Second Month of summer, 30th year within the Line called Home
Friends of the Village who have Departed:
- Alonzo Valez
- Beyond the Line
Obituary of Alonzo Valez written by his mother, Esther Valez:
With his warm brown eyes, Alonzo could stare directly into you and see everything you were keeping secure. Though always exposed emotionally to him, no one felt he held cruel. He always wanted to make others feel at rest within the Home and emotionally cleansed. Though young, of only seventeen years, Alonzo cared and listened to others with the age of an Elder.
While never too adventurous, Alonzo would, irregularly, take walks in solitude at the edge of the Line; however, he always told the many that he was taking the time to think about everyone else and how he could help more people solve their internal troubles. The internal discussions of others were his focus since he was young and he always took everyone’s battles as his own personal challenge.
Though we will never fully grasp the meaning of why Alonzo has chosen to leave Home for the land beyond the Line, the village will forever remember and miss my son Alonzo, who waited for everyone else to finish their sentences and always kept his eyes within yours. Emotional and caring, he will be remembered in my heart as one who challenged even my own internal battles and also helped guide me through them. Thank you, my son; you will be missed more by me than anyone else. I love you… I hope you find what you were looking for that you could not find within those you helped.
Peeling himself away from the announcement board, Jeffrey “Jay / Jay” Hamel walked away with a sinking sense composing deep within his chest. Kicking at the loose stones and dirt at his feet, he slumped over in despair and jealousy. Him and Alonzo had been talking at the Line for many months about going beyond the Line. Jay, never fully had the confident in himself to leave Home and into the Nothing by himself, had hoped Alonzo would have lead him through. Before Alonzo, it was Shara and before her was Brian! Exhaling a heavy breath, Jay walked towards the edge of the village and stared out at the Line.
At the Line, the trees that stood there protecting walkers from crossing over were thick and pressed side to side against one another. Only a few places were wide enough for a small body to squeeze through. Keeping himself slim, he kept the option open to slip between the hulking bodies and escape this place one day. While most of his friends had already escaped beyond the Line, it was only him and Starr her in Home now.
Not being as brave as the other three, Jay hoped that one of the other more courageous friends would help lead him pass the Line. Gleefully he would imagine his hand being pulled by theirs and together he would leave this foreign land for the space beyond. However…, as he was well aware of, this was a choice that one would need to make and execute privately. There was never to be outside influence; simply, your own decision to be made.
“Hey Jay…” Starr said as she slinked up behind him with her hands in her pockets and shoulders slumped forward, “Looks like Alonzo has disappeared without you, too. How do you plan to ‘escape’, as you say, now?”
Hearing her soft voice, Jay starred at the ground with a red face, “Yeah, I know… I really wish one of them had waited for me to come along… I just simply can’t do this on my own – but I want to leave too! It is not fair…”
“I know, Jay,” she said, “but going beyond the Line is a personal decision. While you want to do it, they did it.”
With a bitter voice, she asked, “…If you too left, do you know how that would affect others? Though I am curious too, I am likely to stay. They need us here, Jay…”
Spinning upon his heels, Jay heaved, “You think I am just simply – curious?! I, like them, want to be beyond the Line! That is where I am supposed to be! Over there!” Pointing his shaking hand, his face wet as tears streamed down in frustration. Falling to the floor, he slumped into his palms and withered into feeling hopeless for his chances of going beyond the Line with a guide.
Leaning against his shoulder, Starr rubbed his back, “While they have left, remember, you still have me…”
With trouble slowing his sniffs and gasps between cries he said, “Y-y-yeah, I know… but I don’t want to be here. I want to be out there… with them.”
Feeling singed by him, Starr got up and walked off back into central village with the rest of the community. Like the others in her circle of friends, she did not enjoy crowds or random socializing but getting a little space for herself was needed as well. Struggling against wobbly knees, he pulled himself up to standing. While difficult to accept, he felt stronger by confirming to himself that beyond the Line is where he truly belonged.
As the intrusive light pulled itself through the thin clothed shades, Jay moved from his bed and rose to see the day. Already two hours laying in his bed over the time he was expected to get up, he moved like a creaky machine from his bed. Giving the excuse that he was not feeling well since Alonzo had left, mostly he just wanted to be left alone.
His mother was already ready for the day, with her and Jay’s father having already prepared breakfast a few hours prior. Running out the door next, she warned Jay that the food they prepared would easily get cold if he did not get up to receive it freshly made. Poking the sunny-side up eggs and squishy-stale toast with his fork, he felt even less apatite then he did when he woke. Tossing the food into the trash bin, he attempted to clean off his plate in the sink but did not truly accomplish clean.
