Wednesday, December 14, 2016

When the Fat Lady Sings (Short Fiction)

I just heard of this proverb, "it ain't over until the fat lady sings." Not politically correct to call anyone the f word, but this is a much better title than my original one "The Last Six Days." This is obviously a story about the end of the world. I know, it's lame. But mine doesn't involve zombies, aliens or mutants. I was trying to imagine how the end would be like in a "realistic" scenario. I hope you will find it entertaining and thought-provoking.

Oscar woke up with a gruesome headache. He looked at the clock and it was already three in the afternoon. He got up from bed and stumbled into the bathroom. He almost fell asleep again in the shower. What happened last night and who was I with? Was it more than one? He no longer cared. When he stepped out of the shower, he saw a woman’s watch sitting strategically on his bathroom counter. He knew that it was just a scheme by her to get him out on another date. On his full length mirror, there was a heart emoji and two words written in bloody-red lipstick, “Call me.” He made a mental note to order his housekeeper to wipe it off ASAP. His gaze in the mirror shifted to his naked self and he was as usual mesmerized by what he saw --- a magnificent Greek god with eyes like emeralds, a body of a superhero, and a package that always delivers. He could stare at that masterpiece all day long. In fact, the term “narcissist” was just a term invented by the short and the ugly.
Oscar put on his robe and went downstairs to the kitchen. He grabbed a jar of orange juice and savagely poured it down the throat. He went to the dining table and was shocked to find that there was nothing on it. Where was his breakfast and lunch? And what about his daily newspaper? Oscar was furious. “Martha! Bruce!” He only heard his echo. He turned on the overhead intercom, “Martha Green and Bruce Taylor, come to the kitchen right now!” Under normal circumstances, his two servants would be running toward him like dogs racing for their bowls of chow, but not today. Oscar took out a bagel. He wanted to toast it but soon realized that he had not done it for a long time and he forgot how to set the oven. After a few trials and errors, he finally had his first bite of the day. Something is off; something is very different about today. When he finally had the energy to shout at someone again, he dialed his personal assistant’s number. No one answered the phone. With mounting anger and impatience, he dialed his driver’s number.
Oscar heard a familiar voice, but the tone was new. “What do you mean what? Where the hell is everybody? Where are Martha and Bruce?”
“Don’t you know what’s happening? Haven’t you watched the special broadcast? Idiot?”
Oscar was shocked. No one dared to call him an idiot, especially calling it in a way that copied his style. “What the fuck?! Are you high? Do you know who you are speaking to?”
Yes douchebag, and I ain’t gonna waste another second on you. See you in hell!” The phone flat-toned.
Oscar was dumbfounded. “Special broadcast, special broadcast.” He stormed into the living room and turned on his gigantic movie screen. It was showing president Trump’s sadder-than-ever face without his larger-than-life hairdo. Damn it, Hilary was right, America has come to an end. But the red and bold text blinking beneath Trump proclaimed differently: "The World is ending in SIX DAYS!"

“Good morning fellow Americans. I speak to you one last time as the president of the greatest nation. I have catastrophic news for you and every occupant of this planet. NASA has been tracking an extinction-level asteroid during the last six months. The size of this asteroid is comparable to, if not larger than, the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. It’s h-u-g-e. The North American continent will take a direct hit. It will be the equivalent of thousands and thousands of atomic bombs exploding at once. It will trigger earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic explosions of extreme magnitudes. All lives on our continent will quickly end. In the following few months, most life on this planet will gradually die out and the human race will come to its conclusion. Thus, for all intents and purposes we only have six days left in this life as we know it, which by the way, does make me the last president of United States. Frankly speaking, I have done a tremendous job. . . Yes, there have been many rumors about this and yes, we have been denying it and keeping it classified. The reason is . . . it would not be humanly possible to prevent our doom and we did not want to cause panic around the globe. Imagine living in extreme phobia for over six months. Therefore, fellow Americans, we hope that you will spend the last six days in the company of your loved ones. It is my hope that people working in the transportation industry will sacrifice at least one day of their remaining life in helping others travel back home to reunite with their loved ones. The wall on the Mexican border has been torn down. Illegal immigrants are encouraged to go back to their homeland. . . Everyone will be released from their duty. The prisoners will be set free, except the terrorists, the mentally ill and the ones with psychopathic history. . . Allow me to go off my script to lighten things up a little bit. I cannot believe that I will say my catch line in such grave circumstances, but here goes: ‘You are all fired.’ Lastly, I want to go on the record for two more things. I understand that some people would not die without their closure . . . The Roswell UFO incident was a fact. Alien spaceships did crash at Roswell in 1947. We have been studying their remains and their vessel for decades. We have just published our findings and you can find them under the hashtag ‘aliensR4real’ . . . As to the second thing, it is more personal . . . my hair is also real, but . . .” President Trump parted his hair in the middle, and there, concealed under the golden haze was a large bald spot as barren as a skating rink.

