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Amira of Eraldus

Maria arrived in the Homeland and was bright and happy. That’s the thing about the Homeland. Once you are there, everywhere else seems miserable. Milyaket explained to Maria about her mother’s passing and her father’s imminent passing.

“Would you like to help them cross over?” asked Milyaket.

“Of course,” said Maria.

“The Advisors have asked you not to speak to them but simply to transfer your love and calm assurance that all is well. They are both confused by the transition and need time to adjust,” said Milyaket.

Maria was able to help her mother and then, a few weeks later, her father over the bridge into their new state of mind. There was much for them to come to terms with. Maria silently walked with them, holding their hands – the hands they believed they still possessed – until they were more accustomed to life in the Homeland.

On Maria’s last day in the Homeland, Milyaket told her that when she returned to Earth, she would have aged twelve years in terms of biology and demeanour. “People who already know you will assume it is the result of the mysterious ‘illness’,” said Milyaket. “With time, they will forget what they thought you were and relate to what you are now.”

That means I will be the same age as Gabriel and Charlie, thought Maria. I wonder how they will react to that?

“As you know, you will be returning as Amira, your natural self,” said Milyaket. “However, like all souls that go to Earth, you will not be in your pure form. Your purity will be substantially dulled by entering Earth’s lower base atmosphere. It will be a process of recall.”

Several weeks after being admitted to hospital, Amira woke up. It was still dark but the morning was not far off. There was enough light in the room for her to work out that she was in a hospital. She pulled out the drip and sat up. Once she had adjusted to being vertical, she carefully put her feet on the ground and then slowly walked over to the window. She recognised the city landscape below her. Home was not that far away. She left a note on the bed saying that she would be back in the afternoon to check out of the hospital properly.

Some of her clothes were in the cupboard. She pulled them on unsteadily. She walked hesitantly down the passage, past the desk, and out the glass sliding doors of the hospital. No one stopped her because no one seemed to be around. It was wonderful to be outside. She stretched her arms and back which were coming back to life.

I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse. She smiled. That was one of her father’s favourite sayings when he got back from being on the fishing trawler. I don’t know about a horse. Even non-vegetarians probably wouldn’t want to eat a horse. This bakery has lights on inside. She looked through the window and one of the bakers opened the door and said he would serve her if she liked.

“Thank you so much,” said Amira taking away a bag of three croissants, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of milk. She ate all the croissants and drank most of the milk. Now she could think again. As she travelled on the bus to Eraldus, she tried to make sense of what had happened. How long had it even been? She did not know. She remembered sitting on the lounge in her home and Milyaket visiting. After that, she had no recollection of here. She did not know how she got to the hospital.

She could recall more of what happened in the Homeland. However, she had a feeling that most of what had been conveyed to her in the Homeland would take a while to resurface in her mind. She did know, very clearly, that Maria was now gone. She knew her parents were safe in the Homeland. She felt no sadness at her recollections. In fact, she felt happy as she gazed out of the bus window at the city houses with occasional early morning lights on. Mothers of little children, shift workers, early risers, restless sleepers, and senior folk who don’t need as much sleep anymore. I am so blessed. Everyone is so blessed, she thought. As she stepped from the bus, she realised that sunrise was quite close. The growing light made the footpaths clear.

“Hi, Maria,” said Jack, the paperboy, who was out delivering on his bike. “I haven’t seen you for a while. Where have you been?”

He was a boy. No one would have troubled him with whatever had been happening.

“I was having a little holiday but I’m back now,” said Amira.

“Okay, great,” said Jack riding off as if it didn’t really matter one way or the other. Fourteen-year-old boys have much more important stuff to think about.

Amira called after him, “By the way, my name is Amira now.”

Jack momentarily stopped the bike, “My friend’s Mum is called Amira. She says it means one who speaks. What are you going to say?” said Jack thinking he made the best joke in the world.

Amira laughed, “Whatever I am told.”

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