I was dating a film producer, but I hardly knew him, though my ear burned from the two-hour phone call that night – my neck was pressing against my shoulder to cradle his life, the details traveling through satellites, from New York to Los Angeles, where I lay in my bed, my ear and my heart on fire for a man I hardly knew.
I was planning to travel to New York for the closing of Top Dog/Underdog, and the after party, and I was excited to see where he lived, near the Hudson River.
I hung up the phone and fell into a deep sleep. Only I wasn’t sleeping.
I left my body – my legs and arms and lungs and heart. I left it lying on Calvin Klein taupe 300 thread count sheets.
I was (flying?) over all the houses, past Los Angeles, into the midwest, then the east, high in cold the air, moving faster than an airplane, as if I was looking down on a Christmas train platform. In about a half hour, though time could not be measured, I was above Manhattan.
I was light. I was the wind.
I (flew?) right into the hallway of his high rise apartment building, even though I didn’t know his address.
I moved right through the metal door with six dead bolts and observed the stack of books inside the door. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, JD Salinger’s Nine Stories – a pink book of poetry.
I went into his bedroom, where he was naked on white sheets on this hot summer night, and sleeping, his small, muscled body and limbs like a starfish, and I hovered over him, and put my (hands?) on his right shoulder.
Then I left his bedroom and went into the dining room, there was a wooden bowl with plastic fruit on the table. I knew I had to get back home, and I felt an urgency to reconnect with my diaphragm and my tongue and my calves.
I stood at the ceiling to floor window that overlooked the Hudson River, spread out my (arms?) And fell through the window and back into the inky, glittering New York night sky.
I worried that I had travelled too far and it might not be possible to find my way home.
I woke up in the morning exhausted, with no memory of where I had travelled, until my phone rang when I was making dinner for my daughter, and it was him. Without thinking, I asked him how his right shoulder was feeling.
I didn’t tell you about my right shoulder, he said.
I told him I dreamt I was in his apartment, because to say anything else would have scared him more. I told him about the book, and the his white sheets, and that I helped him out with his right shoulder and it should be fine now.
I said too much.
He said he was getting another call, and he would call me right back.
But he didn’t call back that night, or the next night.
When he finally did, he asked me how I could know such intimate details about his body, his apartment, how he slept.
I couldn’t answer him.
With a measured voice he admitted his shoulder pain had disappeared overnight and he had cancelled his MRI.
A month later I flew there for the closing night of Top Dog/Underdog, and I rented a small apartment down the hall from him because he lived with his aunt.
When I walked into his place for the (second?) time – there was the bowl, the apartment exactly as I had seen it that night, and the window overlooking the Hudson River.
Next to the front door was the stack of books I had seen, the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying was on top.
My hair stood up on my body, I felt a chill from my own self, my own (power?)
Since that night, I have worn my body like a coat, but have decided not to slip out of it again, or at least not to hold the memory of it. I often wonder if the soul has the upper hand and can sneak out like a teenager into the night, just as long as it comes home before the sun comes up.
And the body always takes the soul back, doesn’t it – perhaps the soul can’t sing without it.
I didn’t date this man for long, but I imagine I had to heal something in him, and that’s what I showed up to do. Aren’t we healing each other all the time – by listening to stories, sharing meals, and sometimes by laying our (hands?) on each other’s bodies and relieving each other of physical pain?
In addition to human angels, perhaps there are other angels looking out for us in the night sky we cannot see. Maybe they are flying high above us, trying to direct soul traffic, and helping us find our way back home.