Oscar just froze there. He pinched his arm really hard to wake himself up. When he felt the sharp pain, he was finally convinced that this was real. He looked at the clock --- he only had five days and nine hours left.
He flipped through other channels. Most of the mainstream channels had Donald Trump’s announcement playing over and over. The rest of the channels were running religious programs. There was a preacher preaching Christianity 101 to people who wanted to convert at the last minute, “When Jesus was dying on the Cross, he said to one of the thieves, ‘Today, you will be with me in paradise’. . . ” Another channel had a pastor talking about the Book of Revelation, proclaiming that Jesus Christ would return on the seventh day. There was also a channel dedicated to Muslims. It was showing footages of worshippers praying and bowing on the floor of a gigantic mosque; women in black, men in white, as if the floor was covered by a large piece of zebra skin. Oscar finally found a program for Catholics. In fact, it was the program for Catholics. It was showing a live view of a packed Saint Peter's Square. There was a small and rounded stage in the centre of the square. Pope Francis was kneeling on it and praying with his arms opening toward the sky. Not a single trace of fear was found on his face. When he uttered certain words, the corners of his lips were lifted in an expression that looked suspiciously like joy. However, the faces of his followers were telling a vast number of tales. Some people were relatively calm while uttering their prayers at a normal pace; others were literally howling with their hands high up in the air as if they were reaching for the finger of God. The rest seemed paralyzed by fear. They were leaning against each other to hold themselves up and only sighs came out of their mouths. Oscar began to evaluate his faith. He was born a Catholic, but he could not remember the last time he went to a mass or did a confession. He believed in heaven and the land flowing with milk and honey. The problem was, he didn’t believe that he would go there.
During the next hour, Oscar just sat there and reflected on his life. He was the only child. His parents had him when they were already in their late 40s. The family owned an oil company. Growing up he was extremely spoiled. To eat, he only had to part his lips; to dress, he only had to stretch out his arms. After his parents died, he inherited billions of dollars. With that much money, he had been to all of the exotic and hidden jewels on the planet. He had done all the kick-ass stuff ever invented by mankind. He even had a $1000 sundae topped by foils of gold. But in thinking about being rich, Oscar realized that all of his money and possessions meant absolutely nothing at this point. In fact, he was overcome by a novel feeling of poverty. Other than money, he had nothing: no family, no GF, no BFF, no Bro, and the last Hoe had also gone off the radar. Oh no, he came to the conclusion that he would most definitely die alone in this gigantic tomb and no amount of money could bribe someone to lay here with him.
Oscar took out the oldest and finest wine from his collection, and rolled himself a dozen joints of the dankest bud. For the next seven hours, he just sat on the floor and numbed himself the old school way. Then, all of the sudden, Oscar had an epiphany. It was still not too late. He still had time to find someone to die with and there was one thing that he had never experienced and was now desperate for --- love. Wow, that’s just profoundly cheesy. That was his last thought before he dozed off.


Oscar woke up. It took him a while to remember what had happened. President Trump’s last message was still playing on the movie screen. However, the countdown clock at the top right corner was new. It read “4 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes”.
Oscar remembered his last thought --- Looking for love. He mentally went over all of his past relationships. Because of his good looks and massive fortune, women were attracted to him like moths to a flame. Honestly, he never emotionally invested in any of them. Though he had heard stories of couples dying in the name of love, he could never ever relate to the supreme joy and the gut-wrenching pain of loving someone. If Taylor Swift had dated him, she would have written an entire album about their bad romance. Oh, he’s trouble alright. Besides love, his other primitive emotions were also duller than an average person’s. For example, he had never cried over a sad movie or real tragedies of other people. His sympathy and empathy were nearly non-existent. It never bothered him before, but now, he wondered if he might be inferior and incomplete as a human being.
