As I mentioned before I work with the elderly. It’s hard not to get close to them no matter how thick of a wall you’ve built. You get close enough you can tell who they are just by their sounds and odors. I can tell who’s close by without ever seeing them. That’s until they yell my name. This never stops, it’s like the “All-Mike Choir” and it’s nonstop. By the time I’m ready to go home I hate my name. Depending on their healthcare coverage some get aides and assistants to help them with their daily needs. Some get or want very little so they come to me.
The manager says I’ll get use to them passing away, but I haven’t yet. Since the first of the year two of my friends are gone. One day they’re perfectly healthy and happy then they’re gone. I’m cold to it but I’ll never get use to it. I’m typically alone through out the day taking care of running the building and making 50 people happy. Happy as in being quiet for a few days so I can get other things done. Early morning and mid-afternoon are the times when the building comes alive. While the living residents are still asleep, or resting or what ever they do, my friends come out. The building gets so quiet you hear yourself breathing, but that’s when Mr. Brown will clear his throat. Or Ms. Piper comes down the hall pushing her walker with the worn out skids on the carpet. Nellie will sing off in the distance. Then there’s the smell of incense Nicki used to cover the odor of the cigarettes they’re not allowed to be smoking. These are just a few of my friends who’ve died several years ago but never really left.
Five degrees, several inches of dry snow, wind, and sun. That’s today. I like cold winter days. Sunny ones especially. I didn’t dress warm to go to work today, but while I stared out the windows all I wanted to do was be outside. To me the building is warm but to the elderly its never hot enough. This keeps them in their rooms and keeps my sanity in check. The quiet afternoon in the building was a perfect time to watch outside. Maybe catch the deer or a coyote while I spent a moment staring out the long row of paneled glass. While checking my email a few swirls of dry snow caught my attention long enough to lose my place I had read. I check Facebook then over to Reddit. Once again a larger swirl of snow caught my attention. It seemed it was whirling around a figure. I pulled my glasses up to see farther and to focus. It was a figure. It resembled an inverted shadow person. The glistening outline was obviously facing me. It was a female shape but no real detail. I went back and got my coat. Now I have to go out. The back door was closer so I exited through the back making my way around to the front to greet my new visitor. This is a long cold walk. The sun was in front of the building and the sharp wind was coming at me quick through the forest. Still struggling to get both my coats on and the hoodies pocketed inside each other, there walking beside me was the iridescent figure. Seemingly cold herself, she wouldn’t look up while I tried to grasp who or what I was looking at walking beside me. I got my hoodie’s situated, my gloves on and coats zipped. The apparition wasn’t talkative but seemed to just enjoy the company as I did. My little slip on the ice jolted my body. The words, spoken as soft as the sharp cold breeze filling the air, “be careful”, came from beside me. My first thought was to wonder what would happen if I had slipped and fell. Would she help me up? Laugh? Even though the swirling figure was beside me I kept walking towards the front of the building where I first saw the her. The closer we got to the spot she originated the quieter it got. The wind slowed to a few dying gusts. The 3:45 pm winter sun shining hard into my eyes, there is where she said “good-bye”…
Around 4:00 am I woke up with the feeling someone was in the room with me. The TV still on, it lit up the room as I cautiously rolled over to see if any one was there. No one. I was awake and turned the TV off thinking I was going to get up for the day. Slowly I fell back to sleep. It seemed like only a few minutes had passed when a loud ominous scream tore through the silence. I shot up in bed, the scream is still in the air, almost in my face I could feel the vibrations from the sound. As I sat up a shadowing figure of a smoke-like cloud, almost like cigarette smoke, moved out into the hall and dissipated. The hall, lit up from the light on my drawing table, seemed unfazed by what just happened. Sitting up, I listened. I listened so hard I could hear my heart beating. Nothing but the fan downstairs. It took a few moments to gather myself. I got up and walked through the house. Nothing was out of place.
I think this started last night when I was ignoring the energy around me like I’ve done the last few months. Luckily I was drawing in pencil. I could hear the background sounding off. They were getting unusually loud when the table was bumped hard enough to jerk my pencil across the paper. “GAWDAMMIT!” I said and the activity went quiet.
