Petra's first thought was to check in with her guide, Glenda, to get details about the upcoming Gathering. Of course, you and I know, as well as she did, that the Gathering wasn't the most important thing on her mind, at that moment. Colleen's comment about being escorted to the gathering had her thinking about finding her perfect mate.
As she approached the computer, she was amused to find Izzy staring at the screen and impatiently tapping his foot.
"Oh, did my little buddy get bored, waiting for my return?", she said with a giggle. She scanned the screen and noticed that there were no more possible moves that could be made. "Better luck next time.", she declared, as she pressed the key to close the game.
Glenda's face replaced the game of solitaire. Glenda gave a wink and said, "Girl, you need to change into your white dress. Aaron is on his way to escort you to the Gathering."
"Tell me about this Aaron...", Petra began excitedly, but the screen went blank before she could get the words out. She recovered quickly enough and again addressed her little companion. "Well, it looks like we're going on a blind date, Izzy, but from what I've seen of this place, so far, I'm betting it will be a good one.
Izzy certainly seemed to agree, because he did a little dance and nodded his head, before jumping off the desk and running to the far end of the room. Petra followed him to the chest of drawers and soon found the very item she needed. Feeling a little pressed for time, she decided to excercise a little of the same magic that they had worked on Meg, in the courtyard. She closed her eyes for a moment and when she opened them again, the transformation was complete.
"Do you think they'll like it?", she asked, not expecting an answer. To her surprise, Izzy let out the firsts sounds she had ever heard from her unusual pet.
On hearing this, Petra broke into uncontrolled laughter, a relief from the tension that had been building up in her since her conversation with Colleen.
She was still laughing when she heard a knocking at her door. As she turned in that direction, the double doors opened on their own, revealing the man that she had sensed through the wall. As he stepped into the room, Petra thought she could hear a majestic fanfare playing and whether it came from the pipe organ or her own imagination mattered little, as she felt completely mesmerized by the moment.
"I believe I was expected, my name is Aaron.", he said as he extended his hand in greeting.
"More than I ever expected.", she sighed softly, as she stepped in a little too close for a handshake.
Their eyes met and time stood still. Heaven knows, how long they might have stood there, but Izzy decided it was time to get rolling and let them know it with yet another new sound.
, the sound of a miniature train, pulling out of the station, made Petra and Aaron smile as they followed Izzy out through the door.
"We could just get there in a flash", Aaron explained, "but knowing how you like to hike, I thought we'd take the scenic route. Besides, it will give us some time to get acquainted."
It was hardly neccessary to ask if this was agreeable to Petra. Although our intrepid explorer would normally be found blazing her own trails, it was quite clear that she was enjoying hanging on the arm of her handsome escort. They made their way through the majestic halls and soon pass through an archway leading outside. Petra was stunned by the seemingly endless vista that greeted them.
"It's so big!", she gasped. "It can't possibly all fit inside the structure I entered. Are we still in New Jerusalem?"
" Oh yes", Aaron reasured her, "but time and space don't work quite the same here, as they do on the physical earth we came up from."
" Wait a second", she said, pulling him to a halt. "Glenda said I came here physically, but the others got here by meditating. Does that mean you aren't real? You certainly look and feel pretty physical to me", she said, adding a wink.
" In time", Aaron began, "you will begin to see that the people you meet here, as well as the place itself, are much more REAL than the physical body that I left sitting on the floor of my bedroom, back on earth."
As they walked, Petra noticed that many of the trees along the path had golden leaves. At first, she reasoned that , here in New Jerusalem, it could be all seasons at once. When they passed closer to one, she discovered that the leaves actually were made of pure gold. Now, realizing how much she was enjoying Aarons voice, Petra thought she would toss him a nice hypothetical, philosophical question, to keep him talking.
" I have heard some people say," she began, while using her fingers to dance out the words, on his forearm, "that we are in the physical because we have, in some way, fallen from grace and they think it desirable to leave the physical for good."