It was like any other waiting room really. A few pictures hung on the wall and it was decorated in gentle hues that were pleasing and restful to the eyes. There were other people waiting, but not much was being said.
There were no phones or a reception desk, but the young lady had told her on arrival to take a seat and that someone would be with her shortly.
She didn’t feel quite so tired now. Maybe she was just wasting everyone’s time and she could slip out to go back home. How odd that she couldn’t see the door anymore.
The man next to her touched her shoulder.
‘Just arrived have you?’ he asked.
‘Yes. I’m not sure what time my appointment is though.’
‘Oh, we don’t have appointments here dear. When it’s our turn, someone comes to collect us’.
‘Have you been waiting long?’
He laughed, and didn’t answer.
She looked around her. The others were looking at her and smiling.
‘Is something wrong?’ she asked.
‘No,’ the man said. ‘They’re just thinking of the past and happy times. We all do. It’s part of the package.’
Slightly confused, she sat back and closed her eyes.
So many memories. Sadness, sorrow and regret. There were happier times though.
A door opened, and a light shone forth into the room.
‘Are you ready?’
The man stood up, and took the outstretched hand of a beautiful woman.
Looking back, he said,
‘This is my wife. She’s been waiting for me to join her.’
As they walked through the doorway together, he became a young man, giddily in love with his bride.
The door closed, and once again all that remained was a blank wall.
She looked across the room and a woman acknowledged her.
‘This is how it happens. Some say a selfish god takes only the best for himself. That’s not true you know. In this room, we, the Departed, find the best of ourselves, and it is only then that we are collected to take the Next Step. If you’re unhappy, you can’t go. For some, their precious moments come quite quickly, but for those jaded by life and circumstances, it takes longer for the happiest memory to emerge. We need to feel good about ourselves and to realise that we have another chance. And so, we wait.’
Another door opened, another light.
‘It’s my son,’ the woman said, and took the hand of a small child as he guided her towards the light.
Again, she sat back and closed her eyes. A spark of joy forced itself to the foreground. She saw herself as a laughing child, warm and safe in a familiar embrace, an embrace she had not felt in over 25 years. Although there had been happy times in her adult life, the innocence of childhood had been her happiest. She felt warm, content. And smiled.
She heard a door open, and opened her eyes.
She saw his hand, heard his beloved voice ask if she was ready.
She reached out and took it, and the warmth grew. ‘Hi Dad.’