“Good Morning,” the clerk at the desk said and he smiled warmly.
“Hi, I mean, good morning, where am I?” She moved forward a little, feeling strange in a strange kind of way.
“This is processing,” he replied and continued, “just for the record, name?”
“We have no one of that name for today, is that your name?” He frowned as he spoke, put down his pen and looked up burning the insides of her own eyes.
“Well it’s the name I go by, everyone knows me by that name and I guy I once met on Dursey Island he sculpted a jade willow, just for me,” smiling wistfully of times gone by.
“This is processing, it is for your own protection, we must have your baptismal names, what is your full name?”
“Where am I again? ‘Processing,’ what does that even mean? And why protection? Seriously, you seem like a really nice guy, love the glasses by the way, real funky, but, what is the bigger place, outside of processing?”
The clerk coughed, and touched his glasses. A little blush appeared on his cheeks, he coughed again. “I need a little water, could you wait in there?” He pointed to a door with the words, Waiting Room carved into the wood.
Jade put her fingers into the carving, thinking of her husband and his skilful hands. This workmanship was on par with his. Lovely she thought and opened the door. A man in a suit stood to attention, “good morning, ma’am, how may I assist you this morning? We have fruit, infusions, tea, coffee. Although the tea’s not up to much.”
“Where are you from? Is that a Cork accent?”
“Why yes, ma’am, I was born in Cork City just below the Shandon Bells.”
“Could I have a coffee, just black with three spoons of sugar please.”
She looked around the room, comfy sofa, pretty pictures, a small table with flowers. Just like any waiting room anywhere, except something was different. She sat down in the sofa, it seemed to engulf her in the most beautiful hug and she sighed, a sigh of peace. Well whatever this is, it is very nice, she thought.
She chatted to the guy, got his life story, told him where he had gone wrong and what he should have done, the way she always would with anyone. She never understood that; why people didn’t heed her wisdom.
A buzzer sounded.
“That’s for you.”
Okay, thanks and she got up out of the sofa. Well she tried but halfway through the easy movement she realised and that changed everything.
In the office, the clerk had been joined by another.
“This is the woman.”
“Please take a seat,” the second clerk said. Again there was a genuine smile.
I like this place, she thought.
“Now, full name for the records,” clerk number two asked.
“Is that the name you were born with?”
“No, my married name.”
“Is that the name you were baptised?”
“No but I don’t go by that name anymore”
“I’m sorry, miss, I mean ma’am, we cannot allow you past processing without your baptismal name and birth surname. It isn’t allowed. We have rules, data protection laws. We must follow protocol, it is for your own protection.”
Jade sat up straight, breathed in deeply and spoke, “Listen mateys, my body got up out of a sofa, it walked in here, I have two feet, two legs. I know where I lost them. There was a car accident three years ago and I have been using a wheelchair ever since. But I walked in here. I know where I am. You can call it processing if you want. But I know your boss and he knows me. He knows me as Jade Willow, he knows my name because he whispered it to me when I asked him to be my boss. When he held me as I rested in his arms, he knew who he was holding. So take your data and stuff it. Is that the door I go through? Right!”
“Yes,” clerk number one answered.
Jade Willow opened the door and entered into the arms of her Lord.