The feeling was new, yet familiar as Sebastian walked down a long bright corridor. It was shapeless or at least, it felt that way. There was no way that he could tell, if it was rectangular or oval. Shapeless. White. Everything was white and clean. He would have expected the walls to be smudged by now with different sorts of stains. They looked immaculate however, as if he was the first person, to ever walk down this path.
He was scared, but not scared at all at the same time.
Sebastian instinctively knew where he was going and he knew where he was coming from. His heart thundered in his chest, he even felt the pounding in his ears. For all the wrong steps, he had taken in his past, he knew, he felt it in the deepest recess of his mind, that this was good and these steps were right. He took them with vigor, relishing the feeling of his own steady step.
He came to a crossing. A choice needed to be made, but he was so unsure which way to go on. He turned and looked at every new way.
North. East. West. South.
Every way looked just the same. He spun around again, this time with his eyes closed and made his choice. Sebastian took a tentative step and a deep breath. Instinctively, this path felt right. Maybe there was no wrong path to take. Maybe they all led him to home and happiness. He walked on and the white became green and blue, with only specs of white left. He felt the emerald green grass underneath his naked feet. Two feet. He hadn’t felt this since his childhood. There was always something keeping him from going barefoot through the grass. Wasps. Other people looking. Morning dew. Until it was too late and he felt foolish for even thinking about it.
Not this time.
Not this time.
He drew in a deep breath and he smelled the scent of fresh grass. It filled his nostrils and made him exhale with a smile. He was going home. Everything felt right.
Every step he took forward was a conscious step, until he stopped and took the time to raise his head and look up at the sky. It was, as if he was looking into a gem stone. Sapphire blue. Just like he remembered it from his childhood. The sun warmed his skin. Not even the shadow the sparse clouds cast over him took that pleasant feeling away from him.
He felt free. Freer than he had ever felt these last years.
A shiver ran down his spine and goosebumps covered his skin all of a sudden. He looked around and realized that he was alone. All the beauty of the scenery couldn’t make up for that hollow cold feeling, that was spreading fast from his stomach to his heart and made it beat faster. There were no familiar faces. No one was waiting for him. Anxiety took over and he reeled. There was nothing to hold on too and the content feeling he had felt while walking down the white corridor or the happy memories, that he remembered while crossing the meadow were gone.
The outside hadn’t changed. It was the inside that was shifting. Sweat was forming at his temples and ran down in long trails. He felt exposed and silly. His throat was burning and he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t breathe.
There was no need to breathe. It was strange, but it was real. Even without breathing, he was still there. His chest felt constricted, but he was not in pain. The moment he recognized it, the anxiety faded again. He was shaking, not from the cold, not from fear. He simply was shaking.
Deciding, that it was time to walk on, beguiled by the thought of coming home, he brushed his hair out of his face and marched on.
No – not marched. He didn’t march, because he enjoyed every single step he took. Savored it. His skin started to prickle and he instinctively knew, that he was no longer alone. He closed his eyes and listened. But there was no sound. No sound, except for the wind, that blew softly around him. Opening his eyes again, he was startled, when his surroundings were changed completely. No blue in the sky and no green on the ground.
Instead, he found himself in a new empty space. Dark. There was a door, cast in a shining white light, but nothing else. He looked back, but all he saw was a black eternal room. He had no idea, where it ended or where it started, he only knew, that the only way out was through the door.
“Sebastian. I was waiting for you.” a familiar voice said. Tears filled his eyes at once. He didn’t see anyone, but he knew the voice. He would recognize it everywhere and always. It was branded in his mind. Frantically, he turned and tried to find the source of the voice, but he couldn’t find it.
“Jamie where are you?” the distress in his voice was evident. For years and years, he longed to see Jamie again, be with him again and now he was close, so close. But he couldn’t see him.
“Come closer to the door and you will see me. I was waiting for you.” Jamie’s voice repeated again.
Sebastian tried to walk, but his legs didn’t move.