Oscar went onto his social media. A handful of his ex-lovers were his Facebook friends. If they happened to not hold any grudges, perhaps he could rekindle something. On his newsfeed, almost all of his “friends” posted some kind of farewell letter addressed to their loved ones. Photos of children, pets and family portraits were attached to these letters. No one tagged him. Ellen DeGeneres and Amy Schumer still managed to use humor when addressing their fans. Yet not that many people were in the mood to click “like”. His other celebrity friends were relatively inactive. The Kardashian-Jenner clan was surprisingly quiet. Did they, like him, have much more to lose compared to average-joes? He went to his ex-lovers’ profiles and soon realized that almost all of them were now married. They had all moved on from him.
An ad was blinking on the right side of the screen. Oscar clicked on it and got redirected to a website called The Bucket List. It was cooked up in less than 24 hours. The concept was brilliant. People could post all kinds of organized activities and adventures for others to participate in. It’d be the last chance to do anything crazy and fun. There were a wide variety of activities listed. The more innocent ones included scuba diving, sky diving, bungee jumping, binge eating and drinking, etc. The more sinister ones included orgies, doing drugs, and “fifty-shading”. Been there and done it all. Finally, he found a listing that seemed to offer what he was looking for --- “Last-Minute Love”. He clicked on it and it read: “Singles, meet us at the following locations. . .” No frills. Downtown Hilton was on the list. Oscar was very familiar with that hotel so he decided to go there.
Oscar grabbed two cold and soggy bagels from the fridge and swallowed them down in five minutes. He randomly grabbed a shirt and a pair of pants from his dressing room and headed out the door without doing his hair or checking himself in the mirror. When he went to the garage, he found out that his most expensive sport car was missing. His personal assistant must have stolen it. His eyes had always glowed when seeing his car collections and he used to take tons of selfies in front of that car. That’s okay, anybody can do anything they want now. Oscar intentionally chose the most compact motorcycle in the bunch. It would be the only type of vehicle that could zig-zag through traffic --- a practical lesson learned from watching disaster movies. While riding on his bike, he was trying to recall other scenes about the Apocalypse and how many of them would be proven real. Should he have also grabbed a shotgun for the zombies?
Oscar’s mansion was located at the top of a rise. His nearest neighbor was ten minutes away. When he finally drove by his first neighbor’s house, he saw that there were many cars parked on the front yard and the driveway. The lights emanating from its many windows appeared cozy and warm. It looked more likely a family reunion at Christmas. His heart was bleeding envy. About half of the houses in the neighborhood were vacant. He could see several shadows scuttling through the bushes. Oscar gave the throttle a mighty twist and sped away toward Downtown.
Almost all of his predictions came true. The city had gone completely bananas. Car collisions were everywhere, most grocery stores and pharmacies had been rummaged and people were running around like ants under the scorching heat of a magnifying glass. Children were crying hysterically and their parents were also in tears. How many of the children, he wondered, were too young to understand what’s really going on? However, what he had not expected was that in the midst of this mayhem, there were some people behaving as cool as cucumbers. Christians were strolling down the street holding a big banner proclaiming “Last Chance” and “Only Jesus”. Others seemingly unperturbed people appeared to be seniors and people with disabilities. They were gathered in various restaurants and coffee shops, chatting like this was an ordinary day.
Oscar didn’t want to run anyone over so he found a public parking lot and parked his motorcycle there. He arrived at the Hilton hotel on foot. The hotel lobby was engulfed by a sea of people. There were five hand-written signs hanging above the reception: “straight men”, “straight women”, “gays”, “lesbians” and “whatever”. People were lining up according to their sexual orientation. Oscar found his line. He asked the man in front of him, “What is this all about? What are we lining up for?”
“We’re getting a room number and a time slot to use that room.” The man answered.
“And then?”
“You will be randomly assigned to a partner. What you do behind closed doors is up to you.”
“Are you suggesting that we are going to have sex with a random stranger?”
“Hey Mr. E-harmony, this is not a speed date, you don’t get to pick.”
“Why would they call it ‘last-minute love’ then? It’s misleading. This is more like ‘last-minute sex’. ” Oscar was upset.
“Mr. 40-year-old virgin, I suggest that you lose your virginity before you die.” The man turned around and didn’t want to talk to him anymore.
Oscar scanned through the women lining near him. They came in all shapes, sizes and colors. Many of them also turned around to check him out. He found it mindboggling that these women still found it necessary to put up an extravagant hairdo and their “smoky eyes” made them look like pandas. None of them could ignite his drive. But even if his match had a movie-star quality, Oscar wasn’t in the mood for raw lust. He surveyed the men in his line, and came to the realization that this whole thing was for people who could not otherwise get laid. That dude had a point, people didn’t want to die as virgins.