As he slithered into the kitchen, D—- had a presence that was noticed even if he did not speak directly to you. His energy was so cold and deep; his shadow always seemed to be darker than anyone other else’s shadow. “Ah, I see you are awake, my friend. I watched you all night and into this morning; I did what I could to help keep you resting, but looks like even sometimes I lose.” Rolling his dark eyes, D—- pointed to the sun that was flowing into the kitchen’s open windows, “We really should dim the lights and keep this place more peaceful.”
Looking out across his yard, Jay could see the tall figure of D—-‘s twin, M—-. Standing in the hot sun, M—- never seemed to get too hot or too unpleasant in his dashing white suit. Being of similar families, the two brothers dressed very similar; though, they were always so different from one another. One would prefer the cool nights and full black suits while the other was more interested in fullness of the sun and pure white suits.
Pulling at his shoulder, D—- twirled him around and said, “Look, you don’t want my brother in here – he just messes everything up, remember? Plus, whenever we are together we argue and bad stuff happens. So, let’s just go back to the room and just wait for the day to pass.”
Collapsing into the relaxing recliner chair within his bedroom, Jay felt a bit uplifted by D—-‘s recommendation for the chair over the bed, “It would be so much different, and make you feel a lot better, I am sure.” Having nearly sixteen hours already in the bed, his body was becoming a bit stiff and sore in places, and the chair provided a different angle to relax. He was still so tired. Resting his eyes, Jay fell back into the black sleep slumber aided by his friend D—-.
Waking into the next day, the sun again pulled through the thin clothed blinds that held guard against the day. However, with the joyous assistance of M—-, the blinds flung open and he sung the marry song of day to Jeff, waking him to a full spirit.
“Good morning, Jeff! My brother and I have traded jobs; D—- got a bit too tired, so it is my turn! However, this is greatest for you – since I have the opportunity to show you the greatness of – today!” His white suit seemed to glow brighter as the sun bathed the whole room. Radiating and bright smiled, M—- ushered Jeff from his room.
Even before his parents woke, Jay was in the kitchen cooking up the day’s meals for the entire family. With the recommendation of M—-, after finishing the breakfast for the family, he took it upon himself to make the family’s lunches and dinner to help everyone save time. Though, before he finished the two other meals, Jeff remembered how the laundry needed to be completed right away too! Speed walking away from the partially finished lunch and dinner, he made his way to other chores of the house.
Luckily for the family, his mother and father woke up to find the nearly half spilled pot of sauce spluttering the contents upon the stove, the sandwiches left out with the bread drying, and the sink filled with multiple utensils that were either used or not used but still placed in there. Finding their son in the laundry room, Jeff was pulling a nearly complete wash cycle load out of the washer explaining to himself that the stains were not coming out – so he would just scrub them out!
Noticing his mother standing there, he showed her the jeans in hand, “Look! Look at these stains! I am not sure how I got these stains, but they are all over the place! I must have them clean!” In a blast of memory hitting him, Jeff smacked his head and shouted how he forgot about the kitchen where he was making food for the family’s day; leaving behind the sopping wet jeans upon the floor and the washer not completing its cycle he rushed back towards the kitchen.
Finding his father wiping some splotches from the stove, Jay found that the meals were complete. Though confused, he felt accomplished that he was able to finish all the family’s meals for the day.
Though the night was high in the sky, M—- gave Jeff all the energy he needed to complete the day’s projects. With his shovel full of dirt, he proceed to plant all the flowers that his mother requested of him to have done last week. Within just a few hours, all the plants were in the ground, though possibly at odd angles. Stunned by how easy and quick the job was, he wondered why it took it this long to do such simple work!
Though not fully tired, his parents lead him to his room and laid him down upon his soft bed. After a while of working to calm his excited nerves, Jeff was able to fall into rest.
Waking up to the pleasant smells of breakfast wafting into his room form the kitchen, Jeffrey rose from his bed feeling complete and ready for another day he could spend with his family and community. The day was full of peace. The window open, fresh air rolled into his room and the sun graced his face and warmed his body.
A plate full of fresh pancakes in hand, Jeffrey’s mother smiled and gestured for him to take a seat at the table where his father was already resting and reading his newspaper. The whole world was at peace.
Full from breakfast, Jeffrey walked out into the community and saw the many different lives that progressed around him. It always stood out as amazing to him that so much life happened when he was not watching; eyes wide, he was simply astonished by the wholeness of life.
As he stood upon the bridge overlooking the busy freeway below, Jeffrey looked upon the red Line that suggested the safe distance for walkers from the edge. Though memory foggy, he nearly remembered his urge previously to cross that Line. That all seemed so silly, now.
Tired from his excited day, he rested back within the simple comforts of his bed and Home. Without trouble, he drifted back into sleep. All was at peace once again…
Rocking back and forth within the recliner chair, D—- looked longingly at Jay. Grinning, D—- looked forward to the next day they would be united again.