Nights in the spirit world

In my grief-induced, covid-enforced world of solitary inertia, the line between movies and reality is becoming thinner. And clearly, the adventure-horror-fantasy world of film is far preferable.

The basic provisions needed to sustain oneself in this world are a modicum of actual food and a multitude of salty chips and salsa dip. Spirits are essential. Not the ghostly kind — I have five of those in the lowly bungalow, each of whom make frequent appearances during my binges of spirituality. I refer, of course, to the 80 proof spirits in the liquor cabinet — gin, rum, vodka, tequila, whiskey and brandy.

Which reminds me, I am out of Bombay London Dry Gin for tonight. I do have a small bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin (from their same 1761 recipe). As if the 86 proof gin wasn’t strong enough, the Bombay Spirits Company was kind enough to make the 94 proof Sapphire. So tonight I will have that.

On second thoughts, since I’ll be watching (for the umpteenth time) the 1971 New York drug crime classic ‘The French Connection,’ I’ll make this a whiskey night.

The other spirits in the house, the ghostly ones, will have to endure a steady stream of comments from their garrulous survivor, but I don’t think they mind. So far, I haven’t heard any complaints. In fact, I haven’t heard anything from any one of them, which is a constant disappointment to me. Every night I ask them to chime in when they feel like it, but never a peep.

When the movies end, the sadness kicks in. A kick in the gut, a punch in the heart. I would give every bottle of booze in the liquor cabinet for one night with S. Of course, I wouldn’t have to. She was a drinker too. It was sort of a hobby with us. We would begin drinking at cocktail hour — five o’clock in the shorter nights of summer; four o’clock in the long dark nights of winter.

It’s dark already and it’s only three o’clock. That’s because of the thunderstorm moving in. It’s going to be a long night.

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Thud! Back to the real world

AS HE LOOKED BACK through some of his old posts he noticed that he had seriously — more like desperately than seriously — entertained the notion of “God” — entertained is an amusing word for someone who was hopelessly depressed, so depressed that he was delusional, looking for ghosts in crawlspaces, imagining voices of the dead in his head, reaching out in the darkness for his dead wife’s hand, a hand that had guided him for nearly a lifetime, reaching out for his son, reaching out for his two brothers — all of the above dead and beyond reach.

He was completely alone, an aged man in solitary confinement. So it was quite understandable that he would seek help from another sphere, realm, dimension, as-yet undiscovered wave-length, whatever the hell you want to call it — this unknown place where secretly dwells the invisible “God” that’s worshipped by more than two billion people in the world.


He is still in solitary but after a year and a half of confusion and craziness, he is no longer delusional. He has returned to the real world and the first reality is that his wife is dead and his son is dead and his brothers are dead, and the second reality is that he will never see them again, hear their voices, be with them in some magical religious sense or feel their presence in this- or that- or whatever-sphere. 

They are gone. Period. Full stop. In their own minds, or in their “soul” or via electrical energy there is no awareness, perception, spiritual well-being or Godly bliss. There is nothing but oblivion.

And in his mind — what’s left of it — there is the sanity-saving, mind’s-eye album of remembrance. That’s what it’s all about now — memories.

Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
And merrily hent the stile-a:
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.

Shakespeare — The Winter’s Tale (4.3.42-45)

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