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By LKV

 

Inspired by true events

Years 2022 & 20153

An elderly man reflects on his past and contemplates his future.

Paradise

Spring brought an unusually light and crisp air; that gently caresses his light-peach face. The dawn is relaxed and emerges unhurriedly. Feeling a vigor unbeknownst to him, Jesse strolls effortlessly through the radiant green grass that sways to the rhythm of the wind. The sea of lilac buttercups, multicolored hibiscus, rainbow orchids, marbled tulips, dazzling red roses, and mesmeric white anthuriums surrender his gaze. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Jesse stoops easily. With a palm outstretched, his once knobby, now, perfectly sculpted fingers stroke a metallic red rose. His beady almond eyes gaze in amazement at the sheer luxurious beauty of the flower. His thoughts seesaw between the astonishing beauty in his grasp and a strange, crumbly, and dusty past.  

The kind wind gently sweeps his midnight black hair from his face, revealing a pair of caramel, mesmerizing eyes and pencil-thin soft pink lips. His memory is as young as he is. His thoughts remain a blur, a hazy outline that gradually takes shape like a misty horizon at the break of dawn.

Jesse's thoughts wander to the garden that captures his gaze. The garden is a work of art. On either side, flourishing emerald green hanging plants unfold glowing blossoms, drape jagged cliffs, and cascade majestically; startling petals that sat cheerfully on the surface of an aquamarine crystalline pool. The pool sleeps contentedly. The air is quiet, except for the melody of a flurry of rollicking, exotic, birds, sporting multicolored coats made more luminescent by piercing silver sunlight rays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intense green translucent stones formed a walkway exiting the garden. Jesse returns his stare to the ethereal varieties that first seize his gaze. A cluster of shimmery ruby red, well-choreographed roses perform energetically. Jesse stoops with unfamiliar ease. Basking in the delicate aroma, he gently plucks a glossy red sun-kissed rose; with remnants of tiny balls of dew; causing a glittery elegance. Staring at the sheer beauty between his fingers guides his memory back to his animate flower.  

It seems like it was only yesterday. As Jesse's memory takes shape, he glances at the people before him. His eyes stroll and remain fixed on her, Jessica. Her cheeks are butter-pink. Her luxurious black hair is neatly tied in a ponytail, with delicate and cheerful curls dangling, framing the sides of her face. Her face rounded with a tapered chin. Her longitudinal nose tapered at the brim of her luminous lips. She wears a white dress with a red rose; that makes her golden tanned skin glow. Her stare lifts Jesse's gaze, drawing him in.

In unusual haste, Jesse alights, bolts in the direction of the transparent walkway, seemingly paying no attention to the multicolored school of fish in the stream which meanders below the glassy stones; or to the cows and bears feeding harmoniously; all the while echoing words of infinite gratitude. He runs scatterbrained, each stride becoming more intense. The weather is perfect, yet he is awash with sweat. His white shirt was already beginning to cling to his back. He feels unusually well, but his chest pounds heavily, forming tiny but visible tremors on his shirt.

His scrambled thoughts rove the horizons. The scenery is graceful and feels unreal. He knows he has been here before, but he could not explain it. A wooden sign on the left etched directions in peculiar yet, intelligible hieroglyphics. With a peculiar sense of direction, unbeknownst to him, he ventures into the familiar unknown. Jesse stumbles on a little boy cuddled by a spitting cobra. The boy is ruddy in appearance, with olive-brown, sun-bathed complexion, and rounded blue eyes. He appears to be no more than two years old. Jesse thought it a bit odd that the reptile is docile.

The boy returns a welcoming smile, gesturing jubilantly. It wasn't long before Jesse stands motionless. A simple, but welcoming shed sat on a well-manicured lawn bordered by luxuriant fruit trees and turquoise streams. Amidst the crowd, he spots her. Her skin has a radiance, resembling glittering rays at dawn. Her figure is the original conical flask when they first met, only now precisely perfected. Her hair tumbles down the small of her back. She is wearing a white dress paired with white leather sandals. She speaks cheerfully, just as she always does.

 

A splintering silence bursts through the crowd. The jaw-dropping awe amidst the group spins Jessica around. The paper cup falls from her hands. She looks past his bedazzlingly luminescent ivory skin, flawlessly sculpted build, and silken hair that slicked down the side of his suave, angular face. He wears shimmery white. He is built to perfection. Jesse's beguiling eyes daze her for a moment.

 

A thousand images erupt and explode in her mind. With racing hearts beating as one, they leap towards each other. With arms outstretched followed by a vigorous grip, they clung, so tightly until they could no longer feel. Jessica's passionate and excited tears wet Jesse's tear-stained face. He delicately kisses away a tear. Gently, he holds her supple, nervous, and noticeable bare fingers; and on knelt knees asked: “Will you marry me again?" With another tight embrace and tears of overwhelming and confounding joy, he presents her with a mesmerizing red flower. Long awaiting family and friends pour in, erupting in electrifying applauses and cheerful hugs. 

Moonlight journeys gracefully through the dusky evening, spreading soothing charm. Under the moonlit expanse sits the beloved couple, bound by boundless joy and beaming with comfort, elation, and gratitude under a gleaming sky, shining with soft and oscillating lights. An eagerly anticipated celebration begins.

Reality brings Jesse's thoughts to a halt. His tired heart slows its pace. Jesse's chest struggles and heaves. His breathing becomes sharp and rapid. Just before he draws one last sigh, his eyes lower; and close slowly; his heart is satisfied, content, and assured that these closed eyes will reopen and that neither his nor Jessica's last breath will be their last.

Cheering Crowd
Sarah: Team
Anchor 1
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