"Pardon me," a woman says as she tries to navigate her way through a crowded sidewalk to her cab.
“Pardon me,” I say mockingly, pretending to do the same.
“O, why do you even go the lengths to mock these people, they can’t even hear you!” Sheldon said.
“Well, some can,” I say smiling big.
Sheldon rolls his eyes and we both continue down the busy city street.
“I mean seriously, who talks like that; no one.”
“Why do you always have an attitude,”? Sheldon responded with annoyance, “This has been an everyday thing and I’m wondering if this is going to be you for the rest of my lifetime.”
“WHAT LIFETIME, WERE DEAD!” I yell.
We both stopped and looked at each other. It had been a year since the car accident. My boyfriend, my best friend, her boyfriend (Sheldon) and I were T boned. The passenger side where Sheldon and I were sitting was struck hard killing us instantly.
“I also don’t have to be reminded every 5 minutes of that either.”
We continue to walk.
“I’m sorry, you’re right. But it’s all so confusing.”
Sheldon nods in agreement.
“I mean nothing is like I thought it would be when I died, you know. I though you die then you get judged, then you live your life in either heaven or hell.”
“What life remember?” Sheldon says slightly joking but with understanding. “But I get it.”
“Thank you, I keep wondering if this is hell? Living, or whatever we’re doing.”
“Being.” Sheldon said.
“Right being in the living world but not in it. I guess being on the underside of the living world. Having consciousness, but technically not having a body. Like I can see you, but I don’t see a body I just see a… a… a soul…. a persona… a..”
“A being.” Sheldon says.
We both chuckle.
“A being really describes it perfectly.”
“Then why are you so confused?” Sheldon questions.
“Well because we technically don’t have a body. And we know that emotions are stored in the body, so I’m trying to figure out why I have emotions and why I can feel them intensely’?
Sheldon gives me a puzzled look.
“I don’t know. I feel like I can feel my emotions and my emotions of my past lives even though I can’t remember me having a past life. Well besides the last life. I’m not sure if I would call it my past life or my last life.” Sheldon laughs.
“See how confusing this is. I also didn’t expect to be in middle earth with no way out of here. No one to talk to but fellow ghosts, until they just randomly disappear. I thought the worst that could happen was dying. My whole life I have literally held on to the fear of dying. Just to realize that dying was the easy part. It’s dying and not having anywhere to go afterward. It’s dying and seeing anyone I want to see, but they can’t see or hear or touch me. O, why didn’t anyone warn me?”
“And who was supposed to do that, Sheldon asked.
“A ghost of course!” I say with feigned enthusiasm.
“Look at it this way. You can go wherever you want to go. See any and every place you ever imagined. Observe. And absorb. Do you know anything about oneness. Mindfulness. I think that sort of thing could prepare you better than anyone’s expertise about death.” Sheldon said in a matter-of-fact way.
“I’ve heard of oneness and mindfulness, but I’ve never practiced it before. Why do you think mindfulness is the key to escaping hell.” I said frankly.
“Because that’s the only cure to loneliness that I have found. And that sounds like the problem you are having.”
“It is a plethora of problems I’m having.” I say clearly frustrated
“Whoa, whoa wait. Time out. WE ARE DEAD as you like to remind me every so often. Are you telling me that your problems have yet to cease?” Sheldon asked.
“I am telling you that I’m still suffering.” I say.
We walk in silence. I watch the cars go by and listen to the hustle and bustle of the city. Manhattan is just like I remember it. It was my favorite place to visit when I was in college. Sheldon was right. I can go anywhere I want. Do anything I want. But here I am finding a reason to sulk. Well, isn’t that what ghosts do. I smile to myself at the thought of identifying myself as a ghost. I am not a ghost I wanted to so proudly say, think, and feel. The reality of the situation is that I am a ghost. A ghost stuck in the underside of the world. Death is prison, I keep thinking.
“You are going to turn into one of those hooded crypt keeper looking ghost if you don’t learn.” Sheldon utters.
“Learn what?” I ask.
“Acceptance.” Sheldon says.
Acceptance, I think, is this man crazy? Who would accept such a horrible fate? What I am experiencing is total and complete nothingness every day. My mind is plagued with the thought of what was. The crazy most paradoxical thing is that when I was alive all I could think about was what was to be. The future. Here I am now, with no future, just another past life.
We arrive at the Empire State building. I look up at its massive stature. I am ready to go up. We could just float to the top of the building but being human for a lifetime conditions you to remain within the confines of the laws of physics at times. We decide to take the elevator. One thing about being a ghost, I can choose the experiences I want to have. Not just whether we’re going to Guam or Tokyo, but whether I want to experience things as a human or a ghost. We get to the top and Sheldon and I float the roof and take a seat.
“The city is beautiful.” I sighed.
I close my eyes and imagine what it would have been to see this when I was alive.
“You have to stop doing this” I say to myself out loud.
“What”? Sheldon asked genuinely concerned.
“I have to accept this life as a ghost Sheldon.” I will forever keep torturing myself. It’s been a constant struggle for a year and I can feel myself turning into the grim reaper himself.”
“O so you are deciding to take my advice finally. Look I’m not perfect. Sometimes I dwell too, but the point is that this is final and we can’t change this. So, it’s better to just accept it. And practice mindfulness.”
We both came together and sat in silence. I thought about my life; my now past life and I mourned. I mourned my family and my friends. I mourned my boyfriend, my job, and my future plans. One by one for hours, I mourned things, places, and people. After a while mourning began to feel like soul cleansing, and I knew that acceptance was what I needed. When I finally looked up at Sheldon, I could tell he was in a better place as well. I close my eyes and when I looked up again, Sheldon was gone.
I began to feel my being floating involuntarily towards a light. It was too bright for me to look at, but I could feel the energy from the light drawing me closer. I didn’t fight. I had no more questions. I only had acceptance. Acceptance for what was, what is, what is to be.