The call comes from a tall but pleasantly plump lady angel who stands at the doorway to the counseling center, and he jumps up, making his way to her side.
“You must be Owen,” she says, a twinkle in her eyes. She takes the feather and points to a door that moments ago wasn’t even there. “Right to the end of the hall. He’s waiting.”
The “hall” is nothing more than a wide slice in the puffy white clouds disappearing into the far horizon. Yet with just a couple of steps he’s standing before a large marble desk cluttered with stacks and stacks of parchments, behind which, in a high-backed chair made from an odd assortment of pillows randomly stitched together, sits an older man with white wings, a white beard, and wild white hair atop his head. He peers down through a pair of wire-rimmed glasses dangling at the end of his nose as his crooked finger traces along the page of a giant book, its ancient edges trimmed in gold. A little placard on the front of the desk reads: CLARENCE.
Owen stands for moment before finally clearing his throat, causing the angel to look up. When he meets Owen’s gaze, a smile breaks across his face, one so deep and sincere, Owen suspects Clarence may have saved it just for him.
“Owen. So good to see you.” He waves a hand toward the side of the desk. “Have a seat.”
As Owen sits, the angel continues. “So I understand you’re having a little trouble adjusting to Heaven?”
Owen nods. “It just doesn’t feel like I’m supposed to be here. I mean everyone is nice enough, but I can’t connect. And there’s no night or day...I don’t even know how long I’ve been here.”
“I see,” says Clarence. He flips a few of the oversized pages, before finding one that catches his eye. Squinting, he leans in for a closer look. “Oh...my...” he says with a gasp. “This is most certainly interesting.” But then he smiles. “No worries!”
Rising slowly from the desk, he places his hands on Owen’s chest and gently presses in. “This’ll fix you right up!”
With a start, Owen - wet, naked, and lying next to the tub in his bathroom - spits out a breath, his eyes popping open to a paramedic pushing down on his chest. Another EMT is wrapping thick gauze around the deep slashes in his wrists.
“We thought we’d lost you,” says the paramedic. “But you’re gonna be okay.”