After hours of strolling down memory lane, I was able to break out of my wakened trance. The train, which had seemed endless, finally made its stop. The conductor, whose name I had learned to be James, came to greet me as if he had been waiting for this particular stop to occur. He looked at me with his friendly face, smiled and said, "Welcome to Memphis"... ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I got off the train, assuming that there would be someone waiting for me down that cold terminal. When I realized that no one had come, I decided to walk out of the lonely terminal by myself since it had been built only a few blocks away from my home. I was excited to see my hometown again. My love Laura, my mama, and even though Tom was no longer here I knew he would have been standing right beside me saying, "Good Old Memphis." After walking all ten blocks to my home, I finally saw it! I could see the chimney that slithered through the air, gray. In the front window I could see the figure of a woman, her hair the same color as the smoke that arised from the chimney. It was mama. With a yell I ran to her in excitement...

"Mama! Mama!"

I was in the house and I could see her. I stood at the door in bewilderment. I hadn't seen my precious mama in so long. She still smelled of potatoes and rosemary. I walked up to her slowly. She had aged siginificantly since I last saw her. I could tell she had been crying for a while. Her face was serious and full of hurt, but I couldn't understand why. I figured it was because she had not seen me yet. Her back was turned away. I could only catch glimpses of her face when she turned. So I decided to get a bit closer so she could see that her eldest son had finally arrived."


She didn't turn around, as if I had not muttered a single word. I tried again, this time a bit louder."


This time she walked right pass me and over to the living room as if I was not in the room, as if she was the only one home. Could she not see that her beloved Jess had returned? I thought perhaps her visioned had impaired. Mystified, I decided to touch her shoulder so that she knew I was there with certainty. I walked over to her slowly so that she would not be frightened.

"Mama? Mama It's me Jesse."

She did not move again. I could not understand. Why couldn't my mother see me? Had she lost some of her senses? The ability to see? feel? What was happening?

"Mama can you hear me? See me? I'm here ma, right here..It's Jess mama."

She continued to move around the house, this time she went back into the kitchen. I followed her. I decided to try to hug her this time, but before I could the telephone rang. She seemed to hear it and without any trouble, went to answer it.

(With a slight whimper and much pain in her voice)"Hello?" Yes this is Mrs. Edwards. Thank you very much, he was always such a good boy. I am proud. Yes. I will. Good-bye."

She began to cry a little. Seeing how well she had answered the phone I tried talking to her again.

"Who was that mama? What did they say? (touching her face) Mama? Talk to me, please?"

She peeled her back from off the kitchen wall as she had been resting on it. She went back to the living room and sat on the family couch my father had bought years before he died. She sat there still, staring at the fireplace as if in some sort of trance. Above the fireplace was a circular mirror my mother had placed there when I was ten years old. The last time I had looked into that mirror I was seventeen. Now, staring at the twenty year old war soldier, in my uniform, I could barely recognize myself. Looking around the room I could see other things that had changed and some that were very strange. Like the table my mother had inherited from her grandfather, I remember it broke when my mother placed a pot of potatoes so big and heavy, its fragile legs collapsed. It was there again. I kept searching the house. Pictures of my father that had been torn and thrown out where there again. I could hear barks that sounded like they came from our old dog Sarah. Laughs that sounded like my father. The house echoed with strange noises, old images, lost memories. I didn't understand. I couldn't. What was happening? I went to the back yard where most of the noises were coming from. In amazement I stood on the back porch and watched as an old memory played vividly. I saw my father teaching me how to play catch when I was five years old. But this wasn't a dream or a hallucination, it was real, all of it. I could not stand it anymore. I rushed out of the house. My mother didn't seem to notice my rapid escape. I knew where I had to go. Laura. I ran the two blocks to her home. When I arrived, she too seemed in pain. Her face was red, her eyes puffy, as if she had been crying for weeks and finally decided to stop. I ran to her and tried to embrace her as quickly as possible."

"Laura, Laura it's me!"

I hugged her but she did not seem to notice or care. She ignored me, acted as if I was not there, just as my mother had. I couldn't understand. I tried to grab her face with both of my hands so she could see me."

"Laura, look at me, look it's me Jess. Laura! LOOK AT ME!" LOOK!"

"Laura honey, are you ready? Jesse's ceremony is in twenty minutes!"

(quivering)"Yes ma'am I'm ready."

I was confused. What ceremony? For me? I was right here!. Her mother comes into the room.

"You ok sweet pea?"


"I can't imagine what your going through baby, but it will get easier to deal with in time. Jess died an American hero. You should be proud.

"I am, but I miss him."

"I can only imagine how his mother is feeling. Poor woman."

"I spoke with her earlier. She seems to be more together than I am."

"Still, we should keep her company for a while."

"I agree."

"Time to go sweetie."

I was dead? Dead? How? The battle field? Yes. I remembered the bomb that hit the ground powerfully. Now I remembered everything. I looked at Laura as she got up to leave for my alleged ceremony.I kissed her cheeck, told her I loved her and to take care of my mother and walked out. I started walking around with tears in my eyes and a great sense of disbelief. As I walked the conductor from the train station appeared.

"Hello Jess.

"Why didn't you tell me? Warn me?"

"I couldn't, you had to figure that out on your own.

"So what now?

"There's one more stop on the train Jess."

"I don't know. I-I can't leave them. Can't I stay?"

"You can stay. But you'll suffer every day, every minute, every time you realize that they won't ever be able to hear you, see you or feel you. One day on earth is as long as one century in our world Jess. Do you really want to suffer for that long?"

"Is it painful? The transition?"

"You have already been through the most painful part Jesse."

"Will they be ok?"

"Is anyone every ok?"

"Don't play games with me..WILL THEY BE OK? at least for a while?"

"Yes, they will be fine."

I looked around the Memphis meadows, the pink sky, felt the breeze.


All of a sudden we were back at the train station and the conductor was on the side of the train yelling.


He looked at me. I knew what I had to do. Letting go of everything I knew, everything I used to be, I took one firm step forward...aboard.