he said.
He walked off again down the street and I smiled through my tears…big circle red marks on my head and all.