I still remember the time that I made a simple request from God; the almighty and merciful, to send me back to the mortal world as a lonely spirit walking the Earth. God looked at me quizzically before he asked in his gentle yet firm voice, ‘and why do you wish for such a thing when you have been resurrected to spend all eternity in paradise?’’I was no fool. God knows everything does him not? It doesn’t matter if your dead or alive does it? He knew why I wanted to go back. I knew he knew. He knew I knew. We all know. Still, God’s eyes lingered on me heavily until I answered,’’ I wish to see the world. What it is like. Have we changed since my time?”The words of a dead man gushed out like a broken dam. I looked up at my creator, shepherd and savior. In Gods soothing, sweet filled voice he spoke to me the words that I will never forget, “the world has changed dear one. You will be an outsider to a world you were once a part of. You will be a stranger in a land where mankind has chosen a different path...from you and from me.”I could not understand. Had the world changed so drastically over the years that a sense of sorrow, anger and sympathy replaces the lords’ comforting tone? “You may go but one should always remember to be careful of what one wishes for,” said God finally. That was when I immediately began to regret what I had wished for.
I thought that spirits were not supposed to feel anything. I was clearly wrong. I don’t even know where I am. The choking sun is blazing down on me so hard that it makes my eyes sting. When I closed my eyes I imagined being where I was born imagined seeing the trees covered with fruit in open green pastures. I remember the birds singing and the skies a deep friendly blue. The colors that nurtured me were lively, as if a picture book had come to life. All these things are no more. From what I stand before, people would call my birthplace heaven. For me it was simply home. The beauty of my childhood has been invaded by towering grey structures far and wide. It seems that factories have dominated space now and the black fumes released by it cover the blue sky once decorated with white clouds like a blanket, like a blanket choking a sleeping child. Where are the birds in the sky? All I see is the sun hiding behind dark clouds too afraid to show her face. Is she ashamed to shine her fiery light over this dull place? I see a river far ahead. Growing up I loved water. My father and I would go fishing together. I search in vain but there are no fathers and sons fishing together. The fish must have left like the birds I suppose. The only present occupants in the dark, slick river are the dead fish carried by the oily chemicals like flowers on lily pads. What has happened to the place I was born? The fields’ that were filled with greenery and life is now left sickly and polluted. Rubbish lies in heaps emanating an unbearable stench.
I roam around aimlessly trying to shake off what I have just witnessed. Is the whole world like this? Does anyone here care about the unwholesome place that they are trapped in? My thoughts lead me to play ground where the bright red paint is washed away from the slide, bent metal bars stick out awkwardly from the monkey bars and colorful drawings are scribbled on the wall on the wall. I thought writing on public property was vandalism, but seeing these pieces of simple art, I beg to differ. There are a few people sketched on the wall I faintly remember. They met God too. One is a musician with long braided hair and a reggae appeal...some Marley his name was. Another is the King; poor chap was assassinated for fighting for his civil rights. Apparently he had had a dream of some sort. I wonder if it became a reality. I remember the final one more clearly than the rest. He was from the other side of the globe, a simple man he was, armed with methods to win his independence that didn’t resolve to violence. But he did starve himself and engaged himself in long protesting walks to make a point. What odd things pop into the minds of lonely spirits? My thoughts are disrupted when I hear the joyous giggles of two children aged around nine playing with marbles with more concentration those gambling addicts.Laughing children! I thought and smile to myself. But I should have known better. My smile soon fades away when I see the fathers of these two children stand beside a dented car and argue, one being a white and the other an African American. It seems like the yells of the white man is far greater than the hushed down remarks made by the victim. The dark one shakes his head and controls his anger. He calls to his child and makes way towards his car still tightly clutching his son’s hand. Under his breath the dark one hears the white man call out ‘’old black nigger ‘’ with a sense of undying resentment. The young one oblivious to the commotion innocently asks his father, his eyes filled with confusion “what’s a nigger dad?’’. I am shocked and scarred for life. Well the afterlife of course. I thought that people in this era knew better. It seems like a hell of a good time for all individuals to accept one another and work towards the greater good, like taking care of their environment for instance. I wonder if I should tell King that his dream hasn’t still reached its’ highest potential.