“I can’t. Jamie help me. Wait for me.” Sebastian pleaded desperately. New panic arose. Cutting of his throat again. He reached out his hand in a frail attempt to get to Jamie. But whatever he did, he couldn’t see him and he couldn’t move.
“Try harder.” Jamie whispered in Sebastian’s ear. The sudden proximity made Sebastian spin around with such force, that he almost fell over. He faced Jamie.
A young vital man. Alive. Real.
Hesitantly, Sebastian raised his hand to touch Jamie’s cheek. He almost didn’t dare to let his hand reach its destination, but Jamie leaned into the touch. Sebastian deflated a bit. A weight was falling off his shoulders. Home. He was home.
“I didn’t have the chance to tell you, that I would wait for you. And I waited. Days. Weeks. Months. Years. Decades. It doesn’t matter anymore. Time doesn’t matter, as long as you are with me again.” Sebastian’s hand slipped from Jamie’s face, over his bare shoulder, down his sculpted arm, until it rested in his hand. He took a small step back, to look Jamie up and down.
He was still the young man he used to be. Not an ounce of fat was on his body. Dark hair was dusted all over his body. There was nothing, that reminded of that dreadful last night they had shared. No mark. No scar. Sebastian’s free hand moved on its own accord and came to rest over Jamie’s heart.
“How can this be?” he asked, looking for an answer in Jamie’s green eyes.
“It’s how our story is supposed to end. Everything is determined. We are only puppets, walking the way that was set for us long ago. Call it fate or whatever you want. This is greater than us. So much so, that we will never be able to conceive it with our human minds. It’s time to let go now Sebastian.”
“I am scared Jamie.”
“I know. There is no need to be scared.” Jamie pulled Sebastian closer and let his arm envelop the other man in an embrace. “Just let go. I am here. You will not fall and you are not alone. Let go Sebastian.”
And Sebastian let go.
He saw Agnes and Jordan, with their children. JJ – Jamie Junior, was already a teenager. They had a beautiful daughter too and it was hard to let them go. Sebastian saw Kai, who had finally found his own happiness, with a beautiful pregnant wife. He would never bicker with his twin again and he would never meet his brother’s children. He saw Ryan, who had been the only love he had ever experienced, after Jamie’s passing. A love that was profound, but not enough to stand the test of time. Ryan had moved on quickly and was happy being single. Sebastian saw himself, dancing on a stage. His favorite piano piece was playing. He was young and healthy. Nothing showed of his ordeal and he looked happy. Sebastian saw Jamie and the night they had made love for the first time. It suddenly felt so real and as if it was happening again. Sebastian saw himself again. This time, he was lying on a floor. His eyes were open, but empty. His hand lay on his chest, covering his heart and a smile curled around his lips.
Jamie held Sebastian’s hand tighter and guided him to the bright shining door.
“When we walk through this door together, with joined hands, our souls will unite and we will become one. Do you want me to let you go?” Jamie’s voice was wavering. Fear stabbed at him, until Sebastian turned him in his arms and took his face in both hands. He rested his lips on Jamie’s and pulled back again. For years, he had longed to feel those lips against his own again. He had always thought, that it was impossible and yet, it was happening
“I am ready and I will not let you go again. Never again.” Sebastian smiled. He felt serene and he finally understood, why Jamie had been calm and serene when he died. It was a feeling, as if nothing would matter anymore. His heart was filled with a pleasant heat and love radiated through every pore in his body.
Jamie reached for the doorknob, but Sebastian held him back. “Wait!” Jamie took his hand back. He faced Sebastian with a chuckle.
“You are here to guide me through the light. Who was here for you?” Sebastian hoped, that Jamie had not been alone.
“My grand-parents. They were here for me. They walked through the door together and I followed alone, because I knew, that you would come someday and I wanted to be here for you. I was waiting for you, my love.” Sebastian nodded and squeezed Jamie’s hand.
Together, they took one last unneeded deep breath and walked through the shining light.
At last, they were reunited. They became a bright star in the eternal night sky.