In the last memory of his recorded life, he saw through a haze and it seemed to him he’d lived the last two decades barefoot on the beach, as a tree.
Nothing was strung anymore through time or space, as the fabric of anything he’d ever known had unraveled into this, a pulsating mass of feeling, of remembering, and he knew, although he couldn’t prove it, that he was no longer a physical being.
A barefoot last walk on the beach, the foamy water receding over his footsteps, and when he turned around, in the spaceless space that he could not visualize, the wife and children around him were now simply voices that called to him from what could be a little boat, next to him, beyond the mist that was now setting in a golden light.
He was hearing the lapping of the little waves against the boat, as if everything was taking place on his cheek.
He could feel their breath, and hear the inflexion of their voice and he was still barefoot on the beach, but now was standing waist-high in water, and he saw himself at four. Now the mist had cleared and he was sitting cross-legged on the grass right in front of himself, in a clearing in the yard of the school for autistic children that backed up to the park of his childhood house. He was playing with a little girl who had been crying.
And he knew without doubt, without knowledge but with absolute Faith that he was being shown one of the purest selfless acts of kindness he’d committed in his life.
And he’d forgotten it.
At that same moment, an amazing thing happened. Everything around him, everything he’d witnessed in the last timeless time he’d been standing or being where he was, everything around him, memories, feelings, sounds and nothingness, somehow penetrated inside of him and became him.
Nothing could explain this, but he remembered once, standing in Prague and posing a strange question to the Universe, a question he amused himself with, about waking up illiterate, blind, and amnesic, and what he would retain if he could never regain words and memory. What had happened in Prague was this strange feeling that everything around him, suddenly penetrated electrically through the hair at the base of his wrists, and crawled under his skin into his very marrow and coursed through his blood.
At this moment it seemed like this would be the closest parent to what was happening.
It seemed to him that he was transported into another moment in his life, after Prague, after the divorce, after the loss, to his trip across Africa and that one early evening when the women had gathered to pray for the sick ones.
He saw everything from that evening, again, with increasing bliss, remembering how happy he had been then. He saw the small room, all the women holding the prayerbooks in their reverent cupped hands, drinking the words in and offering them to the needy world, he remembered the unison of the voices, rising as one and reverberating through the walls and the ceiling of the room. Finally, on her hard smallish chair, he saw the young woman who had so impressed him and who he had somehow forgotten, and who humbly mouthed, eyes closed, with all her heart and soul, every prayer said that night.
She knew every prayer by heart, and her heart was mouthing each prayer.
All of a sudden the rudest thing happened and the alarm went off and he woke up on his back staring at the ceiling, stunned. He curled up his knees against his chin, holding them tight and reached over to his wife, waking her with his sobs.
“We only take our prayers with us…we only take our humble moments…”