He could not open his eyes. He wasn’t sure he felt any need to. He lay completely still in state, hypnagogic. No, he had no choice other than this, could not stand or even sit but for the moment he felt peace, even as he heard voices from two worlds.
When he had first awakened, only to realize his current state of imprisonment, he had panicked, though, invisibly. He could not speak but cruelly could hear. And what he became aware of were the voices of his wife, his brother, the doctors, talking about him in hushed and solemn tones and then to him, pleading with him to hang on, to please not leave them. He had tried desperately to respond, to move but could not. It was torment. But when he had finally ceased his attempts in utter fatigue and sad defeat he had heard the other voices. He had seen that proverbial light somewhere in the distance. And he had strained to make out the words of that world. They were difficult to decipher but oh, how he desired to understand. He felt as though he had never wanted anything in his life so badly. Indeed, he began to think he wanted to know that language more than he wanted even to live. And then with that thought, he had apparently, unintentionally fluttered his eyelids because the voices on this side became excited, calling for more voices, and soon the Heavenlies were drowned out.
Eventually, he had slipped into another deep sleep of nothingness and when he awoke again and was again awake merely in consciousness but not in body, the voices were still floating. And he found that the voices fluctuated and, at times, those which came from one realm were louder than the others. In the earthly realm, where he was not quite sure he wanted to stay, the voices were frantic and miserable. The heavenly voices were indescribably beautiful, luring him with song. He had no feel of time, no idea how long he had been in between two states, listening to these voices, deciding, perhaps.
But no, there was no decision. He knew what he wanted. He wanted to be in the light. He wanted to forever listen to the singing. His limbs seemed to cry out for this. Though his wife wept, and for her, he felt something akin to sorrow, he knew the glory waiting. He suffered no physical pain but experience an especially sharp spasm somewhere deep inside him when he determinably, in his mind cast away the earthly voices. He had seen a hand extended and when he grabbed it, he knew he was making a choice. It was a hand only, he could not make out the rest of what belonged to the warm fingers grasping his. He saw a tunnel and he was led a ways down. And then he was stopped. The figure halted and so he had no choice but to cease as well. It was then that he heard the whisper.
“It is not time,” came a compassionate voice and he felt as though he’d stopped breathing. He wanted it to be time. He had come so close to glory.
And then just like that, his eyes opened against his will and he saw his dear wife’s face. She gasped and her hands covered her mouth as tears ran down her face and she took steps toward him. And yes, he loved her. He smiled as best he could because of this love.
He was called to stay for now. And he tried to listen as she talked, her voice speeding over some story of his bravery, his sacrifice, the boy on crutches in the parking lot but he didn’t really get it and he didn’t really care. He knew what sacrifice was. He would tell her someday soon, what he had seen and how wonderful it was, of this certain great expectation he would now hold so dear in his heart with patience in his remaining days.