I laid there for several hours, staring into the bright light. It seemed as though there were people moving around – I could see the bright light shifting and darkening, then getting brighter, so I assumed there were people walking in front of the light source. My eyes had not yet adjusted to what I was looking at, so I just made this assumption. I blinked rapidly, trying to keep my eyes moist.
Upon coming into the light of day, my first reaction was something of fear, to be honest about it. You probably know how it is when you face something new and life-changing for the first time. It can be the best thing in the world and yet you harbor a little bit of fear over how it is all going to turn out. My cousin Conrad had this sort of reaction, if I recall correctly, when he joined the Army. He felt that he was getting into something pretty good, and for the most part it was exactly that, until his Humvee hit an IED and Conrad was killed. Until that point, though, the whole experience had been pretty good for him, and as he had reflected to me in his last letter, he knew that even if he bought the farm over there in the big sandbox, well, things had been better than they could have been and he had seen a lot of living that he wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Still, I miss Conrad a lot. I probably always will.
Anyhow, I don't think my fear at seeing the light was anything near what Conrad had felt so long ago, but it was genuine, and the whole recent presidential stalagmite / stalactite episode had thrown me for quite a loop – I was not thinking very clearly, and the appearance of what I thought were people walking between me and the light of day made me shiver just a bit.
I rolled over on to my back and realized how tired my arms were. I had been crawling, as I think I may have mentioned earlier, for almost two decades, and I had not eaten anything in all that time. I had taken nothing in, and I had put nothing out. A zero-sum balance, I think it is called. I could be wrong, though, in calling it that. You get the idea, anyhow. I rolled on to my back and I stretched my arms up over my head, and I felt the sunlight play across my face. It felt pretty good, especially since I had not felt sunlight in all that time. I wanted to soak it all in, if that is possible – I wanted to soak the sunlight right in the way that a sponge soaks up water, bread soaks up gravy, or a compress soaks up blood. All three at the same time was the sunlight to me and my pale, clammy body.
So I had made it up and out and I was at the mouth of the cave, and the whole world lay before me even as I lay before the world. There was only one thing that I wanted, I thought to myself. But then upon further contemplation, I realized there were two things that I wanted.
I wanted to see the face of God; to stand before the majesty of divinity, to stand in awe and wonder. I wanted the vision glorious, and that sight that comes from standing before eternity and infinity. I wanted to see the face of God.
And I wanted one of those grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches like I used to get at Leahy's Lunch, when I was still back in the cave.