Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Stranger at the End of the Bed

It seems that my friend had left our hometown to move to the Big City and attend a progressive performing arts high school only to fall in with an... interesting crowd.

Left to their own open minded devices they were experimenting. Developing the power of their minds as they developed their creativity in an anything goes environment. I don't know the details, I was not there; but at the time she told me about someone called "the traveler". It seems it was the traveler that came and stood next to my bed after being told to go and "see" me.

Astral travel or an out of body experience can be induced from a deep state of meditation. There are any number of vehicles or tools that you can use to get out of your body; hypnotism, meditation, trance inducing music. In this case he was a scrying. Using a mirror to effectively turn on the psychic awareness we all have, but comes easier to some more than others.

I imagine it was scary and unnerving to have someone describe a room and a person she knew so well. My feeling is that this was the disturbance I felt from her. If you are of my generation you probably understand when I say that "I felt a disturbance in the Force". She and I are connected. Through time and space it seems. We still have these moments of inter-connectivity living on opposite coasts and in very different lives.

It's weird. After all of these years, every time it happens that is the first thing I think. Wow, that's weird.

This traveler in my bedroom had brought us back together again and started a chain reaction of events that continues to this day in both of our lives. I just realized as I am typing this that when I actually met this mystical traveler in the flesh, our positions would be reversed and it would be me standing over him asleep in his bed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

Like all gothic novels, my story wouldn't be complete or even half as interesting without my alter ego. My foil. The strange character that you never really quite figure out if they are real... or another manifestation of the protagonists mind... The Tyler Durden character.

I met mine when we were very young children. Our roles were established almost from day one. She was the risk taker and the extrovert. I covered for her and egged her on. We were the same age, same stature, same artistically dramatic flair. Many times over the years we successfully posed as sisters to the unknowing. We may decide to do it again sometime.

Our relationship was tumultuous from the beginning as our mothers were close friends. I was compared to her, she felt like she was competing with me.

The crux of this story happens during our teenage years. At some point between 9th and 10th grades we had a falling out. My interpretation is that our competitive natures and teenage girl hormones got the best of us. We stopped talking almost entirely which left a staggering void in my life. We had been nearly inseparable.

She was accepted into a High School of the Performing Arts in a Southern city I had never heard of and went to live there and finish out high school. I was frankly glad that she was gone. I imagine that most people don't know what it's like to live life with a living alter ego... the competition was brutal.

I continued a blissfully singular life on my own after that. I got reports through the Mother-vine that she was living the life she'd been dreaming about; performing and experimenting and partying.

I had an odd experience while sleeping one night. I "dreamed" that I woke up and was frozen in place, unable to move. At that time I didn't know much about lucid dreaming, but now I know that must have been the state I was in. I was firmly in my body, but unable to move. Standing at the foot of my bed was a large dark shadowy figure. Not moving or speaking; just standing. I could not see his features or what he was wearing. He was literally a shadow figure.

I wasn't afraid until I realized that I could not move. Then I panicked and "woke up".

It was around this time that I got a stereotypical sense of foreboding. Specifically about her. It was unnerving because I was very glad to be rid of her at the time. I talked to my Mom about the feeling and she encouraged me to write her a letter explaining that I was worrying about her...

I did indeed write that letter. It began "It's me. Don't be too surprised." I put it in the mail on a Friday afternoon.

On Monday I was coming home from school with my dear friend Sara who is endlessly silly and sweet. I mentioned that I had sent the letter and expressed some regret and worry that it wouldn't be well received on the other end. I walked into my house and into the dining room where I met my mother with an odd look on her face holding out an envelope.

It had come from her to me. Sent on the same day. The same opening line, written in her crazy handwriting... "Don't be too surprised it's me!!"

To be continued in The Stranger At the Foot of My Bed...

(photograph by Richard X. Thripp)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Man on the Train

Inspired by Shift Your Spirits I am going to try and put some of my more interesting experiences into a series of posts...

I was in New York City in the Spring 1989. I do not know who I was with or why I ended up there but I was on a subway train.

At the moment our train stopped in a station that I do not remember the name of the train doors opened and across the platform, in another train with their train doors open was a man. He was young. Approximately my age or a few years older; early twenties. He wore a trench coat and sat on a bench mirroring my position on my own bench.

We locked gazes and I had a stunning jolt of recognition.

The trains doors shut and my life resumed. I spent the entire next week searching for him in crowds. I looked into the faces of every person I passed on the street. That search is almost the only thing I remember about that trip to New York. Searching and searching for that man that I just knew that I knew.

That memory of the phantom man on the train has persisted... One of the odd things about myself that most people don't know about me. I often wondered if he was indeed a real person, a ghost... an angel? Was I supposed to see him? Or was it an accident? I don't believe in accidents... 

I know that at the time I thought perhaps it was John who I had met the summer before for only 15 minutes but had been exchanging letters with and felt a deep spiritual connection to. 13 years later John and I would get married...

(the photograph is London's Barking Cross station from a Wapedia article about cross platform interchange)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What Do You Give Up For Lent?

Lent, the somber season between Ash Wednesday and Easter is the time to reflect on Christ's sacrifice and our own sacrifices that ultimately make us better people. Catholic's all over the world celebrate Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent as their last big indulgence before entering the Lenten season and giving something up as their own personal sacrifice.

Growing up it meant that all my friends gave up something like, chocolate, soda, or candy for Lent. In our house my Mom tried to get us to into the habit of not eating meat on Fridays. Best of all went to Saint Al's for fish fry's...

This year I'm trying to find something to give up that is actually do-able. It will be hard but it has to something that is actually in the realm of possibility because I will feel terrible if I pledge to give up something and then am totally unable to follow through....

Any ideas?? I have a week....

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ghostie Ghostie

One o'clock the ghost aint here...

Ghostie Ghostie
We had a neighborhood full of kids when I was growing up. I was the littlest. If I was really lucky the older kids would allow me to join in on their games. It may have actually been called Ghost in the Graveyard, but I was a lot littler and Ghostie Ghostie is how my brain processed it between the ages of 5 and 10.

The Justins lived directly across the street and the Conways lived next to them. Both families had about 6 kids each so they dominated the game decisions.

Ghostie Ghostie was played at or in the hour surrounding dusk using the Conways front porch as "base".

From the front steps we chanted "one o'clock the ghost aint here..." and on and on building the tension until we got to Midnight and "the ghost IS here!".

A that point we would shriek as loudly as we could and then try to run all the way around the house and make it back to base without the "ghost" (the person who was It) tagging us.

I absolutely loved this game and was terrified of it at the same time.

I liked it much better than Kick The Can because no one ever got hurt and for some reason when our neighborhood played the can game; someone got hurt. Much like the Pom Pom game that the big kids played at the ice skating pond, I avoided Kick the Can.

I love the memories I have of sitting on the porch steps with the big kids and being allowed to be part of the action. I wonder if they remember that they ever let me play... because it's permanently etched into the mythology of my childhood.