Roger suddenly noticed that a crowd was approaching staring wide eyed at the spectacle. A group of churchgoers in their Sunday best were chattering on all sides, descending the steps that led to the church doors. The shock of seeing the man combust before him had left Roger with a dull paralyzing emptiness that was thrown off as the group neared. He thought immediately of Cassandra Diamond and the similarities, the eyes she described were different how close he had come to her predicament. The man’s name was Ben. The beginnings of the shakes returned and with it the paralyses left and he began brushing at his clothing putting out the imaginary fire. It wasn’t until that moment that Roger realized he was lying on the sidewalk.
Several patrons of the church were bent over looking at the two bodies on the sidewalk in a mixture of horror and astonishment.
“Lord, Chile, did you see that?” a mahogany woman began
“He just burnt up like a sacramental candle, he did,” Roger felt arms tugging at him pulling him up. “You ok, mister? My, but your face is glowin like you done met the lord Jesus hisself.”
Roger felt embraced into the hefty bosom of a charcoal lady; big chocolate eyes smiled down upon him, asking if he was alright. He felt warmth from the embrace; looking at her face he saw the lines of hardship upon the cheeks, a small scar above the eyebrow, and the crow’s feet about the eyes. As he lulled into the pillows of her talc bosom, Roger felt a warmth he had not encountered in years, a feeling of comfort and security. She held his gaze for another moment then heaved him up with one tug, checking him with both hands holding his shoulder, up in the air, her eyes holding his.
“The Lord sure do look over you,” she smiled and it was nice. “Seems as if you alright,” Roger thanked her for her kindness stick to the shadows the nausea creeping up again. He heard the sirens approaching this would not look good caught his balance and thanked her again stick to the shadows, moving through the crowd like a celebrity on the red carpet.
“Ok, I’ll stick to the damn shadows”, the sun had risen over the skyscrapers of east LA.
“No son, you’s supposed to go to the light.” Her farewell parting, but even years later, Roger would never forget the smiling eyes or the comfort he felt in her bosom. And thinking that walking to the light was an excellent idea, Roger walked brightly toward the neon lit liquor sign.