In a perfect world scenario, he would not mind the idea. But now, how was this any different from what he had been doing throughout his entire adult life? On the other hand, he had nowhere else to go though. He wanted to be around people, any people. He could not imagine going back to his empty home and dying with a little lady called Loneliness. Oscar was torn.
A chubby guy recognized him and ran toward him. “OMG Mr. Fancy Pants, what a delightful surprise to see you here.” Oscar could not remember who he was.
“Hey buddy. It’s been a while.” He played along.
“Let me tell you something. I follow you on Instagram, and you are the biggest fashion icon. OMG! Allow me to be bold and fierce. I have the biggest crush on you! Everything about you is just fabulous! I cannot believe my eyes! I am seeing you like right now! I am like freaking out right now! Goosebumps! Goosebumps! You are even more gorgeous in person. O-M-G! O-M-G!” His voice had this squeaky pitch and his theatrical hand gestures made Oscar dizzy. For one split second, he thought this was the gay version of Eric Stonestreet. The man continued, “Are you also part of this? Did you get your room number yet?”
“Err. . . Actually, I’m leaving. I am positive that I am leaving.” His legs were already moving.
“Wait. . .” The man took out a plastic bag from his inner pocket and gave it to Oscar. “Let me share something with you. Mix this herb with some Coke, it was what allegedly put Lamar Odom into a coma. It’s the way that I’d prefer to die.” He handed it over to Oscar like a worshipper offering a spotless lamb on the altar. Then, he gave Oscar a bear hug and rocked him from side to side. “Oh, I can die happily, right here, right now.”
“Okay, buddy. Thank you. Good luck and, see you. ” Oscar broke free and ran out of the hotel. This was definitely not the type of love he was looking for.
However, the man’s words got him thinking. He had not thought about how he would die. Was he going to wait for the asteroid to strike and burn him to death? Or was he going to commit suicide before it hit? What if the whole thing was only a false alarm? What if this was only Donald Trump’s last resort to get the Mexicans out?
On his way back home, he tried to remember if he had enough cocaine stashed in his party larder.

When Oscar reached the front of his estate, he saw that the gates were wide open and the lawn had been disfigured by tire marks. He had intruders. There were at least thirty to forty vehicles scattered around the fountain and on the front yard. He could hear music coming from inside the mansion. He had a déjà vu moment thinking this was one of the parties he used to throw every Friday night. Surprisingly, he wasn’t mad at all. It actually made him feel better that he would not be alone. 
As he stepped into the house, he was completely shocked at what he saw. There were babies and toddlers everywhere. They were playing with toys, sucking on baby bottles, and running around chasing each other. His movie screen was now playing Sesame Street. His home had been transformed into a kindergarten. What de heck? What was more shocking was the fact that all of the adults in the room were acting normal. None of them were behaving like end-times lunatics, as if they must have been living in an isolated society, in a place far, far away from the rest of the civilization. He went up to one of the women, “This is my home. Can you let me know what is going on here?” The woman yelled toward the kitchen direction, “Bella! The owner is home!” A few seconds later, a young woman in an apron came out of the kitchen and ran toward Oscar. She had a pair of sky blue eyes, peaceful and radiant. No makeups, her cherry lips only moistened with lip balm. Her hair was tied up into a loose pony tail. Her curves and edges were still evident under her over-sized T-shirt. She looked so pure and simple.
“Hey you!”
“Hi, what is going on here?”
“It’s Bella. You don’t remember me?”
Oscar got that a lot. “I’m sorry. Have we met? I’m sorry. It’s been a mess.”
“We met in a bar two nights ago?” She was blushing.
Oscar searched hard in his memory. Two nights ago, he had been drinking alone at a local bar. A woman in a tight dress approached him and asked him to buy her a drink. She was already tipsy. Judging by her look, he thought that she was probably a prostitute. He was in a bad mood thus he didn’t mind her company. He bought her more than one drink. At the end, both of them got really drunk and his driver drove them to his home. He could not remember very much about what happened next, except it was meaningless as usual. But, was this girl the same woman he had spent that night with?
“Oh. . . yes I remember now. I’m sorry, I. . .”
“I think I left my watch here.” She said sheepishly.
It must be her, but. . . she looked so different now without her makeup and fancy clothes. She actually looked better and younger.
