The Vanished Drop Cafe - The Darkness Falling
For days and nights Saint Nicholas remained locked in his room in the basement.Â Other than asking Saint Jude to keep things running in the guesthouse, he refused to answer all knocks on the door by the residents.Â He did slip away on his black motorcycle at dawn on the day of the funeral of Mongrel and his beloved wife, That Bitch.Â He went for a long ride before joining the 60 or so God's Hitmen Motorcycle Club riders in the procession behind the hearse.Â It went to the very cemetery where Priscilla Smyth-Brown was buried.Â Because of his close friendship with Mongrel and She Who Once Commanded, he was asked to deliver the main eulogy.
The mourners ignored the heavy police contingent of armed officers, discretely posted but overlooking the funeral ceremony beside the grave.Â They were unnecessary, for the Hitmen now had no outlaw rivals.Â There was also a stranger present, unknown to club members but vouched for by a nod of acknowledgment from Saint Nicholas.Â It was Saint Jude, the patron for lost causes, and he'd read about the funeral in a newspaper.Â He stood shoulder to shoulder with his colleague until it was time for Saint Nicholas to speak.
"There is nothing more to say," he began in a husky voice, over the two coffins waiting to be lowered into the same grave.Â "Other than you were my dearest friends, and I loved you so.Â I will miss you until the stars have forgotten how to shine, until the sun can no longer remember how to rise.Â And far beyond even then.
"Yet when I see the rainbow glowing, and the dew sparkling on a spider's web in the early morning, I will remember the smiles of you.Â When I feel the mist and the wind upon my face as I flow down long, running roads, I shall remember the freedom blowing in your souls.Â When I hear a babbling brook, I will once again hear your laughter.Â When I smell the forest, I will catch the scent of you.Â When I touch a flower, I will touch the truth of you.Â And should I taste heaven's kiss upon my lips, this I will share with you.
"In the dawn's yellow glow and in the violet of the evening twilight, and in all the times between, I will remember you.Â For you were my friends and believed in me.Â I would gladly give all my long yesterdays and trade all the dreaming tomorrows for you to stand here still.Â But this world teaches that it cannot be so.Â It just cannot be so.Â Now there is nothing left for me to say.Â My heart is broken."
And there was not one dry eye among the murderous God's Hitmen or among the hardened police who had thought until now that they had seen and heard it all.
With Saint Jude as pillion on the back of the motorcycle, Saint Nicholas rode back to the guesthouse to once more lock himself away in his room.Â He thought about all that had happened but could not get past the butchery on Christmas Night and on the following day.Â The slaughter had brought the darkness falling to swallow him.Â The only faint light was what he had done just before the funeral â€“ the generous endowment he'd put in place for the two children of his slain friends.
"Nicholas, they'll be looked after," said a familiar voice.
The saint, slumped deep in thought in the beanbag, looked up to see his guardian angel sitting in the rocking chair.
"The friends of Mongrel and Hope will look after the children," she continued.Â "And by all the saints here."
"It's the real name of That Bitch.Â The children will be loved and cared for, Nicholas.Â Believe me!"
"Tell my why all this happened," Saint Nicholas said slowly.Â There was anguish in his voice.Â "I just don't understand it.Â Oh, tell me why!"
"Nicholas, it's the wrong question!Â There is no sane answer to be found in madness.Â That's why it is insane!Â You do not look to find a light in darkness.Â For if the light was there, then there would be no darkness.Â If there is darkness, there is no light to be found."
The saint nodded wearily.Â "But can't you tell me why, anyway?" he asked, with pleading in his voice.
The angel shook her head.Â "It was all madness â€“ pure lunacy!Â But instead of asking why, Nicholas, ask instead, What can I do?Â For you need to be part of the solution and not the problem.Â Ask, then, What is my part?"
"Well, then," he said wearily, "What is my part?
"Your part, Nicholas, is to love in a loveless place.Â Although such may seem to be beyond you, yet it is asked of you; and is asked of all who walk this world driven mad by guilt and hate.Â Refuse to join the insanity â€“ the hate!Â For if you do, you will lose your way completely.Â You are either sane or you are not.Â You cannot be sanely insane!Â You cannot love and hate simultaneously.Â You cannot love one here, and hate another one there.Â If you try, the meaning of love will be lost to you.Â And because love is what you seek, you will wander alone and lost.
"Yet should you feel low or lost; or if slings and arrows of hurt are hurled at you by those who do not believe in you â€“ know that God believes in you, and that He holds your hand.Â He will walk with you, but never into attack.
"Listen well, my dearest Nicholas.Â Never join the battlefield!Â Rise above the slaughter ground.Â Murder is never what your heart really wants.Â Be a lamp that shines through the darkness to give hope to those who wander lost and afraid.Â Offer gentleness to those who tremble or weep; a loving hug so that they may know that they are neither abandoned nor alone.Â This is your task, as it is everyone's.
"Be a peacemaker and not an executioner.Â Offer love â€“ never a crown of thorns.Â Cast no one out, but gather them in.Â The world thirsts for the innocence it believes it threw away, but through murder seeks to wrest it back.Â Such is insane!Â For innocence has been but misplaced, and is regained through the love which is freely given.Â Without condition!Â That, Nicholas, is your task.
"To put it simply in a few words: teach only that You are your heart, and your heart is innocent still.Â Love is what you are.Â That is the truth of you!"
"I can't!" whispered Saint Nicholas.Â "It is beyond me.Â I can't go on!Â I have lost my way.Â And my heart is broken.Â Â I just want to vanish into the darkness that is upon me.Â I want to go home ... to where it is safe and warm with smiles.Â But I don't know where it is or how to find it.Â You do.Â Please, just take me home."
The angel shook her head.Â "Not yet, dearest Nicholas.Â Not yet!Â Try just once more to be a light for those whose hearts are more shattered than yours.Â In this lies healing and meaning.Â Nicholas, you still have so much left to give."
"No," the saint replied in a drained voice.Â "I've given nothing at all."Â He sighed.Â "And I have nothing left to give!"
The angel sighed.Â "Nicholas, on the morrow, just go for a long ride on your motorbike.Â It will be no coincidence for you to arrive at a cafÃ© to which you have never been before.Â There you will meet a man, and he just might be the spark to rekindle your lamp.Â But if you must, go there merely for a coffee.Â The outing should do you good.Â If afterwards everything still remains too much for you, I will meet you at the cafÃ© after that.Â Then I will show you what your heart craves."
The saint nodded in agreement.Â His eyes closed and he fell into an exhausted sleep.
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes