Walhydra has resisted doing this.
Increasingly she finds herself complaining that reincarnation isn’t what it used to be. She recalls when one could ease into an incarnation and, once one had figured out the basic themes of the age, settle in for a lifetime. Barring war, plague, famine and what not, of course.
Now, it seems, each next middle school cohort is reinventing the human race—or at least the moguls of the marketplace want them to believe that.
And so…here was Walhydra on a Thursday morning, stuck in her current incarnation as a fifty-something, gay male would-be writer, sitting in a class on “Social Software in the Libraries” and typing awkwardly on a laptop at a table too high for her ulnar nerve-impaired wrist. *Sigh.*
Or, rather, *Sob.*
In another context, this might have been a safely interesting “professional development” exercise. However, scant hours earlier on the drive to class, the vet had confirmed by cell phone from the pet hospital Walhydra’s morning dream. Miso the Cat had died quietly during the night, after sixteen remarkably healthy years (80+ in cat years).
Knowing how this goes makes it no easier. Nor does knowing how quickly and gently he died.
Well-disciplined Virgo that she is, Walhydra had politely reassured and thanked the doctor, pulled safely off the highway—and bawled her eyes and lungs out for fifteen minutes.
(She learned years ago that letting every aching sob actually come out into the world is the best way to handle grief.)
Now she was sitting through a day of extremely well designed and presented “cutting edge tech stuff for you old fogies to stumble over” training. And not caring.
Or, rather, alternating between despair and terror as she watches what she thought would be a relaxing third career speed away from her.
Or, rather, feeling dull inside because her best friend—after hubby Jim and her Mom—has gone.
Two nights later, Saturday predawn. Walhydra and her hubby cuddling silently. Without the constant presence of the little guy they had nicknamed "Bundling Board" last winter, they discover extra affection to share with each other.
They had buried his body in the tiny, leaf-covered backyard niche beneath the south window of their bedroom. Walhydra admits that she doesn’t really know if there is life after death—a paradoxical acknowledgement for a curmudgeonly old witch.
“Rationally,” she says, “I understand all about biological organisms and the neurological basis of consciousness. But the rest of me says, ‘This doesn’t make any sense. How can a person just stop being?’”
Usually, when you ask Jim if he believes in reincarnation, he deadpans: “Not in this lifetime.” This morning he just hugs Walhydra quietly.
Eventually—despite it’s being only 5 AM--Walhydra gives in to the now familiar message: “You’re awake. Go with it.”
She wanders to the living room for some skyclad tai chi, sits zazen to meditate…and can’t stop composing sentences for her new blog.
She washes and dresses. Turns on the brand-new PC—all those old files and emails recovered in a new body—and goes online.
Here’s an email about a new social justice organizing venture she needs to publicize to a thousand friends. Here’s a new email address for her blog. Some other neat stuff. The info she needs to add DSL and perhaps create a website for Miso.
Here’s the social bookmarking site she just learned to use. And here’s a venue for a library staff wiki.
A furry ghost slips through the half-opened study door and plops belly up on the red rug, coaxing.