(Yet another) Christmas Story
The lights are down and I am seeing the little blinks of Christmas lights from the nurses station; I know visiting hours are over. The lights are down and I hear snores from the next room. Insomnia sucks.
And yet, there she sits,a Mona Lisa smile, and dressed like a college girl of the 50’s. Enigmatic and silent, yet still there all the same. I’m pretty certain I am hallucinating as the nurses never acknowledge her. These painkillers are stronger than they claim.
Still, that quixotic smile, silence, and eyes that seemingly miss nothing: who is she? What is she doing here?
“Finally, I thought you would never ask.”
“Now I know I am hallucinating. You didnt just read my mind, did you?”
“No need, I’m still a part of you, so some of your thoughts drift across mine. Nothing weird about that. And no, you arent hallucinating. I’m just as real as you; I’m just slightly out of phase with where you are, so you are the only one who can see me.”
“So you are in another universe? Lordie, turn up the drip, this dream is gonna be a doozy!”
“Stop goofing off Mackie; You know I am real or you wouldnt have asked why I was here.”
“So your my reaper and you are here to collect the remnants of this mortal coil, and take me to Vahalla or Heaven or, well, I guess that other place: I ain’t exactly been a saint or whatnot.”
Looking up at the ceiling, the Mona Lisa smile still on her lips, she mumbles,”and yet another one that watched way too much ‘Dead Like Me’. ”
“Hey, that was a damned good show. Two seasons and they shoulda left it at that!”
“Well, since thats what you want to use as a reference point, I’ll play that game. Reaper I am, but there aren’t any gravelings ready to push you over the edge. Its just little ol’ me and time.” she says, cocking her head slightly with that Mona lisa smile just a touch wider.
“Hmmphh, it figures; I get a cute girl to see me out of this world. So where am I going? Up? Down? ”
“Where do you a want to go? I think thats the more pertinent question. ”
“You mean I get a choice? That flies in the face of everything I have ever been taught.”
“Yup, freedom of choice, and if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
“She looks like shes from the 50’s ,yet quotes Rush lyrics. How cool is that?” I ask, rhetorically. She gives me a broad wink in response.
“So, I get to choose, but what are my choices? Heaven? Nirvana? Vahalla? Gethsemane? Hell? Purgatory? Gotta know my choices to make that kind of decision.”
“Any of those, or none; your choice.”
“Seems a bit wide open to me. I mean, I kinda like it here and I’ve grown rather attached to this body over the last 73 years. Its worn out, but I think I could squeeze anther 20 years out of it. At least if I could beat the cancers eating it up, I could. What do you say to that?”
“Again, your choice. I think though, that you aren’t going to make that choice. Another twenty years in that vehicle might end up being that Hell you seem worried about. You know this or you wouldn’t have called for me to help you out..”
“I called you? I don’t pray so how did I call for you?”
“Higher functions, that part of you thats really in control but you never acknowledge.”
“Higher functions? Hmm, first time I have heard that one. I figured my conscience was in control, not some elusive ‘higher functon’.”
Nope, exactly backwards. What you call your subconcience is whats really handling all of this. Your conscience just chooses not to listen. The conscience tends to be pretty narcissistic while the sub, the real ‘you’ watches and learns, and occasionally directs.”
“Now I know I’m tripping. This sounds like some conversations I had while in college.”
She gets up and walks to the side of my bed, that smile still planted on her face. With hands on the rail of the bed, she leans in close and kisses my forehead. No doubt about her reality, her lips are warm and I can smell her perfume: White Shoulders . Either this hallucination is deep or I am not hallucinating.
She says “there are times, in everyone’s life, where they ‘almost’ get it. Sadly, this realm discards those that do ‘get it’ as whack jobs or, off and on, as Messiahs that they end up killing. It isn’t as complicated as you think, or have been taught to think. Einstein had it but wasn’t philosopher enough to show it even though his equation was dead on.”
“That one. It shows what reality is, or more specifically, what ‘this’ reality is. Its a big illusion made by compressing energy into tight spaces. ”
“Well, illusion you call it, but it seems real enough to me. Not sure where you are going with this since that doesn’t seem to have much to do with my choice.”
She sits on the edge of the bed, looks at me thoughtfully and says”But it has everything to do with it. Energy is energy, no matter if it is compressed solid, or spread out over the universe as radio waves.it may change state, but never quantity.”
“You’re saying I am energy, and this body of mine is just, what, exactly? I’ve been in it for 73 years now, I don’t know any other ‘state’.”
“You do, you’ve just forgotten about it. There’s only so much information these vehicles can hold. Its a minor paradox that we come here to play or learn and can’t bring or retrieve everything we actually know.”
” ‘the two most important days of your life:the day you are born and the day you find out why.'”
“Mark Twain. Nice. ”
“But I haven’t figured out the ‘why’ yet. Its been a good life, but in hindsight, average would sum it up the best. I never did anything noteworthy, or inspirational, was never famous or rich, nor was I a nobody or destitute. Just,,, average.”
“Maybe thats what you needed to learn, your ‘why’. How to just ‘be’ and be content with such.”
“Seems like an awful lot of effort for such a mundane lesson, don’t you think.”
“The hardest lessons to learn tend to be the simplest of things in reality.”
“Ain’t that the truth. So, say lesson learned, ready to move on, whats next?”
The Mona Lisa smile gets bigger for a second. Its that type of smile thats rather infectious, makes you want in on the joke or whatever it is making this person so happy. “Well, not wanting to sound like a broken record; Thats your choice.”
“And I still have nothing to choose from. Answer me this, with a choice, there should be an objective, am I right?”
“But all you answer is ‘its my choice’with no offer of an objective. Is there a heaven or hell? ”
“Yes to both?”
“Yes, and many others,,it really comes down to what each soul believes. If you envision Nirvana as the end destination, than that is what you get. But you have to be careful because you may believe in purgatory stronger. Personally, I think any of those is too limiting. We are creatures of pure energy with the barest of physical laws binding us:why would I want to espouse myself like that?”
“Wait! What did you just say? That whatever I choose is where I go, no matter what that choice is. No pearly gates, no judgement, no possible fire and brimstone? ”
“If thats what you want, then yes, if not, no. Its so simple; just make a choice. You could even come straight back, but you wont remember any of this if you do that.”
“Ok, I’ll play this game reapergirl. But what do I call my pretty reaper.”
“You know it already, you used to call me by it when you were younger: I’m Nudge.”
The swirl of memories racing back into my mind baffle me for a second, the rush of them is so intense, they almost roar in their intensity. I recall an imaginary friend I called Nudge way back in my early years, when things just seemed to happen for the better, so long as I didn’t fight the flow.
“Are you ready to decide Mackie?
I stand there looking at my last vehicle, laying there in that bed. “Yeah. But I think I want to play around the universe for awhile first.”
“Sounds grand! Lets go play.”