a closer walk with thee
The cacophony of city life clamours on the air.
Sunshine streams through the glass roof.
We are in fine fooling.
Miss South Korea is holding forth about my lack of attendance at the Catholic ceremony of confession.
Finally I can take no more.
"What do you care?" sez me. "You're Protestant. You don't even believe in confession."
"But you promised God you'd go."
"You promised him you'd go if your Aunty Mary got a miraculous healing and your Aunty Mary got a miraculous healing."
"Then you've got to go."
"I don't want to Song. Confession is embarassing. I figure the Almighty will let it slide."
"When did your Aunt get healed?"
Sunghea stared at me.
Her stare lacked something in the approval department.
Our conversation drifted to other topics.
The cafe staff clattered about our table as rudely as they dared.
Me and Miss S blathered happily for a while.
"Did I ever tell you about my near death experience?" sez she presently.
"Are you sure?"
"I think I'd remember something like that if you'd mentioned it."
"Okay," said she. "It happened three years ago in Seoul. I was in a swimming pool with a friend. My friend was joking around and she held my head under the water. She didn't know I couldn't swim and that my life jacket wasn't on properly."
"Really. She kept holding me down."
"No. She's nice. She didn't realise what was happening. I was under the water struggling to get to the surface. But she held me down."
"Do you know what I mean by bitch?"
"I know what you mean."
"Was she trying to drown you?"
"No. No. Not at all. It wasn't that. She was only joking. She didn't know how close I was to dying."
The mighty Heelers became briefly lost for words and motioned Miss South Korea to continue her account.
"I was under the water for a short time. But I couldn't get any air and I couldn't get to the surface. My friend kept pushing me down. Then I thought: I am going to die. Time went different for me. I was only under the water for seconds. Time was passing differently for me. First I saw what looked like a news report on television with a reporter saying: Girl dies in pool. Then I saw my whole life. Like on a screen. I was able to see my whole life. It was like I was living it again. I saw everything. My whole life."
"How could you see your whole life in a few seconds?"
"Time had gone funny for me."
"Are you sure you saw everything Song?"
"Maybe not the bits when I was just born. Everything else. I saw everything else. My whole life."
"What happened after that?"
"My friend pulled me to the surface and I was okay. The only effect the experience had on me is that now I don't think I'm afraid of death."
"Were you angry with your friend when she pulled you out?"
"Not at all. She didn't realise what was happening. She hadn't done it on purpose."
I stared harder than Miss Korea herself had stared at me earlier.
"What are you staring at?" she enquired.
"I'm a bit stunned," sez me.
"Why?" sez she. "Is it because I wasn't angry with my fiend? A lot of people can't believe I wasn't angry."
The mighty Heelers still stared and still his wonder grew.
"Good Lord," I exclaimed eventually almost to myself, "I think that for the first time in my life I've just met a Christian."