Bella took his arm and led him to a quiet spot. He surprised himself with the pleasure he felt at even that one small touch. “Well. Anyway, we can talk about that later. You must be wondering why all these people are here. Our neighborhood is currently a war zone. A local prison released their inmates and many of them had no home to go back to. Thus they began to occupy our streets and houses. We had no choice but to leave. The kids don’t have to know that the world is ending. They don’t need to know the truth. They won’t understand it anyway. We were looking for a place of peace and quietness to spend the last few days of our lives, and most importantly, shielding our children from the violence and chaos. I remember being here the night before. That’s why I led them all here, friends, church members and neighbors. We brought enough food and sleeping bags. I’d really appreciate if you could let us stay.”
“Of. . . Of course. How many people are here?”
“Over one hundred. . .”
“Yeah, not a problem. I am glad to help.”
“Thanks!! We’re preparing food. I’ll introduce you to everyone at the dinner table.” Bella ran back to the kitchen with joy and excitement. She looked like a kid in a candy shop. It made Oscar smile, but he was still confused. The woman he met two nights ago was easy and maybe a little slutty. But this girl was completely the opposite. Which one was the real her?
A dozen adults approached Oscar and introduced themselves to him. “Thank you sir. This is very generous of you. Blessings to you.”
“Not a problem. Let me take you on a tour.” Oscar guided them through the entire mansion, to rooms he had not been to for years. Even his storage places and closets were as big as a “regular” person’s bedroom. People took the initiative to move furniture and decorations around. At the end, there was room for everyone.
At dinner time, Bella acted like the hostess. She led everyone in saying grace. She also thanked God for Oscar’s hospitality. Right after the prayer, she asked all the children to say thank-you to Oscar. It made him feel like a hero. He surveyed the dishes on the buffet table: two thanks-giving style turkeys, fried chicken drumsticks, fried shrimp, Angus steaks, pork chops, triple-decker cheese burgers, salads lathered in greasy dressings, extra creamy soup, cheese cakes, chocolate fudge cakes with layers of whipped cream, chunks of fruits emerging in a large pot of chocolate fondue and a sign at the end of the table stating that “ice-cream is in the freezer”. Apparently, no one cared about calories and sodium anymore. Six men were standing behind the table to serve. The grandparents were first in line, followed by the kids, the teenagers and then their parents. Everyone looked so happy and fulfilled. You would not have believed that this would be one of their last meals. Oscar had never been to a communal feast like this. As he tasted some of the food, he was blown away by people’s “secret recipes”, or perhaps they were better because the secret ingredient was “love”. So cheesy.
Bella grabbed a chair and sat beside Oscar. “Thank you again for letting us stay.”
“No, thank you. I. . . I am really glad that you guys came.”
“Where is your family?”
“My parents passed away a few years ago. I’m the only child. I do have some relatives, but we’re not close and they live in Canada. I have a few friends, I think? I hope? But I am basically alone. If I am really honest about it, I thought I would die by myself. It was kinda scary.” Oscar didn’t know why he was so willing to show his vulnerability. 
“I am also an orphan. I don’t even know who my biological parents are. My adopted parents also passed a few years ago. But all of these people are family to me.”
“They all look like they don’t know that the world is ending. Are they pretending it for the kids?”
“I think most of us are at peace. We believe in heaven, thus this won’t be the end of us.”
“What if there is no heaven? What if death is the end of everything?”
“Doesn’t matter, as long as we truly believe it at this moment.”
“I think I believe in heaven as well. I just don’t think I will go there.”
“I have been reflecting on the things that I have done and said during my life time and I am a horrible person. I deserve to die alone.”
“Hmmm. . . This is what I think. I think who you truly are will come out during these last days. When all the worldly concerns drifted to the background, and our material possessions become no longer important, then what is left is our essential. Did you see all the chaos on the street? All the violence in our broken world? People who love evil continue to harm and people who love peace still seek for peace. Perhaps you have done wrong or immoral things in the past, but I think you have a good nature.”
 “I thought human nature is universally evil.”
“That, I don’t believe. I have met people who have never done anything bad in their life. They always sacrifice, love and give without condition.”
Oscar just nodded and nodded.

After the dinner was over, the women put the children to bed. The men began to clean up the dining area and the kitchen. Oscar felt the urge to join them. He had never rinsed a dirty dish in his life, but he quickly became a pro and discovered the fun in doing chores. He felt like he officially belonged to this community. Bella peeked at Oscar every chance she got. The muscles on her face felt a little sore, and that’s when she realized that she had not stopped smiling all evening.
