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I can remember odd things about that night as Joe drove me home. I remember we drove past this store on Telegraph Road that had all the big display windows painted over with whitewash with a big red sign in front that said CLOSED--OUT OF BUSINESS. I remember seeing this girl that was standing at a bus stop with a bunch of other people, and she was standing apart from them a little in a yellow dress. She was standing there, at a bus stop in front of the parking lot to a shopping mall, and she had red polish on her fingernails. We passed an old tree, near to where I live, that had been struck with lightning. It was in someone's front yard, and it was all bent over and snapped with white wood sticking out. All of its leaves were yellow-looking in our headlights, yellow and curling up brown at the edges.
All of these things, and all that I saw, had the night cooling around it, and I believe that the world is big and round, and then sometimes when it is night in the summer, heaven flows down like cool air and rests on the ground of the world. If the sky is clear enough and the day was hot, the wind will come up around sunset so soft it's like touching the shoulders of a girl, and that's when heaven comes down and rests in the grass, blowing in the trees, blowing over dresses and shirts and through our hair -- so soft, so soft -- and that's when you might cry if you are by yourself when the night comes deeply, whispering to only you, and you know that you are so far away. So far away. Something is hitting like a hammer on your heart, and you cannot speak but your heart is breaking, and could it really be only the sound of that train whistle that is making you cry like that? So on those nights you send all your love out of you, letting it go out of you with tears, sending it out an open window where it floats up into the night-blue sky without no ceiling, and you wonder all about it. Where does it go? Why? Why?
That is how a lot of people spend their summer nights of heaven. I know -- I know I have this big present of love, but why do I have to hold it? Yes, oh yes, my love is floating, and I have let it go out singing with all my heart, but how long do I have to walk over the circle of the world before I can look at someone and speak to them? Will it be ever that someone hears my voice?
More people have died than you will ever know, with loving husband, beloved son and daughter, loving brothers and sisters written on their gravestones, and more people are living tonight than you will ever know, and all of them have been lonely and have sent their heart's broken love up into the sky way out further than the stars can shine. Then, on those summer nights, that is the heaven that comes down, and you can hear it whispering something to you. Only for you.
I could hear it that night. I could hear its voice in everything I saw.
-- from "No Ceiling But Heaven" by Mykal M. Banta