Short Story | ‘The Light’ by James Guin, Illustration by James Brown
It was like when I am sitting on the couch, and I look up at the light in the living room. I stare at the light and then it sparkles and shines. After a while there are black spots. But with this light there were no black spots. Just light. And then there was a shadow in front of the light. He came closer and grabbed my hand. Mama and Papa told me to yell when strangers came after me, but I knew this man was here to help me.
I grabbed his hand and we walked into the light. As we walked the light moved high into the sky like the sun. I wanted to look at the grown up holding my hand, but there was so much to see. There was a man hugging a little boy; trees with swings and tree houses with children playing in them; an old lady, she was older than grandma, was walking with a man who looked the same age as Papa.
Even though the light was so bright, the sky was filled with stars that were clumped together and there was more than one moon in the sky. We walked by a pond where grown-ups sat at the ede with their feet in the water and little babies played in the water and splashed water everywhere. One of the babies splashed water on me and then they all started splashing water on me and the man. When the man looked down at me and laughed, I knew that he was Uncle Jimmy. Mama always talks about Uncle Jimmy, about how he saved her from drowning in a swimming pool when she was a little girl and how he always took care of her. He died a long time ago before I was born, but she has pictures of him all around our house.
I asked. “Where…” but Uncle Jimmy held up his hand to stop me from talking, and he squatted down and pointed to a high hill. He stood up, and we walked to the top of the hill.
It was the highest hill. I could see people everywhere. He sat down, looked up at me, and smiled.
“Where’s Mama and Papa?” I asked. “They’ll be here soon. I will take care of you until one of them comes,” he said. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to see him, because he died a long time ago.“Are you an angel?” I asked. He laughed. “Oh no, I can’t pass through time and space like the angels do. I am just like you, but I have been waiting for you. I wasn’t allowed to watch over you on Earth like the angels did. When you were born, I wanted to, but I couldn’t. I’ll stay with you here until Sis or your father comes.”
I became so excited, because Mama and Papa were coming. I just saw them this morning, but it felt like I hadn’t seen them for a long time. “When will Mama and Papa come?” I asked. “I don’t know exactly when they will come, but for you and me it will not be too long,” Uncle Jimmy said.
That didn’t make sense that for me and Uncle Jimmy it wouldn’t be too long, so I asked. “Why are we here? Why do we have to wait?” Uncle Jimmy placed his hand on my hand and said. “Here, in this place, we say that we have passed. On Earth I passed long before you did. My purpose was to wait for you here, to comfort you here.”
“Mama was so sad when you died…” “Passed,” Uncle Jimmy corrected me. “I mean passed. She still talks about you. Every day almost. You must be sad that you had to pass just to wait for me.” He placed his finger across my lips for me to be quiet and said “Oh no, I wouldn’t miss this moment for all the time on earth.” He pointed back to where we came from. And I saw a woman walking toward us. The light was so bright behind her that I couldn’t see her face but I knew who she was, and I finally understood what Uncle Jimmy was trying to tell me.
“I brought you on this hill, so that we could see each other. I told you that it wouldn’t be long,” Uncle Jimmy said and then I ran down the hill to hug Mama. Papa would be here soon.
Illustration by: James Brown