Nightmare Number Unknown

As I descended the hall I could see that my form had started to ebb away into transparency. My skin and hair were lighter, mistier and I moved with the wispy edges of vapor swirling into nothingness. I rounded the corner and unemotionally observed my dead body lying on the sofa in the front room. My long coffee colored hair was streaming over one of the accent pillows and my tawny eyes were glazed over. When he had strangled my life away, my skin had turned a garish purple, but my features were still easily recognizable as my own. As full as my corpse was of unnatural color, he was a pale gleaming white.

He tossed a phone toward my spirit body. To my surprise I caught it, the last link between him and that into which he had transformed me in death.

“Dial it,” he snarled. I started to protest, raising an ethereal eyebrow at him. Spirits could not dial telephones. But before I had the opportunity to explain, I closed my eyes as I felt myself begin to fade further. Moments later I was free.

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Things That Need To Be Said

I had these thoughts floating around in my mind, things I wish I could say to my younger self or anyone who needs encouragement. We all have a journey and maybe it starts today. Maybe it started a while ago and you are just discovering it now.

You are powerful. You are a blessing. God made you with purpose. No one is insignificant; everyone is worth knowing. Don’t be hesitant to learn from one another. Never deem anyone unworthy of teaching you what they know or have experienced. People of all ages have wisdom and a story, and you can learn so much if you will only listen.

Never start a habit that you can’t break. It might seen fine for a moment, but how will it affect you in twenty years? Twenty years pass much more quickly than you may expect. You will be the same person then whom you are now, give or take a little wisdom and humbling. On that note, always be humble. There’s always going to be someone who has more or does more than you, but there will also be those who have and do much less. Be humble and merciful. Live each day with a heart open to give and receive.

Do not be quick to trust everyone with seemingly good intentions if they have let their authority or power, be it real or imagined, corrupt their advice. At the same time, trust in the goodness of people. Look for innocence in the eyes of animals and children, and you will notice it elsewhere, too.

Make your own decisions. No one can live your life for you or decide what is right for someone else. Pray instead. The One Who made you knows much more than any person. Reject shame. It has no purpose. Dream. It’s fine to start something you might not finish because you at least have tried, where so many never get past wishing to start. But once you start, determine to finish. Just give yourself permission to revise, revise, revise. Be concrete in your convictions but elastic in improvisation. Read the map. Ask for directions. Follow your instincts as long as they are not corrupted by guilt or the unhelpful words of other people. If something seems impossible, perhaps that’s even more reason to do it.

You deserve to be comfortable and blessed. You deserve to know that if you turn the wrong direction, there is still an open invitation to turn back to the correct path. It is never too late.

A Mutual Gift

The saying informs us to keep one’s friends close and enemies closer. She had one friend and one enemy. The latter lived one floor above her in the crazy brownstone they call home. On the other hand, the friend she had was great, the most loyal and caring ally for which one could hope. In short, she had everything. And yet there was a deep place in the recesses of her heart where she had nothing. It was a decent parallel, she supposed, to the friend and enemy balance.

She had no past. As if by design, she was an enigma. Faint mentions of a shade of a something, floating through the air like the phosphorescent cloud that it was colored in the details that could satisfy most curious minds. Her background in music and theater, dance and writing. How she was born in a better place but exiled. How she was born healthy but was taken down systematically, as if reduced to ashes. However, out of the ashes, a new person had risen like a phoenix. She was a person of the moment without much to hold her to any singular time or place. She was ageless. Young, very young, while older than expected.

Those who were accepting would be loved forever. They literally had no idea how much it touched her, running deeply into the seat of her soul that she was not an outsider among them. They had not even seen her, so she decided to finally show herself to them.
The elegant building, more art installation than brick and mortar, was crowded that night with men and women in fine dresses and suits hovering about, the tinkling of their champagne glasses mingling with the ubiquitous hum of conversation. At one table they sat, not expecting anyone who had not appeared on the guest list to join them. But then there was a brief break in the buzzing as they turned to see a lone figure walking away from the entrance and toward the tables. One of them murmured that the stranger’s dress was hauntingly familiar, the kind of question that lingers without resolution. It was a black skater minidress with a nearly open back, daring yet fitting the glamour of the night. The figure walked in smooth steps, nothing halting or hitching, causing the spectators to draw their eyes downwards to her feet, where one might expect to see a dramatic pair of stilettos. Instead, she wore a pair of soft leather flats in bright fuchsia. Turning toward the bar, she nodded slightly toward the watching table.

They began to talk at once, not unkindly but curiously. Where had they seen her before? Why was it that in her steady gaze, they imagined themselves looking into the eyes of someone so achingly familiar? What was it that drew them to her? They began to sense something calming, peaceful and enthusiastic in their midst, and there was no denying that it was because of her.

But like the phosphorescent light, she was gone.

She was undoubtedly satisfied with being so near, yet so far. It was a mutual gift. Were she made of flesh and bone instead of unfulfilled wishes, she could have joined them at the table. But she was not. She was formulated from heartbreak leading to a counterintuitive sort of freedom, the gleeful futility of someone with nothing left to lose. With nothing on the line, it was easy to enjoy.

One Day I Stopped

I’ve been cool with you.

When I danced with the first man with whom I fell thoroughly and what I once thought irrevocably in love, it was unforgettable. I was just eighteen years old. And I wore purple. The color of the morning glories announcing spring.

The sooner you admit it, I will too.

I was wearing a purple ribbed shirt, skinny jeans and flat suede boots, soft and black. With the minor stack heel I was eye to eye with him, just eighteen. Now, if I were in his presence, we wouldn’t be on even ground. Perhaps we never were.

I wish that you would stay now.

I felt him encircle me, his touch was gentle, we swayed like trees in the advance of a hurricane as we danced that day.

You nearly went away now.

We had three years together. Then he spoke my name, left the room and I never saw him again. He took a long time to leave my system. I sought him everywhere, as if he were hiding on the next page of my book, at the bottom of my coffee cup. I learned all the sad songs.

But you, you, you’re walking around.

I dreamt of him, but he never saw my tears.

Lyrics in italics by Camera Obscura; memories by me.