Finally the narrow path ended, and Isea sprinted around the nursing home to the front door. She ran through the hallways, past endless white doors and corridors. As she passed one room, the door had been left open and she caught a glimpse of a young man with Ron’s profile. Isea skidded to a halt and ran back. She stared at the dim outline of Ron’s round small nose, his set jaw, and the curve of his cheek. She could barely see the freckles on his face in the dim light, his thoughtful far away expression, or his bright red hair. She stared at the face she had seen turn to her and smile many times before.
“Ron…” Isea choked. He kept staring out of the window. “Ron, it is me,” Isea said. Isea knelt down in front of him and put her hand on his cheek. Isea suddenly jumped up and ran out into the hallway again, and ran, and ran, and ran. She found herself wiping her damp leaking eyes with the back of her hand as she ran. Her mouth was twisted tightly to not let anything out. And there it was—Gwendoline’s door at the end of the hall.
“Make way!” a commanding voice shouted at Isea from behind. Isea glanced back over her shoulder, the light reflecting off her teary dark eyes, and backed up against the wall. She sucked in her stomach, as men in white clothes and a white stretcher went swiftly by. Isea watched as they went into Gwendoline’s room. She watched as they came out a few seconds later with a body covered in a white cloth. Isea watched as they went by her. She watched them go, the wheels of the stretcher shrieking. She watched as they flung open the doors and disappeared. She watched the wall turn out of focus until she was looking at nothing, as she slid slowly down into a crouch. Everything seemed to shake. There she stayed, agonizingly staring out through her bleary eyes for what felt like forever. But she rose again. Isea forced herself to take step after step, even though she wanted to collapse on the ground from the dread that had fully solidified, and grown up to wretched grief inside of her. It was telling her savagely, “There’s no point! What are you still doing, you foolish girl! Go home! You’re too late!”
Isea stumbled to her knees in the middle of Gwendoline’s room. She stared at the ruffled empty bed, and a book that lay open on Gwen’s nightstand to show braille words.
Tears slid off of Isea’s face and fell in soft patters to the floor as she stared expressionlessly at Gwen’s empty bed. Slowly, a small and gentle feeling crept into Isea’s mind. Isea slowly turned her head, and there was Gwen’s face! Gwen was looking at Isea, while holding onto the back of a chair. The rest of her floated up, and her feet almost brushed the ceiling.
“I wasn’t going to leave without seeing you,” she said quietly. “I know how lonely you can feel. I am not ready to stay with you yet. I must go back for a little while. I have been asleep for three days, but in your world’s time, I have been asleep for only a moment. Your father is always watching over you, but no one else. For some reason everyone thought you already had the right people around you, because you were communicating with them on a spiritual level like no other on Earth. Ron, Violet, Betty, Alice, and I were those people. If you try to look, you will see him.” Gwen beamed. “I must go now, but I will be seeing you tonight!” Gwendoline let go of the back of the chair and floated up until she was almost upside-down, and disappeared. Isea looked up at her father’s smiling face.