by LJ Frank
It was a chilly October 31st. There was an obscure sensation on my forehead that was otherwise clammy with a miniscule pearl of sweat streaming down towards an eyebrow. I looked at the motionless ceiling fan then decided to get up and take a shower. It was already 10 am. I sensed the ambiguity of the day so decided to visit one of my favorite haunts while in New York City – The MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art). I was in want of an esthetic, spiritual experience and also a wish to dine in a nearby café with an affable, contemporary atmosphere.
The afternoon found me in the prehistoric exhibits admiring some ancient pottery when I felt a hand touch my elbow. I turned to see a woman dressed in a long sleeve black sweater dress.
It’s been a long time, she said, appearing to take a visual notation of my black blazer and blue jeans.
I was at a loss in figuring out what part of the world I met her and was initially too embarrassed to ask. I think she realized that and so we eventually adjourned to a local café which I thought would offer some private conversation while plummeting my brain’s cells as to where we met. She was familiar but from where? Then again, I’m an adventurer.
Upon reaching the café we were led to a square wood table in a corner of the room that was decorated in plants and a water feature. Clerestory and pendant lighting added to the ambience. We ordered an appetizer and drinks. She said she was from the Bay area, I thought she was referring to San Francisco. She wasn’t. It was another Bay – Macao. A half-smile emerged across her lips. She was teasing my memory.
I chuckled to myself and looked over at her, holding a glass of white wine. Her almond shaped eyes were suggestive. A bead of wine dripped from her fuchsia-colored lips and slid down the skin’s curvature to the chin.
She looked over at me and asked whether I’d like to lick it off.
She had a sense of humor. My eyebrows rose. I try not to rule out anything when meeting a stunning woman. I grinned.
I was the one that sent you “that email” several months ago.
That email? I asked.
I was in the midst of a physical intimacy…and during those intimate moments I thought of you. You were within me.
I remember the email. Very warm!
The experience was for me.
You’re welcome. And before the next word spilled from my tongue she set the glass of wine down on the table, reached up to her scalp with her left hand and removed a wig she was wearing.
I shaved my head.
Okay. Actually, it’s quite attractive. It seems appropriate,
Do you recall me now?
I thought I did at first…sorry.
This day, twenty-four years ago…we met at a retreat. We were both in search of the spiritual.
Was the retreat about Inner Peace?
Yeah. Do you recall the nearby boulder strewn seashore.
I do, now that you mention it.
And do you recall the body?
The one we found on shore. There was an odd eye shaped marking on the forehead above his eyes. It looked quite real.
There’s a Chinese proverb that suggests ghosts fear men more than men fear ghosts.
One should never underestimate what one is actually looking at. It makes me think of the Pineal gland in the brain. Philosophically, it’s the mind’s eye.
In part, that’s true.
But one moment he was there and the next moment he seemed to have disappeared, as if he never existed.
Is it really a puzzle? How many people have arrived on life’s stage and departed that stage without being noticed, affirmed, or recognized for who or what they are as a person with an independent soul and spirit? We are here, then we are not.
I understand. But…what about you. I mean what happened to you after that incident. It was as if you vanished into thin air the next day.
You could say that I vanished in spirit for a long time. Still some events may feel like they occurred yesterday.
Life is complicated.
There are things in life beyond an immediate rational explanation. They just occur. No scientific translation of what just occurred…is needed or desired. It’s like our names we use to approach each other. Once we have a name our relationship may change.
I nodded….I apologize. Forgive me for not readily remembering your name?
That’s amusing. It’s Shinrei.
My eyes betrayed my questioning look.
Let’s say in my case it has a mystical meaning involving a spiritual dimension. It is without an interpretation.
Us? Touch your forehead and tell me what you feel and then recall the body on the shore and the marking on his forehead.
What are you suggesting?
Look closely at my forehead. What do you see? Who invited you to the retreat? And how did I know you would be at the museum when I live halfway around the world? Why did I think about you? What do we share in common? Who are you? Who am I?