First Impressions

                When first I remember you, we were in a room full of those of pre-determined belief, set in their knowledge of the rote fed them and ready to be challenged in their faith. The first words I remember you uttering were those of doubt and questions, and you seemed to me to be sad, confused, alienated.

                As I grew to know you, I discovered many new intriguing layers of your character, but none comforted my first suspicions. A cynic, others call you, sardonic and bitter. The words that pour from you are greasy with sarcasm and devoid of any true emotion. Shy, you call me? Well perhaps I am, but if I am shy, then you, sir, are a recluse.

                Then the sun sets on my first impressions, and as the lights fade, other smaller lights become visible. The darkness closes around the buildings and cars, the trees and bushes, and many lights stand erect and constant, their soft glow gently lighting the way for others.

                Other lights are less visible. In the distance the dark clouds are lit by a deep bolt, a bright white, a gentle fade to violet, and then gone again. The lights pulse throughout the sky, an ethereal heartbeat. Light, dark, light, dark, constant in the way all things in nature are constant –ever changing in size, area, and hue.

                Below, the lights are mirrored by smaller ones, tiny flickering bioluminescence, on, off, on, off, here, and then there, and there. We try to catch them, but their lights prove elusive in the dark.

                The rain has stopped for the moment, and the world is bedraggled and still. Tiny droplets of water shake from the magnolia trees as you climb them, me on the ground watching your progress above. We pluck the flowers from their homes and play with the petals. The bantering never ceases, and we never truly seem to get tired of it. Life seems normal.

                As we begin to leave this magical place, you stoop to pick up a fallen flower. My friend begs you not to hurt it, and you assure her that your intentions for this small piece of the world are not ill. As we continue our walk, I watch you stare pensively into the flower, twirling the stem between your fingers, and I wonder what is running through your mind.

                The night is calm, and talk rarely ceases in this short walk; our path takes us through the concrete entrance of the University Center, dark and deserted though the night is still young. This stillness is disturbed as you break from the pack, heading for the entrance doors with the flower in hand. A pause as you carefully pry the door slightly ajar and set the flower between it and the frame. Then the door is closed, and the magnolia blossom, after a bit of finesse, is fixed in place. It’s whiteness almost glows in the darkness.

                For a moment no one speaks. Then you turn to us again, and a, “What?” is pulled from your mouth at our shared smile. The moment is over as quickly as it had begun, and we answer a simple, “Nothing,” and continue on our way.

                I am no expert in faith; I do not claim to know any of God’s intentions for us, but I believe that you may be closer to Him than you realize, my brother.

The End

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