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Heaven's Call

Divine encounter of a different kind.

“Do you believe in heaven?”

That sudden question dragged me from my daydreams as I was sitting by the plane’s window seat. I stared at the guy momentarily as he took his seat beside mine. “I suppose. Don’t we all?” I answered, almost disinterestedly. I liked talking to strangers, but I was hoping to spend my one hour ride in peace.

“I guess, human as we are, we will always want to believe in heaven or something similar.”

“True.” I thought of putting on my headset so that I could evade this conversation altogether but that would be too rude, so I settled back on staring at the view outside my window.

“So what is heaven for you?”

I wanted to sigh in exasperation right there. It’s either he took the hint and ignored it or wasn’t even aware that there was a hint at all. “I’m not sure,” I answered without taking my eyes off the window.

”Well for me, heaven is something remotely divine that we are lucky enough to taste here on earth.”

“Interesting,” I answered blandly.

“We just don’t realize it sometimes, but heaven could be everywhere. People just use all sorts of words to describe it. Ecstasy. High. Funny how everyone’s turning out to be junkies these days.”

“Hmmm,” I mumbled.

“Have you ever met heaven or experienced heaven perhaps?”

Unbelievable. This guy is incredibly persistent. I said goodbye to my tranquil ride and decided to give him a little attention. “Would I be wrong if I interpret that as asking me if I’d ever been so happy?”

His face literally lit up as he smiled. “No. You can interpret it however you like. After all, your heaven must be different from mine.”

“I am happy when I am with loved ones. I guess that’s my heaven.”

“Let me take that back. I guess we do share a similar heaven.”

I smiled at that. I heard him sigh, but that must have been my imagination or some other passenger’s sound. “Are you a priest?” I finally asked.

He laughed. ”Do I look like one?”

“No.” To be honest, now that he had my full attention, this guy looked good. Too good in fact that you’ll know some loved one is waiting at the airport when the plane lands. Good-looking guys nowadays are either taken or just plain gay after all.

“No, I’m not a priest, monk or any religious leader.”

“Why the fascination in heaven, then?”

“Fascination? No. no. More like sudden compelling impulse.”

“Sudden compelling impulse to think of heaven?” He was being too cryptic, I did not know what to make of him.

He nodded emphatically. “Yes, and to follow it too. I was scheduled to board another flight but one moment of heaven at the waiting area compelled me to drop everything and be here.” He answered so matter-of-factly.

“Oh, okay.” I went with the flow if only to humor him. “A man chasing heaven, how odd is that?”

“Odd indeed. But then again, not all men are lucky enough to meet heaven. I just refused to let it slip.”

That was a little hard to process. Sometimes, people do have certain weirdness in them no matter how cool they look. “How would you know it’s heaven you’re following and not hell?”

“The same thing you felt with loved ones and knew that was your heaven right there.”

The announcements for descent drowned our conversation. We soon landed quite safely, but my mind was still stuck in the clouds thinking about heaven.

He looked like he was in a hurry to get down. “Catching up for the other flight?”, I asked.

“Yeah,” He replied looking dejected. As if on second thought, he stretched out his hand and added, “Thank you for a nice chat.”

It was a firm and comfortable handshake. Very quaint and formal. Not even an exchange of names, or numbers. As to why my heart sank a little because of that, I did not want to know. “I hope you catch up on your heaven.” I could not think of anything else to say.

“I fervently hope so too.” With that he left without looking back, leaving a card on my hand. Puzzled, I looked at it not expecting anything special. It had an Alex as a first name and a unique-sounding last name with contact numbers underneath written in bold.

Smooth. Real smooth. I thought, suppressing a grin.

Out of habit or perhaps just a plain reflex, I flipped the card.

In clear, strong handwriting, it read:

Praying for Heaven’s call.

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