I know it’s going to happen tonight. All the signs are right. Children off on their own, husband away on business, my two best friends gone on vacations with their families.
I am alone. Finally.
For the past two months I’ve been preparing for this time, not knowing that it would come, but preparing nonetheless.
The sun finally loses its power over gravity and sinks down into the dark rose horizon. The moon floats ahead, but herds of black clouds cover its cheerful shine, darkening the sky and the earth below.
I turn off the lights to the living room, the hallway, then the stairway, and finally my bedroom.
I am swathed in glorious blackness.
I close my eyes, then open them so the room is revealed to me like a developing photo in a dark room. Familiar shapes and shadows relax me.
Then an unfamiliar form floats from the window to the door and stops a few feet away.
“Virginia?” I ask. She nods her head. I see no face, no female body, but still, I know it’s my dear friend of many years, my mentor, dead over 15 years now. I have talked to her so often in my prayers, but never a response.
Now she speaks, though no words fill the room.
We revel in memories of the life we shared, and she laughs heartily. My soul fills with the sound. I have missed it, but now realize that it has always been part of me, and shall remain so.
She answers my personal questions of what lay beyond. I won’t tell you what she says.
Felicity, my cat, creeps into the room, staring at me with her yellow eyes. I’m afraid she may think her mistress has lost her mind, but instead she meows to me. “Why stay here? Take a cat nap and see the world.”
Oh, I suddenly realize; I’ve always been able to go back and forth between worlds. I just don’t nap enough.
I close my eyes, feeling Virginia’s presence close at hand. We soar off through the window panes into the black night. I am so happy my heart balloons twice its size. I see George, then, and grandmama, and, of course, Pauli. They are just as free as me.
We head toward the prism that has suddenly appeared, and just as suddenly we’re in a garden of roses and delphiniums and hydrangeas. The soil is moist and smells like cut grass, starfish, and summer moonlight. Felicity joins us and converses with a butterfly.
“Change is imperative,” the colorful flying insect says wisely.
I wink and find myself back in my dark bedroom, seated Buddha style, petting Felicity in soft gentle strokes. She gazes up at me and says only one word in a long, low purr.
“Sometimes the soul takes pictures of things it has wished for
but never seen.” (Anne Sexton)