THE GATE: From the Notebook Files of Gloria Esquerra



          There’s a timeless field full of beautiful flowers. Yellow and blue flowers dominate the land. Wooden benches have chosen spots in the field. People walk among the flowers. Some sit to converse, some read, others play, or stroll the beautiful field. A smile brightens every face. They bask in the warm happiness of the sun. No one picks the beautiful flowers. They are to be enjoyed and pampered. The field waits to welcome souls.


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          Adjacent to the beautiful field is another endless field. It abounds with wildlife and beloved pets long gone and those recently passed. They leap in youthful playfulness among the trees and on gentle sloping land. A clear stream runs through this field and in it waterfowl float like pretty sailboats. The field waits to welcome souls.


          In the far distance another field waits, an immense field. A thick, suffocating mist shields it from the cleansing sun. Indistinguishable shapes are there. There is movement in the dark field. Shadowy figures roam. Some come close to the beautiful land but are unable to cross over. An invisible barrier must block entrance. The darkened field waits to welcome souls. 


          A gate, one wooden unpainted gate, stands between the fields like a sentry. It swings open but only in one direction. And when it opens for a soul to enter, desperate voices and pitiful moans call out but the souls in the beautiful field are oblivious to them. A white pebbled pathway cuts through the beautiful field and ends at the gate. No observable barrier can be seen, and yet one exists.


          I stood at the beginning of the white pebbled pathway and watched a man, my father, approach the wooden gate. It opened to my father, and though he struggled against entry and pleadingly cried out my mother’s name – she sat on a faraway bench, smiling as she ran a gentle hand over the delicate head of a little dark-haired boy – he could not remain in the beautiful field. If it were not for Shongo, my guardian and beloved German shepherd canine, I would not have stayed to watch the scene. The gate closed behind my father. He was a diabolical man, an abusive man who savagely beat his wife and young son to death in front of their daughter. He had no remorse. It was her fault, he told the court. She had caused him to do it.


          The gate is closed. The execution is over. The vision is gone. I am safe now.


***In the last years of Mama’s life, she often had dreams of my dad (who was a good man, by the way) standing in the middle of an alfalfa field, waving to her to come to him. He had passed away a few years prior to her own death. Alfalfa produces clusters of blue-violet flowers, FYI. I thought of her dreams when I jotted it down. I had originally titled it “Three Fields.”