The sounds fill the room, those which I have not heard for a very long time. In an instant, I see him. He is reclining on his chaise in the garden, looking up at me as the record spins to a halt. The girls in white sash dresses are surrounding him, the setting sun twinkling in their eyes as they laugh and talk together. I am leaning against a wrought iron fence, pushing my torso over the top so I can get as good a glimpse as possible. Just when I was certain he had somehow forgotten me, he excuses himself from the white clad throng and ambles across the garden to the place where I stand.
At first he says nothing, but I see the recognition in his peaceful eyes. I sigh and feel the strange mix of longing and joy course through my body. My fingers fumble with the gate when suddenly he lays one of his hands on mine, stopping me.
“You cannot come in,” he says tenderly.
“Why not?” A tear starts to fall from my eyes. “I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, but this is not a place for those who are…”
I nod my head in understanding. Neither of us wanted to say the word alive.
“Have you met all of them?” My curiosity was getting the better of me.
“Oh, yes!” His eyes sparkled with joy. “My questions are answered. Only this time, unlike when I found that rare 78, I can’t share. Not yet.”
“I know,” I whispered as I held his hand, looking down for the first time at my emerald dress. They wore the spotless white of perfect peace, but I still wore the color of leaves swaying in sunshine. Until I did not belong to that world, I could not join him.
However, as I walked back the way which I had come after bidding him goodbye, I at least had the cherished assurance that I would indeed enter the gate one day.