“Sometimes, I wish I stayed,” he said whilst gazing up into the brightness blanketing the sky, smoke wafting lazily from his lips.
He always had that air about him, Aaron did: a quiet yearning for something and the melancholic resignation of never obtaining it. He was a party pooper, through and through.
Rion rolled his eyes and took a sip of his coffee. He considered letting his friend’s comment go, to ignore it and change the subject. His coffee was especially good today, he tell Aaron that. He started to, but instead ended up asking “Why would you wish a thing like that?”
Aaron let his head roll listlessly onto his shoulder, his eyes meeting the curious glare of his friend. Rion was always the type to leap at the slightest mention of anything going on somewhere he was not that had a chance of being fractionally more entertaining than what was going on where he was. There was no party like a Rion party because a Rion party did not stop.
“I don’t know,” said Aaron softly, “I just… I don’t know.” He turned his head back to the sky and took another pull on his cigarette.
Rion took another sip of his coffee. He held it tight in both hands. On a day like this, a hot cup of coffee was better than a dozen pairs of mittens. Both the sky and snow covered ground being too bright, and Aaron being too depressing, Rion looked straight ahead into bustling traffic and the carefully crafted buildings of stone and steel and glass that separated the earth from the heavens before him. “Well,” he said, “I don’t. Never did, not once.”
Aaron shifted his eyes to his friend, hoping to see something in his face that might have contradicted his words. “Not once?”
Rion snorted, a smile breaking over his face, “Nope. Not. Once.” He turned to see Aaron’s head still tilted back, his lips drooping at the corners. “Come on, Aaron, you so treasure our old hometown that you’ve forgotten where you are. What is there you could possibly miss? The endless monotony of watching over this one and answering the prayers of that one, the mind numbing drone of the praising and the worshiping, the unquestioning obedience to His every whim—you can’t honestly tell me you enjoyed that more than…” Rion spread his arms to the world around him, “than all of this? There’s always something new and different. In every country, every city, all over the planet, there is new food, new music, new art, new people. And then a century or two passes and it’s all new again. It’s like a party that never ends.”
Aaron sighed, lifting his head only to bring it back down in front of him and pinch the bridge of his nose. “I suppose you’re right, old friend.”
Rion’s hands stiffened around his cup of coffee. His head snapped around to Aaron, slack jawed and wide eyed. “I’m… right?”
Aaron sat up, his hands on his knees and his lips thin and straight , “I think you are. It’s probably just a mood I’m in. I haven’t been sleeping to well, you see—”
“The fact that you’re sleeping at all shows how little you know of Earth’s pleasures,” said Rion with a grin.
Aaron laughed while putting out his cigarette on the sole of his shoe. “I’d better leave those pleasures to the professionals like yourself, yes?”
“Yes, indeed.” Rion laughed before taking the last sip of his coffee. “Well, friend, it was lovely talking to you as always.” He stood up and tossed his cup a few feet into the nearest waste bin.
Aaron flicked his cigarette on the ground and stood up as well. “Yes, Rion, nice speaking with you too.”
Rion stepped forward and put his arms around his friend, “Until we meet again.”
Aaron returned the embrace. Rion pulled away, and with a smile and a quick wave, walked off into the park. After a few moments, Aaron sunk down back onto the bench, dropping his head into his hands.
Perhaps Rion was truly right. Maybe this world had everything that he could ever want or hope for and heaven paled in comparison. But that didn’t change the way Aaron felt. He wanted to go back home, back to Heaven. And unfortunately, there was only one way to do that.
He reached inside his coat, gripped the handle of a small dagger, and inconspicuously slipped it out of his jacket pocket and up his sleeve. With a deep breath, Aaron stood back to his feet and set off after his friend.