The Orientation

Contributor: Penny Estelle

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There were so many people. Who would have thought this many would show? I made my way through the crowd, listening as friends reminisced about old times and sharing remembered stories.
“Do you remember when…” or “What about that time…” followed by bouts of laughter.
This is how it should be, I thought, chuckling at some story, a little red-faced at others.
Women were dressed in white, pink, red and blue, while men sported kakis, Levis, polos, or sport shirts. I loved it. Just what I had asked for.
I heard a laugh that always made me cringe. Sophie Martin! What was she doing here? Her ass, covered in a tight, magenta spandex skirt, looked like two beach balls, ready to take out anything that got in her way. “She should have done herself a favor and worn the traditional black,” I muttered.
“We do not speak unkindly of others,” a voice boomed behind me.
I practically jumped out of my skin. “Oh Jacob, I didn’t know you were around.”
“I will be…around, until orientation.” Jacob was a distinguished looking gentleman. Thick gray hair and blue eyes that had dulled with age. I had not seen him actually smile. There was a smirk, but that may have been gas.
The grating laugh again. “Well, seriously, look at that ass!”
“Nor do we swear.”
“Well, I don’t know why she’s even here. I couldn’t stand her when I was alive!”
Jacob was gone.
Cindy Murphy, one of my closest friends, was crying as her hubby, Tim, was comforting her. She was pointing to a poster size collage. I looked over her shoulder. Pictures of our Vegas trip. Such a good time. There were pictures of me alone and with friends. “Oh my God,” I yelled. “What the hell?” There I was, at the beach in my bathing suit, looking a lot like Shamu!
I knew he was behind me. I turned to see him across the room. His white linen shirt was tucked into brown cotton pants. His air of arrogance was stifling, not to mention, annoying.
“Okay, I know, but float on over here and look at this picture!”
Jacob leaned in and in that same old emotionless voice said, “Stunning.”
“Yea, that’s the word I’d pick!” I hadn’t lost my sarcasm, even in death.
“It is time for orientation. Please come with me.” Jacob started toward a closed curtain, framed in a brilliant light.
My steps faltered a little. “Jacob, the story goes that when people bite the big one, and the bright light appears, then all’s good with the man upstairs and your ticket up is a go.”
There it was – an actual smile. He said nothing, just pulled the curtain aside, almost blinding me.
I looked at him and then back at my group of friends, remembering nothing but good times. I walked to Jacob, putting my arm through his and said, “Let’s do this!”

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