This is a short story that is being written with encouragement of my blog and Facebook readers. Please click the Facebook link below and look for the picture of a key to learn more. Feel free to comment or share your ideas.
1952 -- Ella was only five years old when the big storm hit. Anyway, that's her story -- it's a long- standing tale she has told many shrinks over decades of time. I was the last one to treat her before she died a year ago, and like the others, failed to make any progress with her severe neuroses. Now her spirit haunts me still. What I mean by that is the following...Ella had a spookiness about her, even while alive. She perpetually fingered an old key she wore on a chain around her neck. When I once asked its significance, her eyes rolled back before appearing jet black, as if she could see through me. Let me be honest...I stopped asking about the key. I made an impulsive decision yesterday to visit the cemetery where she was laid to rest. It was an uneventful visit, nothing out of the ordinary. I spoke a few words at the foot of the grave, adjusted some fresh flowers recently placed by the headstone, and left. It began to drizzle on the ride back home and the windshield wipers were on intermittent. One minute all was clear, droplets of rain blurred the next, over and over as if repetition was more normal than anything else -- until the downpour. I searched my pants pocket for my cell phone to inform my wife I might be later than usual due to the sudden change in weather. My phone was not there. Then I remembered setting it down on Ella's grave in order to adjust the flowers. I drove back. An eeriness filled the cemetery. I kept looking over my shoulder while I walked the distance. As I got nearer, I could see my phone. Oddly, it was still perfectly dry. Just as I was about to leave again, something nearby glinted from a bolt of lightning. It was Ella's key! I didn't think twice about picking it up and taking it with me. Driving once again, I turned on the car radio to distract my racing thoughts. Every channel was reporting the worst storm since 1952. There was such a familiarity to its description, I couldn't help thinking I was reliving my past, but I was born in 1975, it wasn't possible. I looked over at the key on the passenger seat. I made a quick stop at my office. Something was nudging me to review the session notes I had taken over the last five years of Ella's life when I was her psychiatrist. I instantly checked our first meeting. The storm, the storm, I had written, indicating Ella's urgency to share an experience. Her description of the wind and lightening was exactly as the newsman was reporting on the radio. I had not given Ella's story much attention at the time, not really knowing what it was about. At the bottom of my notes was a name I had scribbled with three question marks after it and numerous lines underneath. This could only mean I had further questions, but our time together must have run out. Nowhere else did my notes indicate the name Johnny. How could I have slipped up like that? I returned to the cemetery for no other reason than instinct. The weather became more violent. I knew it would. A road washed out, I knew that too. I felt the need to rescue someone, to rush, but on second thought, I also knew that would be my demise. I slowed down, missing a fallen oak tree by mere inches. Upon my arrival, Ella's grave was surrounded by a spectacular current of energy. When it ceased, I saw that the storm had eroded the earth next to her grave, revealing a curious box that cast brilliant light in every direction. Strangely unafraid, I went closer. I clawed at the dirt with my hands to fully release it from the ground. The front had a brass lock in the exact shape of Ella's key. Slowly, I put the key in the lock. The funeral procession felt dark and heavy. A casket was wheeled past the mourners carrying what once was a seed of heroic potential -- now nullified in the wooden box. His body was lowered beneath the earth. Her raven hair blew back from the speed of running towards her brother's grave. She plunged into it, offering herself in his place. A stream of water flowed nearby. A breeze rustled the leaves along the path. They were the only sounds that could be heard for miles and miles. They were the sounds of Oneness that rises above the heartache. They were the sounds of youthful sweetness when minds join past the tragedy. They were the sounds of eternal unity surrounding the stage of life, the backdrop, music, and scripts we all play. They were the only sounds that could be heard for miles and miles.
When I bought my old Victorian house, I was envisioning the window boxes filled with flowers and the picket fence freshly painted. All that came to pass but I never realized there was so much more to reckon with...things I could not even imagine!