One way, there was a thin shimmery wall that looked like a bubble about to be blown from a wand, and I could see me on the ground with everyone around me. The other way had music, but it wasn't music you could hear. It ran through your body into your soul and made you feel at peace. I looked back down at my body beyond the bubble.
"C'mon. Come back, Sweetheart," someone said. It was the doctor who was nice in so many ways.
I looked back at the musical end of the tunnel there was a light at the end like I was about to walk into sunlight after being in a cave. I looked between my choices. I was torn, so I sat down in the tunnel to think about it. My body looked like it would be really painful when the adrenalin wore off. The music sounded so nice. I had so little that tied me to that life. I was about to face a lot of disappointment. The music promised rest, and peace, and love. I'd had so little of any of that in life. Everyone deserved love. I got up and turned toward the light and started walking towards that end of the tunnel.
From behind me outside the bubble, I heard the doctor say, "I'm not feeling a pulse. Okay. I'm going to start CPR. Keep pressure on that." I definitely had to at least stick around for that. Suddenly I was vacuumed down through the tunnel back towards my body. I burst the bubble just as his mouth was coming down, and opened my eyes. Oh… well… That was poor timing. He took a deep breath in relief and said, "You're back."
My eyes felt heavy, but I said, "I came back for the CPR, but you stopped."
Both the doctor and the girl laughed. I could hear sirens, and the doctor looked up to see where they were. Then, he was checking my pulse and looking in my eyes again.
The tunnel beckoned me with its sweet, soul-deep music. I frowned. Stay or leave. I closed my eyes. It was too bright even as the dark fell over the city.
"Hey… hey… The ambulance is almost here. Open your eyes," the doctor said.
I opened them a little, but I could feel the vacuum of the tunnel teasing at my soul. I closed them again. The bubble hummed, and I knew I was going back to the tunnel. Peace. I wanted that. I knew it. Acceptance. Love. Why was I staying? Suddenly, I could feel the pressure of the doctor's lips against mine, and I pushed against the tunnel and responded whole-heartedly.
When he pulled back, I opened my eyes and smiled.
"I've never done that," the doctor said sheepishly to the girl who was smothering a smile.
"Really? You were pretty good at it," I said quietly.
He laughed self-consciously and said, "I meant as far as first aid goes."
I started breathing a little quicker, but said, "I hope not. Your patients are all jailbait."
"Ah… a comedian, huh?" he said, smiling down at me.
The tunnel was pulling me again. I looked at the doctor and pushed against it. I noticed in the twilight gloom he looked like he had a tie-dyed thin glow around his body. It was like the reflection of the moon on water. I blinked, thinking it was blur, but it wasn't. He wasn't blurry. He just had a quiet thin reflection of color bouncing off his skin. It was different shades of yellow with patches of light blue and bounced a little around the edges.
I looked at the girl. Her body's halo was dark orange with blue strands and the colors poured off her like a fountain. She had something funny over her head, too. It was like a cylindrical fog that started at her shoulders and went up fading into nothing. It was white sparkles in a midnight purple fog, and looked really beautiful. It was as if she was here but was being beckoned too.
The man, Charlie, had a purple edge with tiny spots of brownish-orange hovering around him. It looked very calm.
"They're almost here," Jeremiah said, brushing back my hair again. "You made it."
"What?" I said as he swam before me, and his voice sounded far away. The tunnel tugged at me. "No. I want to stay with him," I muttered over and over pushing against the barrier of the bubble that stretched between this world and the tunnel. I opened my eyes and saw new faces and felt myself rocking a little. I started to get panicked. "Who are you?" I asked them, but there was something on my mouth. I tried to get up. Why was I here?
The man held me down and asked someone, "Can you try to calm her down again?"
"Hey. Johnna, relax. You're just going for a ride," he said. It was the doctor again. I could see deep-orange and brown halos around the other people working on my stomach, but not around Jeremiah. Then he touched my forehead and he lit up again like a Christmas light. He was white, bright yellow, blue, and deep orange, but it fizzled around him.
"You're a nice color," I said. "Very fizzy." Unfortunately, he couldn't hear me through the mask over my mouth and nose. I was in so much pain. My hands seemed on fire. I looked down at the man and the woman working competently and methodically. Paramedics. I looked around. Ambulance. This was the reality. Pain, and blood, and the tunnel tugged at me saying, "You can come… You really can. You don't have to be here for this."
I looked at Jeremiah. I barely knew him, and he was a doctor. I probably could be anyone to him. I felt the strong pull of the music and peace and acceptance.
He shot a look at something near me, and his color flared to bright orange and streaked with gray for a moment. "Johnna, stay here. Stay here with me." He smiled, and rubbed my cheek.
"We're losing her again," someone said.
I felt his mouth against my forehead, and I opened my eyes and smiled at him. "Please, stay," he said, and he really seemed to mean it.
"That's better," one of the men said.
My body was pushing against me and the tunnel was pulling, but I was trying to stay.
"No. Stay here, Johnna. Stay with me," Jeremiah said.
"I'm trying," I whispered, but the mask grabbed it and held it. I stayed looking at his eyes as he rubbed my cheek.
"We're almost there, I think" he said. "You're doing really well. Just stay here okay," and he kissed my head again. The doors to the ambulance opened, and I was pulled out and away.
Then, I was sitting in the tunnel again, and I saw myself wheeled into an Operating Room. People were shouting, and I felt a jolt of electricity go through me, and I frowned down at the table I was lying on. That was really mean. I looked at both ends of the tunnel thoughtfully. They did it again. Alright, decision time… Stop with the buzzer already. I get it. I looked at both ends, and wondered how a single person I'd known less than an hour had managed to actually make this choice difficult. I'd felt so hopeless, and I would have sprinted down the tunnel before he came. Instead, I was sitting here while my body kept getting hit with paddles shooting lightning. I sighed. "Well… I'll get a second try at the other way later.” I pushed against the bubble until I fell through, but went to sleep instead of opening my eyes.