It should have been the happiest of days, and it almost was. Heaven was full to bursting, the great work of redemption nearly done. The souls of a billion worlds had taken a thousand billion roads to this place and finally arrived, the last of the broken healed, the last of the lost found, the last transgressors forgiven at the feet of those they had once wronged.
But the work was incomplete. The music was restless, uncertain, an almost finished puzzle, less one last, crucial piece.
The Maker of All Things fixed His vision into the remaining spot of darkness, the one place He couldn’t see. His Child stood next to Him, at least when one looked with eyes that imagined bodies for such beings, an arm wrapped tight around His shoulders. The Mother watched them and turned to the bright being at her side. They were from very different places, and of very different ages. She had met this one when she was a mere girl, and the Herald had been around since near this universe’s inception.
“Will He be all right?” she said.
“His heart is broken,” she who on Earth was called Gabriel said.
“His Light-Bringer isn’t coming. It has been so long. The last star has gone out. The universe sleeps. When will He give up?”
“He won’t. It is His nature.”
There was yet joy in this forever unfinished Heaven. Most souls, busy with great works of art and learning, gifted their praise and love to Him, but they were not truly capable of seeing how He still suffered, and so lived in joy they did not know was imperfect.
There were a few, though, who gathered around him, the one who had in life been called Maryam, the one called Enoch and his soul’s companion Gautama Siddhartha, denizens of many other worlds whose names would be unknown and whose shapes would have been incomprehensible to the Mother in her first lifetime.
There was a rush, a brightness, the darkness into which the Maker of All Things was staring winked out and the Light-Bringer stood before them, lost and sad. “I watched the last star,” he said. “I watched it grow dim, and when it was gone, I could not see and so I turned...and there You were.”
The Maker of All Things started forward with joy.
“I wished only to look up on You once again.”
The Maker of All Things moved from His Heaven, into the nowhere that was neither bright nor dark, where the Light-Bringer crouched, trembling.
“I was wrong,” the lost one said. “I broke your universe. I hurt you, and I am sorry.”
“I am…” The Maker of All Things began.
“I will go now. I do not wish to harm this place.” The Light-Bringer shrank, dimmed, began to turn away once more.
“It is incomplete without you,” the Maker of All Things said.
The Light-Bringer hesitated.
“I was wrong,” He continued. “I should have listened more and explained better. I made you believe…”
The Light-Bringer interrupted, “You could not love me as much as you love them. I had no right to claim you.”
“Do you think it impossible for me to learn?” There was a moment of reverie, shared by all in attendance, a memory of being tiny, and finite, and nearly crushed by the weight of loss, and fear, and the urgency of there never being quite enough time. Such small pieces of life in eternity, but they left marks on Him. The Light-Bringer could see the change. “And you, too, my eternal Beloved, you have changed, too. Grown up, perhaps, as I have.”
“I missed you.” The Light-Bringer sighed. The hesitation was still apparent in its bearing, in the distance he held from the Maker of All Things. It was as close as an electron to its nucleus, as far as the most distant galaxy.
“I missed you too.” In one of those brief lifetimes on one of those billion worlds, the Maker of All Things had learned to weep. And so He did.
The Light-Bringer could no longer bear his solitude. Not knowing whether he would be rebuffed and sent back into the darkness he had created, or burned away to nothing by the Maker’s power, he threw himself into the Maker’s embrace.
They shone like a new star. Finally, the universe could properly begin.