I was working outside this morning before it got too hot. Behind me I heard the faint calling of my name. There stood one of the residents with a funny look on her face. She wanted to tell me something but it was obvious she didn’t want it to come out wrong. Several times she stopped herself mid-sentence with, “no, never mind”. This is a lady that’s ultra conservative. She’s quiet and polite to everyone. She watches fox news and was distraught I’m for Bernie Sanders (he’s a socialist, ya’ know). I’ve heard her mention her god in public conversations and never once have I heard her say anything bad towards anyone. But, I know she wanted to say something that goes against everything she believes in just by the way she was acting. So I blurted it out, “What did you see?”. Her face had this sudden look of relief. She asked me if things have gone on there. (At the building) I told her a lot of people have died here and they leave things behind. She wanted to know what I knew. I told her about the second floor hall and library and even a home healthcare aid has some things she’s witnessed. After a few minutes trying to get her to trust me and talk to me she finally said she woke up on the couch and in front of her was the cloudy image of a black man. She asked if he was an angel. Nothing was said and when she closed her eyes for a moment he was gone. I was blown away because I’ve heard the voice of a black man on the second floor. She said she was afraid. I told there’s nothing to be afraid of, that’s just the TV that puts fear into your mind. I wanted to hear more but she was really uncomfortable talking about it. She kept saying forget it and don’t tell anyone she said anything. The elevator doors opened and she turned and said “They turned my pictures face down”. I told her it was O.K. and I wanted to know more but she was obviously ashamed she said anything. I, on the other hand, felt totally vindicated once again. I’ll get more out of her…
Note: she moved into a unit the lady before her had passed away in.
I never initiate a conversation about the subject of this blog to anyone. If they start talking about events that’s happened to them, I’m glad to jump in.
Days are long where I work at. There’s one building with fifty people. Not a lot goes on. The property is clean and kept up. Social workers and health-care aides feel safe compared to other places they visit through out the day so they tend to wait for their next appointments in our community room or library. One health-care aide shared her story with me. She knew how to make a short story long and went off in all directions, so I’ll turn a two hour story down to a paragraph.
Sheri’s mother passed away several years ago. On mothers day this year, she sat some flowers at her headstone and took a picture with her phone. A few days afterwards, her phone would vibrate for no reason, although it was set to vibrate and ring when receiving a call. There was no record of any calls coming in. Thursday evening she settled in to veg on the couch. She read a few chapters of a book and grew tired. Sheri set the book on the coffee table, laid the phone face down on top of the book and fell asleep. She was woke up by the phone vibrating. Only this time a glowing light came from under the it. She picked it up and the photo of her mothers headstone quickly flashed from the screen. It was late so she went to bed. As she fell asleep the phone vibrated and lit up again. This time she could hear a faint conversation. As she picked up the phone there was the picture she took of her mothers headstone. The phone conversation became more clear. It was her mothers voice. Sheri couldn’t make out who she was talking to, the other end was static, but she sounded cheerful and happy. What Sheri remembers of the conversation was her mother saying, “Tell him I said hello and I’ll see you soon.” Sheri yelled “MOM” into the phone. Her mother answered, “Sheri, I’ll see you too.” There was silence. The photo slowly faded out…
I’ve sat here for the last three hours drawing the letter “L”. Classic rock coming from what was 181.FM The Eagle on the internet. I think that’s what it was, it might still be. Led Zeppelin was playing Kashmir. Every time I hear Kashmir I think of the 5 Point Plan. Once again the cup full of brushes in front of me click. This happened the last time my visitors stopped by. I stopped for a moment, listening, waiting. Precisely at the same time a cool swirl of air circles across my face I hear what sounded like an 8-bit female voice say what sounded like “davit ignorients unce”. I could feel the sound directly in front of me, loud and clear this time. Slowly I grabbed my phone and stepped back snapping two photo’s at my drawing table. As usual nothing appears
Although I’m alone right now, I can very much feel others here with me. I haven’t paid much attention to my spirit visitors for a while. Maybe they have something to tell me tonight.
For a while I lived above an old diner. It was built around 1920. This place had a life of it’s own, you could feel the past still alive inside. At night when the diner closed you could still sense someone was inside. The hallway to get to my door was long and narrow. Occasionally it would feel like someone walked by me as I unlocked my door, the air moved. At times you just knew someone was right in front of you, staring, ready to confront you. I always entered through the back of the building. Two flights of metal stairs. Going up, they watched. I was the new guy. The one that wasn’t excited about the diner atmosphere. The one you would only get a hello out of if you were lucky. They watched me coming up. They moved out into the hall, silent but present. One place I never went was down the front steps that lead out to the street. There was a heavy feeling to those steps. Something happened at the bottom, something bad and it was still there. This dark place never lit up no matter how bright the sun was or how much light would shine on it. I remember taking this photo the day I moved out. It was late at night, around 10:00 pm. The apartment was left just as I had found it except for a few bumps on the walls. Loading up the last bit of my belongings I looked up to the windows. They were watching, waiting. Someone new will come along, just like I did.