Was this what God was talking about? I asked myself. Maybe I should float myself somewhere else. I teleport my self to the city where I spent my school days. My father worked day and night so that my siblings and I could have a good education. The city used to be a big deal for kids growing up in farms or ranches. We used to watch with our mouths open at the rich, waiting to offer help carrying their bags or run errands just to earn a couple of bucks .I am awestruck at its transformation after all these years. A grandly lit city of every hue presents itself before me. Its neon lights flashing away like expensive gems on a necklace. I am mesmerized by its divergence. We certainly have come a long way from my time, I thought. Despite its lavish appearance my attention is diverted towards a young boy in ragged clothes with matted hair and eyes hollow and colorless. He stands out among st the crowd and seems lost in labyrinth of luxury. Rich feet covered by expensive shoes pass the scrawny outstretched hands with mobile phones held to their ears. I never knew what a mobile phone was until I died and met God. Some clumsily dropping a few coins onto his path while busy discusses some profitable price to pay. I am about to depart this tearing sight when the boy from the corner of my eye, walks over to a garbage can and begin rummaging through the dump. As a reward for his efforts he finds a half eaten bun tossed carelessly aside. The boy dusts it and pops it into his mouth savouring its soggy crust lined with a tinge of measly cream and produces a crooked smile so wide that the stars in the sky lose their light. I want to go over and comfort him. He looks cold, lonely and afraid. No one seems to notice him. He’s shuffling away now, his feet bare. He turns back and looks in my direction. Can he see me? I wonder. His face holds no expression. He continues his way aimlessly as me. I just stay floating there without the energy to move forward. The boys’ sick poverty stricken eyes seem to linger in the air even after he is gone. I look around wondering if anyone else felt what I just felt. People seem to be oblivious to what is happening to the people around them. I see friends’ and families’ laugh joyously over a street artists’ performance or a couple enjoying a well-to-do meal at a cafe. It was as if the little boy was invisible to those around him.
I am beginning to feel my regret deepen with each passing minute. I thought the world would be different. Well it certainly is not the same, no doubt about that. This is what God is talking about. Now I realize the bitter truth. People have taken a different path, a path that forgets God and their own kind. God was right; I am a stranger in this foreign land. I am unfamiliar with what I have just witnessed. I was never perfect, I must admit, but the days’ events have crushed my faith in humanity and have left only regret and grief. My mind has steered me to a community centre of some sort I believe. I hear people talking, good-naturedly. That is a good sign is it not? There is a calming atmosphere. This gladdens my heart and eases away the pain that I had envisioned earlier. The community centre is filled with people from many nationalities amicably chatting and discussing problems that confront them, comforting and consoling each other. Some are fair while others are dark, some are young and others have grey hair. They are speaking different languages which I don’t understand but there is no dispute arising, only warm smiles and twinkles in the eyes’ of the old. They have overcome their differences and have accepted each other whole heartedly. I am a witness to that. They are one, depending on each other.
I have seen enough. God is most merciful. He bestows his mercy even upon a wrongdoer, whose sins are uncountable, only if he sincerely repents. Similarly all the former horrors are eliminated by the latter, an episode of love, compassion and understanding enveloped in unity. My faith in humanity is reignited, but there is a conflict with an underlying layer of regret. I remember a time where children would play on the green whilst flora and fauna would flourish in abundance. I remember where all lived in harmony depending on each other for their existence. My only wish is to go back now. I have no intention to return. Having seen all that I need to see my only hope is that Gods’ greatest creation sees it too. I have faith in the human race; it may waver but I pray that a change may come before it is too late.