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Message Received

There are legends that have been passed down through generations, narrating incidents and theories of how those of us that leave far too early, are immortalized by their essence. Call them ghosts or spirits, shadows or myths – whatever name or slang that best fits but too many of us have fleeting experiences that hit way too close to home, to dub them a mere coincidence. They speak a different language, one of white feathers and butterflies appearing seemingly out of nowhere, or pop into our dreams for a quick visit, the shrill tweet of a bird that rises above all else, or a random scattering of small coins that leave you guessing their significance. They continue an existence veiled from the rest of us but every now and then, breach the barrier for a fleeting instance.

And while this information can be empowering, there’s a fine line between hopeful, and suddenly chasing the impossible. For trapped in this human vessel, despite how strong the will may be, there are obvious limitations and often I’m left wondering how much was lost in translation. The first two years after you passed, this new language and a means for connection bled into an obsession that left me looking for you in places I knew you’d never be, but I kept desperately searching for even the tiniest indication. And once or twice our universes did collide and the distance between us shrunk into oblivion but most of the time it was hard to reconcile with the fact that even after your death, I would constantly relive this feeling of abandonment.

A handful of scattered signs and three years later I decided to stop the chase and I’d like to pretend that it was a moment of growth but if I’m being fair, it was perhaps nothing more than a tantrum flared. A younger sister sticking her nose in the air and saying, “Fine, I’ll stop looking for you everywhere, message received.” And with her nose stitched into the sky, she finally made peace with no longer having a guardian, be it an older brother across the hall, or one that has crossed over into eternity.

And maybe it worked for a while but a little over a month ago, I was crossing the street when a moron was hurtling down towards me and instead of slamming his breaks, his jeep slammed into me. Constantly chided all my life for my frailty, there is still no possible explanation for how I quickly I was back on my feet. Thirty-five miles an hour, the front grill so high it reached my eyes, bouncing off the windshield and falling on the road only to uncontrollably seize. A head busted open, fractured ribs and tailbone, and bruises kissing every inch of my body – and yet somehow that was the worst of it in its entirety. For the following weeks, words of gratitude kept slipping from my tongue while my mind swam in confusion, trying to piece the horrifying facts with my, against all odds, manageable reality. Everyone kept saying, there’s someone from beyond that’s looking out for you, but nose in the clouds, I insisted there has to be an explanation far more likely and perhaps I would’ve kept insisting if it wasn’t for soon after, when I finally found the energy to clean, and began digging through the bag I was carrying that evening only to randomly find a gleaming stack of bronze coins in an alien currency.

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