While the children were asleep, most adults chose to stay awake and spend precious time talking with their partners. Oscar invited Bella to walk with him in the garden. Under the hazy moonlight, she looked even more angelic. In spite of the intimacy they had shared two nights ago, Oscar felt like this was someone whom he had just met. While strolling in between the bushes and the flowers, they were kept at arm’s length from each other. Even though time was ticking, he wanted to take things slowly.
“I want to ask you a question.” Oscar said.
“I probably know what it is. . .” 
“The person I met at the bar, was that your superego?” He had to get to the bottom of this.
“Yes, about that. It’s a little embarrassing. The truth is, the day before I had just discovered that my fiancé had been . . . unfaithful. I completely lost it. I felt like a fool. I thought I had done everything right in our relationship. I was really good to him. I just don’t understand where I fell short. I’m sorry; you don’t want to hear about this. ”
“No, go ahead.” It was actually the first time that Oscar had gotten an insight from a woman’s standpoint. It made him think about all the hearts he had broken for no legitimate reasons other than boredom.
“I guess I wanted to punish him. That’s why on that night, I decided to let myself go and just completely defile my flesh. The saddest part was, when I heard the news about the asteroid, I wished that it had come earlier. That way, I would never find out about his cheating.”
“I see. . .”
They were silent for a good ten seconds before Oscar said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to comfort you. I have never been in your shoes. To be honest, I have never had my heart broken, because . . . because I have never loved.” He paused and then asked quietly, “What does love feel like?”
“It’s a physical feeling. When you are in love, the moment you see that person or even think about them, it feels like a chemical reaction is going viral inside of your head. Only love can stimulate that part of the brain that gives you enormous amount of pleasure, the type of pleasure that is beyond what sex or drugs can do. It does not come and go. It’s exciting and addictive, yet peaceful and subtle at the same time. ” Her eyes were brightening up as if she was reliving her feeling of love, yet in her eyes, he also saw hurt and disappointment.
“How many times has that happened to you?”
She chuckled. “Almost every time I am with someone. The love that I have been given is the type of love that people sing about and celebrate. But at the same time, it’s cheap, because it doesn’t take much for me to give that person my all. I can’t help it.”
Oscar thought about the women he had dumped, in particular the ones who took him forever to completely detach himself from, the ones he once considered “cheap”. It dawned on him that he was the cheap one. His love was worthless.
Bella continued in a lighter tone, “If earth still stands, I will continue to love without reservation and give without condition. That is the way true love is. ”
If earth still stands. All of a sudden, Oscar felt like death was no longer his biggest fear; rather, he was scared that he would be eternally separated from this girl. He had no desire to just take her clothes off. It would not give him as much gratification as merely listening to her voice and walking in her shadow. If lust was out of the equation, could this be love?
They spent the next few hours just talking and talking. They learned almost everything about each other, the craziest, stupidest and wildest things they had done as well as their sweetest, funniest and most awesome experiences. Oscar had never felt this happy since his first trip to the Disney World. He felt warm and maybe a little sweaty while his blood was boiling with bliss. He couldn’t believe that mere words could elicit such physical responses. Bella was right; the type of happiness he felt easily triumphed the temporary euphoria stimulated by drugs and empty sex. Inexplicable and indescribable.
When the first light peeked out from the horizon, they both stopped talking and shifted their gaze toward the grandeur beauty offered by the universe’s last bits of mercy. The sky gradually brightened, clouds came out from their hiding, and the birds began to praise. Oscar turned to Bella. Her eyes shone as dawn arrayed her in its softest light. Her blue irises reflected the sky and perfected the morning’s glory. What is the name of that hybrid color in her eyes? It was too wonderful to fathom. She turned to him and as their gazes met, he felt a warm spring flowing into his eyes and beyond, penetrating his vessels and veins. Then, hers slowly closed. He got the message and leaned forward to kiss her. An electric current shocked him the instant their lips joined. He closed his eyes to activate his other senses. He could feel her tender squeezing of his arms, smell the floral aroma of her hair and taste the sweetness of her lips. He listened harder, and heard the rhythm of both their hearts beating and the melody of their harmonized breaths. At this spot between heaven and earth, Oscar wished that time could stop and he could live in this moment forever, be captured in the Master’s painting and framed by His everlasting love. Oscar learned that he was probably going to heaven, because the gracious Creator cared about him so much that He granted him his salvation.
“Bella, will you promise that you will remember me when you see me again in Paradise?”
She gave a playful smile, then pressed a long and hard kiss on his forehead, “There, I will look for my signature.”