He had stood nervous and full of trepidation. His fingers worked themselves into the visual of what his mind simply was. A mangled cohesion of a nervous mess. He remembered the words he had read and instantly his demeanor changed as he remembered his authority.
''There goes the man with the book!'' Many jeered behind their restricted walls as he walked down the green mile. ''What can that dumb book of yours do to save you now?''
His clothes were torn, the dirt upon him was obvious as others turned to stare. His attire was of someone in desperate need. His face was dirty, the lines underneath his eyes only exemplified a life that proved challenging. His jumpsuit hung loosely from days of not being able to eat. His once orange apparel was now a dirty brown hue, from him came a smell that made others step away in repulsion.
There seemed to be a desperation to him. He nodded at a silent voice so familiar in his head. Memories, so many memories and so many mistakes. He could no longer hold back, as the tears rolled down his face. His mistakes led him away, chained at his feet and hands.
''What is your last meal request?'' He was asked.
''Roast beef and potatoes is my favourite'' was his choked reply.
The warden nodded and granted his simple request. He tried to be strong, he had inner peace, but one could never be prepared for such a time as this.
''I'll take this now'' the warden pointed to his book. ''You won't be needing that''.
She was right, he didn't really need it, he knew most of what was written between the pages, the words were rooted in his heart and they had been his meditation for some time now.
He was lead to a room with a lone bed and two administrators. He closed his eyes as he was strapped down ready to face his fate.
He opened his eyes and stared around him as his heart raced. He looked down at his feet and nibbled at his blackened finger nails. He wriggled the toes that peeped out from his tattered shoes and spat out the dirt from under his nails.
''Watch it would you?'' A woman cried as she turned to look at him, wiping away the spot of dirt that had caught her in the back of head. She looked him up and down, shook her head in disgust as she grunted.
He stared straight ahead. He was in a large room full of others seated in order holding a ticket in their hands. Everyone looked impeccably dressed, shoes shone, hair in place. He wanted to crawl into a small hole. He didn't feel any different. He had expected to, but this wasn't what his minds eyes had expected.
''Where am I?'' he asked.
''This is the Waiting Room.'' The woman replied, she felt compassion at the fear in his eyes.
''Don’t worry'' She smiled. ''Look''. She stood behind him pointing.
He turned around, his breath taken away by the sight before him. A light that was all consuming shone down as an array of stars twinkled within the light. He dropped to his knees and bowed his head low. He was afraid to look any further. Rays upon rays of brightly coloured rays of light, sprinkled forth. He ran forward and was stunned as he crashed into an invisible wall. Through the wall he could see some activity ahead of him, people moving ahead.
He looked up as a bell chimed loudly yet softly as a woman called out: ''Number 102 please approach the gate.''
He looked at her closely, his nose pressed to the invisible wall and stood back in surprise. She was adorned in simple delight. From the tip of her head to the bottom of her toes, she shone. She glowed a hue enough that would make another run to be close to her. Her voice emulated the warmth of a thousand suns.
Everything in this place seemed so unreal. He stared at the ticket in his hand, he was No 20049.
He looked further through the wall and saw another like the beautiful one in front of him. He could only liken her to some sort of ethereal being. She was on her knees, her arms were out stretched upwards as tears ran down her face.
''Number 350 please.'' The voice sang.
He looked further on and saw another, then another and another. As he looked closely, he realised there were thousands of these ethereal beings all around him, it was as if they made up part of the light. He reached out to touch them, but his hands met again with the invisible wall. They walked forth to set of pearl gates. Gates that stood tall encased in the arm of unexplainable presence, and emulated beauty, wisdom, knowledge, love, peace and joy. His heart beat fast as he took in the glorious sight.
''I'm dying!'' He cried out as clutched at his chest unable to comprehend the vision. ''I'm dying!''
''Sweetheart calm down,'' the woman he had spat on patted him on his back looking at him sympathetically. ''Calm down. That's already happened, you're just waiting for your turn to get through now.''
He bowed his head low to the floor. In the midst of a myriad of bodies encased in white, he felt he was the least of them all. He stared down at his unsightly being. He sunk down lower on his knees. Oh he knew what the book had said, but maybe that wasn't enough.
He stood up straight as he heard the bell chime, another had been called forward. Another glowing saintly being lead to a majestic white set of oyster pearl white gates.
He was aware of the sneers that were directed at him in the Waiting Room, the looks of disapproval at his attire. He could only gaze at the wonder that stood before him though, why were so many eyes watching him? His eyes could only focus upon that which was ahead, why did so many turn away from the magnificent sight to focus on him that which was less than?
Those memories, and all his mistakes. They came flooding back as he waited. Maybe they could all see right through him.
He remembered the reason that had brought him here. He had pushed a woman down the stairs in attempt to escape her nagging, incessant advice, pushed her so hard that the coroners could only declare her dead.
Her family had not stopped in a moment to seek justice for the death of that woman, their mother, his wife. This had resulted in his 267 day trial resulting in an adjudication of lethal injection on death row.
The Holy book had helped him to understand who he really was and all that lay before him. He had made a point to apologise to those he had hurt and sought forgiveness from above.
He stood holding his ticket in his hand.
''Lord'' He cried as he sunk down on his knees again finding himself in a place he had never expected to be so soon. ''Father, I believe in you!!''.
It was then, that he realised what that bright light meant to him. He was ecstatic when his number was called.
''Number 20049 please!''
After what seemed a lifetime, after a lifetime of memories, shame, regrets, forgiveness, acceptance, he stood up and stepped forward.
He stared at the ticket in his hand. One foot in front of the other, he could only bow back down on his knees in awe at the majestic power that shone before him.
''I believe, I believe, I believe!'' he cried.
As he stood and stepped out of the waiting room, the scent that surrounded him was all consuming. He couldn't put his finger on it but it was an unforgettable competition of exquisite scents of honey blossoms and sweet lemon drops, lavender burnt wood and cinnamon topped with orange zest along with laughter, joy and a deep sense of belonging. He took in a deep breath and sighed at the aroma that invaded his nostrils.
He could not comprehend the great being that turned the book of life, recited his name and waved him in, ushering him into those pearly gates.
He looked down at himself as he realised he was now embraced in echoes of white light, just as those that had gone before him. Overwhelmed by the beauty of his being and presence that seemed to overtake him, he simply cried.
''Why did I make it? You saw the mess my life made. Why?''
A smile so warm and inviting as the Angel simply replied.
''What you saw in the Waiting Room was yourself in your own eyes.'' The Angel smiled. A smile so warm, he melted and fell at his knees.
''His words of forgiveness were already written upon your heart the moment you chose to believe. Now you are seen through the eyes of the Father, your Lord, your Saviour. His mercy and your faith brought you here.''
She pointed ahead as he followed her direction ahead and took in a sharp intake of breath at the wonder before him. Tears of joy streamed down his cheeks as he was lifted upwards and into the place that has been prepared for him.
''Go'' the Angel wept tears of joy, "Your Father awaits you''.
Inspired by the Teresa Lewis case.