One Thousand Years
Apple had tears in her eyes.
She had stayed behind concerned for Tom. She hesitated looking back. Caleb nodded to her in silent assertion to go ahead as she covered Tom with a few large Petals.
When she finished she looked up at where Rose had been. She was just a couple of feet away. She looked to the stock and face that was indelibly etched in her mind.
This was the first time she saw, the face, since she felt the wind blow.
Rose was gone.
Not just the Life or soul that had been the fragrance on the Wind, the beauty in the garden, and the essence of a woman engraved in some way on her stock, but her countenance. The face, the person, the image that she appeared to resemble was gone.
As though it had never existed.
Apple grasped her throat in shock and fled in tears away from the scene.
Abdullahvivor, who had been one of the last to leave. saw Apple flee. He and made as if to follow her then stopped. In a moment of percipience he turned back looking at Tom and said,
"A prison only becomes one when you can see the bars".
He then turned, walking away left leaving Caleb alone with Tom as He slept.
And as Tom slept he dreamed..,
"Why did you die?"
asked Tom to his wife.
Even though she was departed. He asked out loud in his dream. He wasn’t remembering her screams. A warm wind seemed to stir his dream of her away and in the dream the wind brought Sarah his beloved daughter to Him.
"What kind of God ..,"
But again the wind stirred the dreams away.
All that was left was to awaken from the sleep. In a sudden start He did. He awoke to see the lifeless branches. Branches that had now turned brown from their vibrant green. Already the trunk that looked so virile and alive even beautiful and picturesque, held only dust and aged in its appearance in death.
Rose was gone.
"I did that?"
"Yes you did."
a voice called out from the dark.
It approached the light of the fire. Tom realized there was a fire and it was night. Where did the fire come from? Where did everyone go? How long was I asleep?
Tom didn't recognize the voice. He turned around to see a robed and hooded Eben walking towards Him in the cool of this evening day. Day? Night?
"You raped her."
The very thought of violent sex made him sick. Forcing himself upon a woman even worse. He was so repulsed he did not notice the man in the robe sat down and set forth a cup and a basket on the ground.
"Come and Eat"
"I could never have raped that bush..,"
Even as he said that he regretted saying it. He knew that was wrong. He felt that Rose was so much more. He knew that.
He recalled the moment Rose touched his hands with her torn branch. The appendage felt as though life pulsed through it. There was warmth. A ‘feeling’ and though not a heartbeat he felt in the branch the feeling of life. A sensation as though it could be felt. He sensed in touch there was someone flowing inside it's bark. She had almost embarrassed him. He never had felt so alive and sensitive to the touch as when all those branches enclosed him.
That emotion was gone as fast as it had flitted through his mind and the enveloping arms holding him had given him security, peace, love. There was a gentle tenderness even a mother only gave when her firstborn was a newborn. She had felt like that.
And when she said,
"I Forgive You,"
Never had he felt love so pure. Never felt such emotion so tender. Never experienced compassion as deep. And never had he felt loved so freely and unconditionally.
Simply loved for the sake of love. Completely and willfully expressed with every fiber of being that Rose was. In that he knew she was alive. He knew there was more here than a bush or tree.
She had been something more than a shrub or plant life that looked nice and scented the air. It/she/Rose was alive. More real and completely expressive in every moment of her life than he had ever thought any one could be.
And he was instantly jealous.
All her passion, all her thought, all her focus concentrated. Expressed in the now, in every action and movement she made. He was overwhelmed by the emotion more real than any a human could give.
It was completely beyond him to experience something's, someone's, complete and non distracted attention. It was too powerful and raw. Yet appealing to have all ones faculties focused at any one time on any one thing.
The possibility was staggering to imagine.
He realized Rose was more than sentient she was complete.
How he knew or why he didn't care. He just knew it was true and accepted without reservation that Rose had loved Him in that moment. This was shocking to him.
How could anyone or anything love so completely and with such power?
Why? Why? Why him? After what he had done?
Why and how did she love like that?
His mind full of questions and overwhelmed he half heartedly chewed on the bread he had been given. Emotions entangled with experience… he couldn't think straight. Confused he tried to make sense of it all.
He sat chewing and the gnawing that was going on wasn't only on the bread. Somehow he had missed something, someone. He felt as though there was a missing piece left out.
He didn't notice that a cup was also in his hand till Eben, or so he thought said,
He did and the Son of Man vanished.
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