Warwick looked up and smiled. I wanted to savor his maroon lips. Their sheen was highlighted against the claret colored wall. I wanted to reach behind his head and slide my fingers through his thick curly hair, before slowly moving his lips to mine.
“I’m astounded!” he said.
I paused my daydream to compute what he’d uttered.
“Reassuringly ‘feels like home’ astounded, or unnervingly ‘what the frig’ astounded?”
“More like ‘stunned, I need answers but not jumping to conclusions’ astounded.”
“Warwick, at this stage we have no choice but to jump to conclusions. Where are we?”
“In the Limelight Quarter,” he replied blank faced.
“Very funny. You know what I mean.”
My friend wandered to the window. I watched him, unrealistically believing he could give me all the answers. He viewed the flourishing garden outside before turning to me.
“They all seem secretive,” he said. “The only answer I seem to get from people is the Limelight Quarter. I don’t feel we’re in danger though.”
“What choice do we have? After bonding with Guy last night, I feel pretty safe, too.”
“I guess it makes sense to find comfort in an angel. He’s the only one who has to be a true local.”
“Comfort, yes, answers, no.”
“Allan, I thought you’d find him sort of a geek. He’s a bit Gomer Pyle. When we first got here, you were admiring Samantha’s outfit and gawking at Guy’s.”
There was not much I could keep secret from Warwick.
“Okay, I did at first, but you left me so I had to get to know him. In some ways he reminded me of what I was like when you first met me. A bit of a lost soul. Our chat helped take my mind off this bizarre place.”
“Yes, Allan, I went home with Pedro to take my mind off this bizarre place.”
That repeated phrase reverberated in my head. I stared at Warwick. He stared back. The thought of my demise was hard enough to face, but this version of the Afterlife with no link back to concepts favored in religious texts, made it harder to accept. There was not an omnipotent being in sight. We had one angel surrounded by a cast from different eras of earth-bound time, going about their business with no qualms. And still, no one wanted to elaborate.
“Heaven or Hell?” my friend asked.
“Perhaps Limbo, or maybe we’re just having a weird dream?”
“Of course, Allan, at exactly the same time.” Warwick winked at me.
“Yeah maybe. Your wet-dream with Pedro and my, my...”
“Your buddy-genre dream with an angel.”
He made me smile. As he looked out at the garden again, a more believable explanation came to me.
“Warwick, maybe I’m just in a coma, and somewhere near my hospital bed you’re talking to me, trying to wake me up.”
“Allan, if I am talking to you from your hospital bed, how will I know you can hear me?”
“Look, Warwick, I’m wiggling my toes.”
My friend turned to see me lift my legs and shake both feet.
“Allan, what if you’re covered by a blanket, and I can’t notice your toes?”
“Don’t be silly, you’d notice my toes wiggling under the covers.”
“Maybe there’s a serving tray or a hospital chart on the sheets?”
I thrashed my legs more violently, just in case there was some truth in my theory.
“Allan, you’re not in a coma.”
“How can you be sure?”
“Because from my point of view, I might be the one in a coma.”
My legs stopped kicking.
“Warwick, either way we should keep conversing, so no one ends up pulling the plug from our life support.”