I hurry along the narrow sidewalk in the direction of the bus stop, head bowed against the light drizzle slowly rendering my eyeglasses opaque. My body knows these streets; I could walk them backwards and blindly.
I’m leaving home to go to a place I call home.
The heels of my patent leather boots announce a resounding click-click-click-click against the wet asphalt to anyone who will listen, mimicking the incessant tick-tock-tick-tock of a timepiece obnoxiously counting down the measurement of one’s life until it ends.
Hers ended unexpectedly.
So did hers.
[second picture here]
I’ve been in four different time zones in three short months:
- the humid, slow, stickyness of Florida
- and the clear, crisp chill of North Carolina’s mountains
- and the overcast, cramped dreariness of England
- and the familiar smell of stale beer and day-old piss that welcomes me in Berlin.
I’ve rushed through these moments in time in a halting fashion: either doing three things at once or being so utterly, entirely engrossed in a single moment that it erases both past and present to leave me in complete…
… what’s that word again? When the senses are so overwhelmed that words can describe not the situation nor the feeling?
When viewed from afar, I look like a goat nimbly jumping from boulder to branch to outcropping, narrowly though deftly navigating a way forward as the world crumbles around me.
I learned of my aunt’s passing approximately twelve minutes before rushing off to return a rental car and board a transatlantic flight. The news came gracefully, however: my mother called me and I called back when I had finished driving. I cried on my cousin’s shoulder and was able to hug his family goodbye one more time, more fiercely now than the flippant see-you-laters I normally part with when bouncing from city to city.
Erika’s death, in contrast, came to me via Facebook Messenger time zones away. I did the math and prayed during the funeral service, at least during the time at which it was being held across the ocean. I pictured the casual sunshine and inviting warmth of Orlando, its stark contrast almost insulting to the ones gathering to mourn the passing of a life too young.
She was so alive, so filled with promise. She had opened her heart and her voice to us during fireside chats and jam sessions on the front porch. I had watched her whilst cooking, planting seeds, stealing her boyfriend’s beer and then laughing as she avoided his gaze…. She had just embarked on a journey to find herself, so it seemed to me, and change her life’s direction.
And that’s how quickly it happens. One minute we’re gathering, growing, playing and preparing our next steps. Then after a brief glance away – just a slight turn of the head – she’s gone. It’s uncanny, tantamount to that ghostly feeling when an appendage is gone but feels like it’s still there.
It feels like she’s still there, but she’s not.
It feels like she’s just too busy to answer my calls or hasn’t gotten around to writing back yet.
But she’s not. She’s gone.
So I carry this, this… emotion-too-great-for-words around in my heart, from city to country to continent and it is the reason why I do more listening than speaking. It is the explanation how I can connect so deeply with other hearts that my spoken word can bring them to tears, to laughter, to contemplation and to freedom.
It is beautifully ironic that I learned to kill before I learned how to heal –- I, a woman, one who can bring life into this world with little to no effort. I, a human being with an ego and an arrogance which nag at me incessantly like the click-click-click-click of the heels of my boots against the asphalt of this world.
There are rules to this world, concrete forms and life spelled out in geometric patterns. I can study this code, learn it and translate it and transform it but not more: I do not think I can write my own code; even if it is possible, it might not be allowed.
I remember ever so briefly the teacher of my Reiki teacher. He accurately predicted eight out of eight deaths – only because he was asked, and was paid for his time and was given adequate information.
This man lives in Berlin.
I wonder… shall I visit him? It’s a great honor and privilege to know where he lives and to have his phone number to contact him directly.
I wonder if I can learn more from this man, if he can help me to more deeply understand.
There are so many time zones on this globe, so many doings and such little being that one is often rushed into a belief without question, without hesitation. There is hardly contemplation, only ego-driven sorrow and a feeling of acquiescence.
Yes, that feeling of surrender is a prerequisite. But not acquiescence.
I imagine it’s already too late after the embalming process has been executed. But…. how much time passed after Lazarus’ death until Jesus of Bethlehem / Nazareth brought his old friend back to life? How many hours in the hot, desert sun did Lazarus’ corpse lie without a freezing unit we know of from modern times? Why on earth would anyone even lie about such a story and go so far as to chronicle it in the Bible?
And most importantly of all: Why was Lazarus brought back from the dead and not countless other individuals whose next of kin undoubtedly had valid reason for bring back their loved ones from death’s seemingly irreversible grasp?