I called up Ben. There was a little forced small talk, then things got deeper.
BR: Where do you go after you die? Is it like the blackness you get when you get hit in the head too hard and everything shuts off? Do you get some sort of tunnel vision where you're drawn towards a light?
CS: I don't know. I wonder that myself.
BR: Is there really a heaven?
I wasn't sure what to say. It's hard to be sure footed in your beliefs when you're faced with something serious. I haven't studied enough of that stuff to have a concrete answer. I don't know if we're supposed to have a concrete answer.
CS: Do you think there is? Did Agnes?
BR: She did, yeah.
He said it emphasizing on the word 'she' that made it sound like he didn't believe it.
CS: Do you think she believed she was going there, after...?
BR: Right. Yeah. I think so.
I don't know why I asked the next question.
CS: Do you?
It just hung there. For too long. I knew the answer before he said it.
There was a silence.
BR: Before the funeral, when she was... in her casket? I... held her hand. I touched her face... I looked at her for a long time, you know? The muscles in her face... she looked different. Her hand wasn't just cold. It was like it had fallen asleep. I just sat there and held her hand for a long time. I don't know. Her hands were always so pretty. I wanted so badly for it to change from what it was back to her warm, soft touch. Whatever it was that made her Agnes - her self, I dunno, her...I didn't know how alive she was until she wasn't anymore. Her... body... laying there wasn't an empty shell. It was never enough to hold her in the first place. The whole house wasn't enough to hold her. It still smells like her. That's all that lingers now. Pretty soon that house is going to be as lifeless as she was that day. Cold. Asleep.
I could hear him quietly crying agonizing tears through the phone.
BR: You know, I wish I believed in heaven. Because then I could join her.
He hung up. I knew I needed to call him back soon.