From: Jeff Seltun <email@example.com>
Date: Thu Feb 3, 2005 5:42 pm
Subject: The Bond Beyond Kinship...
Marco Lopez separated
himself from the others engaged
in lively conversation at the Year's End party at L.A. Headquarters.
It had been many days since his near death experience, but
it hadn't, as yet, left him free of introspection
for a single solitary
moment. And his lined, tired face, reflected it.
Casting a glance around
the room, Lopez found an open space
where he could sit down by himself, away from the noise and
He found solice in a pocket of quiet inside a room full of unused chairs
the dispatching station. Gently, Sam Lanier, the dispatcher, still
on duty, turned down his scanner
radio to deepen the quiet that Marco
And there, in the brightly lighted store
room, he found another small
person seeking the same kind of balm.
Lopez saw his own complex
expression perfectly mirrored on a
hispanic boy's face and instantly recognized it for what it was.
His tiny features, too, were blanketed with a pale sadness.
"Stevie? Are you ok?"
looking up, the nine year old sighed. "Yeah, Mr. Lopez. I'm fine.
I guess I'm just tired, that's all.
Tonight I think I need some time to just go
over the things painted in my head instead of celebrating,
"Kind of what I was picturing for myself, too. May I join you?" Marco asked,
the plastic chair next to the despondent boy.
"Sure. Have a seat..." Stevie gestured absently.
Several minutes passed and the two of them just stared at the walls,
perking up only when the
familiar buzzing notes of a rescue call
came out from Sam's board for a nearby fire station.
Marco felt a tiny hand slip into his own.
"Wanna talk about it?" asked a treble whisper into his
Marco nodded in quiet acceptance, laying his other hand over
the tinier one. "Yep. No
one else understands at all what I'm
going through. I figured that you would, seeing that we both
have gone through nearly the same thing."
"You mean the bit where we almost died last week?"
"Yeah." Marco said, moving an arm over the boy's shoulder to
draw him nearer into a warm embrace to
end his shivering.
Stevie did the same, and for more than just mutual comfort's
was reaching out, to the only one capable of understanding
the unique angst that was still dominating
his very soul.
"I sure wish I got a note from the other side. Clear as pictures, senor.."
Stevie, his own deep brown eyes connecting slowly with
Marco's. "Father Murphy says he can't tell
me what what I saw means,
since he wasn't there. Now isn't that the craziest thing you ever
A man of the cloth being totally clueless about the afterlife."
the boy scoffed.
seen the other side like we have." Marco said gently,
lacing his fingers into the boy's. He offered
him a Coke from
a chilling cooler nearby but the child shook his head no.
Marco sighed, not feeling
very thirsty either. At least, not
in a physical sense. "Stevie, what did you see out there?"
The boy's eyes filled with an emotion that Marco couldn't identify,
yet Lopez seemed to feel the child,
inside of his heart, in an inexplicable
way that usually wasn't possible with complete strangers who
hardly knew each other.
"You first..." said the vaguely troubled boy.
"Well, " sighed Lopez.
"I saw ...my dead father...and...I was absolutely
overwhelmed by something that I can only describe
as a pervasive,
all encompassing sense of peace. It was as if Bernardo and
I ..suddenly had the
same mind and body...for an instant. "
"I could feel what he felt...and hear what he was saying.
I was seeing,
what he saw around him, effortlessly, and thinking what he thought.
And- and and
it was a two way street. He could experience my life's
events as acutely as I had lived them. And
I saw how he had lived his.
But soon, it was if he began weighing my life's worth, and deciding
or not I should go on into the light with him."
"Then I was pulled away from Bernardo's arms while
a heartbeat. I think it was then my friend Roy gave me an electrical
shock to get my
heart beating well enough so that it could sustain
me again. "
"The first thing I heard was
Captain Stanley saying that I was finally
breathing ok for them. Then I knew nothing for a while until
I woke up
in the ambulance."
Throughout his tale, Marco saw Stevie's eyes get bigger and bigger
as parallels eerily lined up with his own sharp memories. The boy's eyes
watered in grief and sadness.
"I should still be out there, Marco!"
he sobbed. "My being down here with everybody still alive
is so painful to me... I don't think I can stand it.."
Marco drew the boy deeper into his arms
and kissed his hair. "Shh, querido.
It's ok. I think that this pain's just us, getting used to our
again. It'll go away. It has to, like everything else bad always does:
I think it'll be
a little like falling until we've figured out how to walk again."
Silence stretched between them,
but there was no distance at all.
Marco broke the stillness.
What happened to you when you
The child's face flushed red with distress and he shifted
on the chair."People don't know how much those
who've gone on are still a part of them!" Stevie cried.
was over there and she said to me that it wasn't my time to go yet.
She said that
I had to stay with mom and my brother, until I've
done something I'm supposed to do. Only she couldn't
what that was... I felt like I knew, Marco, absolutely everything."
his face twisted.
"But now I've forgotten it all and that's now
the pain I got in here..." and Stevie pointed to his
"and here.." and his shaking fingers rested on his chest.
"And if I don't figure it out,
I know it's gonna kill me again...."
"It's ok, querido. I think the pain's supposed
to happen, so you
can learn from it."
"Just talk to me. And tell me what you
Stevie slowly relaxed and his eyes seemed like they lost their focus.
"Grandma was an angel, and she was so bright!" shared
Stevie. "I didn't want to leave her."
"I didn't want to leave my father either. But now, I see that
I'm not ready to go where he is now.
Don't you feel that too?"
"Yeah.. a little. I can feel that it's in your mind and it's
that awful pain leave you. Bit by bit." sighed Stevie,
wiping his tears away with a hand. He snuffled
in the way
of the very young and that endeared him to Marco
"That's right. And
I think I know the reason why. When I
think of my father, I can see what's truly important now.
love, creativity, was the impression I got." he
smiled. "It's really hard to have a bad day now since
Frankly, I simply can't have one because I realized that
I had awakened, still breathing.
All because of what my
father said to me in those last moments."
"He said, 'Marco,go live your
life as I have lived mine. I will
still be here, watching over you and your mother, every step
the way until we are meant to be together once more.
There's nothing to fear from death. It is simply
a change in you
where your body recedes and your mind grows up. Don't
worry about any of it. Everybody
who loves you will support your
needs fully when the time comes around for good.' "
your grandmother probably told you the same thing, but
you've had a longer way to travel to get back
to your mother.
Abuela's message will come when your body's settled again.
I know it will."
The small Hispanic boy sighed and stopped crying, still nestled in
Marco's warm arms. "You know what?
I’m not afraid to die now."
Lopez threw on a wry look for his benefit. "I sure don’t want to quite
yet, even though it was a very wonderful thing."
"I think everyone should do it." Stevie voiced
"Well, ...at least, ...someday."
"Don't be afraid to talk about all of this
with your mother
like we are doing now. No one will ever look at you strangely
for doing this.
Tell her especially the part about your grandmother
being an angel."
"I will Mr. Lopez. I'll
try real hard."
In the weeks that followed in church, Marco Lopez often heard
Stevie tell his friends about the
time when he was dead. Hearing
the child's tale, each time, helped him connect with his own story
and it got stronger and stronger, easier and easier with each telling
to the support counselors or
to his fellow firemen at the station.
At first, Marco was fearful that the folks around them wouldn't
understand their stories and become withdrawn after the listening.
But that didn't happen.
they got a profound, softened look on their faces that
always came with a smile.
Season Two, Episode Seventeen..
§§ That Latin Flair §§
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