Brooke and Blake study a snapshot of a page from Jack’s journal on a monitor while the sleeping-and-dreaming Jack is shown on the upper-left monitor. Delightful dream blips pop and fade around his head, mostly involving a tall, beautiful, joy-filled woman:
She disappears into a forest, then reappears on a beach. She disappears into the ocean amidst a pod of dolphins, then reappears on a tiny island, but then she dives into the waves. She passes by him in her car, then disappears down the freeway. She dashes across a sun-dappled meadow, then disappears into the shadows at the far edge of the field. He calls to her and is overjoyed to see her reappear from the shadows.
“Alright,” Blake says to his protégé. “He’s clearly convinced he’s going to meet her any moment after his release. You take on this part of this ball game. Go ahead, hit it right on out of the ballpark.”
“So,” Brooke announces to the rest of the group, “he’s getting out of prison soon and he wants a wife. Not just any wife—he has a list of forty things there.”
“Forty!” Sapphire frowns. “No one ever makes a list of forty qualities in a mate. That’d be impossible.”
“Nothing’s impossible,” Blake reminds her.
“Possible for us, maybe,” Sapphire groans. “We’re angels.” She points to the sleeping Jack as bits of his dreams continue to show up on the monitor. “This one’s another story.”
“The qualities on the list are about one-third physical, one-third emotional and intellectual, and one-third spiritual,” Brooke continues. “And he’s crystal, crystal clear about it all. Plus, he’s willing to wait for the whole enchilada, even until the next lifetime if he has to. But his work and healing show he’s ready for her now. So now the question is, how are we going to find someone who fits all those things?”
Christopher reads each quality on the list aloud and types it into his computer. “Long hair. Beautiful. Intelligent. At peace with her world. Conscious. Has done her work. Not too fussy, is he?” Christopher starts to enter the next requisite attribute but stops. “Six feet tall. Is he over six feet tall? I guess he is, now that he’s standing up straight.” He finishes entering the information on his laptop and presses the return key.
As the new information appears on the screen, Blake studies it carefully. “Well,” he says, “it looks like there’s a woman in Idaho who matches every one of these things. Only one problem.”
“What’s that?” Brooke asks.
“Married! That’s obviously not going to work.” Brooke pauses for a moment. “Well, how married?”
Blake studies the screen. “Hmmmm, a tiny, tiny spark of love is still there, but the two are no longer a suitable team. They’re not on each other’s ballpark, I mean wavelength, and not interested in the same game anymore. At all.”
“Where are her angels?” Brooke asks. “Let’s talk to them.”
Christopher punches more information into the computer. Blake reads the results and then stands up, looking over his shoulder. “They’re right over there.”
Brooke follows the direction his finger is pointing. “Right over there” in such an enormous hall in this case equals about two football fields in Earth terms. When Brooke finally sees the cubicle he’s pointing out, she finds herself looking at an empty desk.
“She must be a night owl, too.”
At the sound of footsteps on the stairs, Emily turns away from the door and pretends to be asleep. Sam crawls into bed and, after a moment, taps her on the shoulder. Emily ignores him and continues to pretend she’s asleep. At this point, since both of them know, it’s not really pretending; it’s out-and-out dissing.
A few moments later, Emily hears a snore. Sam’s angels disappear to the great office in the sky. Emily looks at the clock: 12:12. She rolls onto her back and stares at the ceiling.
Emily looks at the clock again: 2:22. She continues her concentrated study of the ceiling, made possible by a waning gibbous moon shining through the bedroom window. Stephanie computes, Jasper whispers, and Angela watches David pace.
“Emily,” David pleads, “you have to—” He turns to Angela. “Oh, I’ve said it all ten thousand times before. I’m not even exaggerating about the number.”
“I know you’re not, but say it again,” Angela says. “Time number ten thousand and one might be the time that she hears it.”
David stands over Emily, positioning his head between her and the ceiling. Her eyes would be looking at his if she could see him. “You,” he says to her, “are here to do really great things. You do them sometimes—in your dreams. It’s not like you have to win the Nobel Peace Prize or anything like that, but you could devote your life to your own version of greatness, the greatest you there could be.”
A tear rolls down Emily’s cheek. David could swear she saw him, for just an instant; he and Angela exchange glances. Emily holds out her hand to the semi-darkness—that’s only the second time she’s done that, and it’s the first in many years. David takes her hand and lowers his cheek to it. Emily smiles through her tears. David tries to catch a tear as it slips down her face, but of course it passes through his finger. When he examines his finger, though, he could swear it was ever so slightly damp.
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