In Remembrance of Those who’ve Passed before Us
Ahhhh…. October. The Month of Spirits. A piece I wrote in 2003 that I love to share each year at this time.
1973 in my wooden twin bed, I’d drift off to sleep. The kind of sleep, that reaches in real deep. Down, down, down I’d go. Drowning out alcohol-reeked hollering heard from the first floor below. In the depth of my slumber, my sleepy soul would awaken. Eyes wide open and full of wonder. My spirit gradually lifts away from my body. Looking down over my cocoon, I’d hover above playfully.
No need to use the door. I’d float right through the roof. And, sometimes I’d soar through the window or down the second floor staircase. Most times, punching through wooden walls of the old house my family and I lived in.
That night, I’d attempt to fly past one more street block, than I’d done the night before. But, remember our promise to meet. I swooped around in lightning speed, racing to the voice of the spirit guide calling me. No matter the route I chose each night, I’d always arrive at the same spot beside you. In my backyard we’d meet, on a round concrete picnic table with matching concrete seats. Another visit the reason unknown to me?
Mostly, we’d sit in silence barely moving – feeling the breeze blow through us like leaves, taking with it each unsure feeling, of the havoc of my waken life. I’d watch as you sit so quiet and sullen, amazed how you comforted me with your silence. We’d look up to the sky and watch the tree branches swaying back and forth, and we’d smile at the simplest things…..a bird flying by or the rustle of the trees. I remember you speaking from time to time, but I don’t remember the words.
As I looked down at my worn, hand-me-down pajamas, which were a size too small and missing a button, fourth one down, I noticed your clothes were so different than mine. You wore a plain, white, long, ankle-skirt wrapped by a white apron with occasional stains on it. Your beige colored blouse with faded flowers was button-down with a scalloped collar. You wore a bonnet, with pencil twisted white locks peeking out from underneath.
As you’d cradle my small hand in yours, I’d see all the wrinkles and feel how your hands shake. And, as you smile, your thin, small lips stay pressed tightly in between a very long nose and pointy chin. I wondered if you had grandkids of your own. I’d ask, “How old are you anyway? 90 or 100?” I tell you my birthday is next week – “I’ll be seven. I won’t have a party, but you can come anyway.”
When it was time to go you’d simply nod your head. Hesitantly, I’d traipse quickly forward, until up in the air I’d float. Back to my room, into my body, asleep for the rest of the night.
I still don’t know who you were or why I felt no fear. I never questioned or asked why you were here. I simply awaited each night, for a visit from my spirit guide who comforted my 6 year-old self.
Happy Halloween y Feliz Día de los Muertos.