The flight through the tunnel was so swift that it seemed almost instantaneous. When he reached his destination David Hassid found himself in a place of indescribable beauty. He had never seen a sky so blue, grass so green, nor flowers such brilliant shades of yellow, orange, pink, and purple. He almost felt as if he were standing inside a painting. Yet this place was very real. He could feel the grass underneath his feet, could smell the fragrance of the flowers, and could hear the singing of the birds.
And he had never felt so alive. His body was in perfect health, and there was no trace of the bullets which had ended his physical life.
A short distance away was a bubbling brook, and on its banks a young girl was feeding ducks from a basket of bread at her feet. Her dark brown hair cascaded down her shoulders. As he approached she turned to look at him. Annie!
Her face registered surprise, then pure happiness. "David!" They rushed toward each other and embraced tightly. As he looked into her eyes he realized that he loved her more than he had ever thought possible. Yet it was a pure, chaste love. All erotic or sexual desire was gone. He puzzled over that for a moment, but was too caught up in the joy of the reunion to dwell on it.
Annie handed him a slice of bread from her basket. "See how the big one tries to hog all the food?"
David held out a piece of bread to one of the smaller ducks, which came right over to him and ate the bread right from his hand.
"They have no fear of us," Annie said. "They know that we will not harm them."
"I missed you so much, Annie," David told her. "More than you can imagine."
"I watched you on earth while you were becoming friends with Hannah Paleface," she told him. "I felt both happy for you and sad at the same time."
"She never would have taken your place, Annie," he told her.
"Remember the plans we had for after the Glorious Appearing?" she asked.
"We were going to get married and have a boy that looked like you and a girl that looked like me," he recalled.
"I so hoped both of us would survive to witness the Glorious Appearing," Annie said.
Both of them were silent for a long time, thinking about all the things that could have been but now could never be. Then David said, "God's will is so much greater than our own. He knows what is best for us, Annie. We just have to keep believing that."
"I know," Annie said. Then he face brightened. "I was just talking to my great times nine grandmother not too long ago. She was a pilgrim who came over on the Mayflower. It's so fascinating to hear what life was like in those days from someone who actually lived them rather than just reading about them in a history book."
"Oh, and I can't wait to meet all those Biblical patriarchs." David felt really eager about that.
"It must be so awesome to know that they are your actual blood relatives," Annie said.
"I've always felt that way," David said. "And to be a blood relative of Jesus Himself, well, that is just too awesome!"
"I can just imagine," Annie said.
After a while she went on, "At the time of the Glorious Appearing there will be many orphans. Children whose parents accepted the Mark of the Beast and so perished. They will need loving homes to be brought up in."
David considered. "You know, Annie, that seems so odd, both people in their natural bodies and people in their glorified bodies living together as one for a thousand years. How do we tell each other apart? What if a man in a natural body falls in love with a woman in a glorified body, or the other way around?"
David and Annie had of course been chaste as they had been commanded to be while they had been in their natural bodies. David thought how as any normal man he had looked forward to his wedding night. Now it was never to be.
"We will just have to trust Him about that," Annie said.
All the bread was gone so they began walking along the shore.
"I think what will be so difficult for me will be getting used to being back on earth again after having been in heaven all this time," Annie said. "Even though God the Father and Jesus will be there with us, it will still be the earth, not heaven."
"All evil and sin will be gone," David said. "It will be just like it was in the garden of Eden before the Fall. Except, of course, with a lot more people."
"I think that I will still be counting down the years until it's time to come back up here for good."
David had to admit that the beauty of Heaven far surpassed even the loveliest places on earth that he had seen.
"We just have to remember that this thousand year period is for a purpose," David reminded her. "There are still many in their natural bodies who were born after the Rapture or are yet to be born during that period. They must have their opportunity to choose between darkness and light."
"How I wish that everyone would choose the light," Annie said wistfully.
"So do I," David said softly. "But it is their choice to make. We can't choose for them." They walked in silence for a while longer, hand in hand.
"There is no night here," Annie said. "Although we are capable of sleep we have no biological need for it. Just as we are capable of eating although we never experience hunger."
"You know what I think would have been fun?" David asked all of a sudden, his face brightening. "I would have loved to have taken you to a malt shop and bought you a burger and fries and milkshake. We could have played doo wop on the juke box and danced with your head on my shoulder."
"Would you like to go there now?" Annie asked.
David was taken aback. "How?"
"We are no longer limited by the dimensions of time and space. We need no cars, trains, boats, or airplanes. All you have to do is close your eyes and imagine it," Annie said. "I have visited many breathtaking places that way."
David did as she suggested, and in a moment he could smell the hamburgers and onion rings cooking in the deep fryer and hear "In the Still of the Night" being played on the jukebox. He opened his eyes and he was sitting in a red-and-white checkered booth with a black-and-white checkered floor. Annie was sitting right across from him, sipping on a root beer float. Her hair was up in a pony tail, and she was wearing a poodle skirt and saddle shoes.
"May I have this dance?" David asked her.