“Just water with a lemon please” said the man. I was sitting across the table from a stranger whom I did not invite to sit with me. In a small cafe I sat, protected from the down poring rain just steps outside the door... it was early and quiet. “So, how’ve you been Jeff?”
“Fine” I said immediately but as the words leaked from my mouth, my mind wondered how this man knew me when I did not know him, who was this man?
“Come now, you can tell me the truth. I know what your thinking, your wondering who I am and how I know you. Well Jeff, you may not remember me right now but I could never forget about you. “
I shook my head slowly, acknowledging that I had heard him but not necessarily that I understood. “I’m sorry... for not remembering you that is. I haven’t been myself lately, I don’t seem to remember much.”
“That’s alright” he said reassuringly, “considering what your going through, I understand.” He leaned forward and took a long drink from his glass, from the look of him I could tell he was a healthy man. While I had a jumbled set of clothes covering my body, he had got up early to get dressed in a nice outfit, much neater than myself. “While we’re being honest with each other, how about you tell me why your here.”
I was drawn back, what an odd question. I had every right to be there, he was the one that imposed himself on me, he was the one that sat down and ordered something at my expense. Yet, at the same time his question puzzled me, why was I there? “I don’t know..” I said, confused. “I don’t even remember driving here or what I did this morning to prepare for work. Wait! Work. What time is it? I must be late to work! I always go to work at this time, why am I here?” I yelled with alarm, jumping up abruptly.
“Sit down Jeff, there’s nowhere else you should be right now than here with me.” the man said calmly. I paid little attention to him as I approached the door quickly in pursuit of my vehicle.
“Jeff, that won’t work.” the man said.
“Yeah, okay.” I said as I walked out the door. As I exited the door everything went white, above me was white sky, below me was white floor and all about me was white. Panicked my isolation I ran forward as fast as I could, but the light went on and on without cease. I stopped exhausted and thought about what I could do. The last place I was before entering this blankness was the cafe, could it still be there? I jogged back in the direction I came and for a while all I could see was white but suddenly over the horizon I saw a door. I opened the door and entered, there I was, back at the cafe.
I walked over to the man, still sitting where he was. “What happened to everything?”
“What do you mean everything? There is no everything. There is only this moment in this place, you and me and my friends.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Yeah, well few do. Come, sit down, we have some things to talk about.” he said. I slowly walked to my chair and sat down. “I can tell you now realize this not simply a breakfast cafe, you’ve seen that there is no way leading to and from it so how did we all get here? Do you know where you are?”
I sat pondering but suddenly had a thought, “Am I in heaven?”.
“That depends, what is heaven? Is it simply a place of peace and love where you can rest and be with God? If that’s your definition then heaven is anywhere. Heaven and Hell are states of mind, you now know that. Where are you?”
“So... I am not on Earth anymore?”
“As a matter of speaking, no you aren’t. What your experiencing right now is not Earth.”
“Am I dreaming?”
“Why must you be dreaming now? Perhaps you are waking?”
“Am I going insane?”
“Some might define it that way.” the man said laughing.
“Wake up, Jeff.”
“What?” I asked.
“Wake up, Jeff. It’s time to get up. Wake up, Jeff.”
I opened my eyes to a bright sunny day, was that a dream? I stretched in my bed and then got up, I looked at my clock and hurried past my wife to get ready. I ran downstairs, got in the car and started off to work. My boss was going to have my ass, I was late again, the third strike. I pressed down on the accelerator and sped past a red light, suddenly an 18 wheeler pulled in front of me and before there was anything I could do, I ran straight into it. Everything went dark and all pain ceased.
I opened my eyes and straight ahead was the man I had breakfast with last night. “Welcome back, Jeff”