–Don’t be afraid of the Light…. __Judy Leonard
On October 18, I had the Chicken Skin Dream….
Scratching an itching thigh…why, both of them are encased in Kentucky Fried Chicken Skin, extra crispy! Well! This will never do. Slice, yank, rip–all gone. And beneath–oh, wonderful! Glowing pink healthy human skin. Good. Very good.
That day at work, three of us discussed the dream around our regular Uno card game played between bites of lunch and sips of soft drinks brought from home or purchased from the deli across the street.
“It means my confidence is back up as a human being, as a man,” I explained.
Rosemary hit me with a Draw Four card.
“That’s good,” agreed Mary. “By the way, Uno.” She could probably go out on her next turn, catching me with huge penalty points in my hand.
“Reverse.” Rosemary’s card tossed the play back to Mary, preventing me from hitting her with any one of half a dozen vicious cards now accumulated on my side of the table.
“Out.” Mary smiled sweetly, as she usually did when destroying the opposition. “How many points?”
“Three.” Rosemary’s total rose to fifty-two, nine above Mary’s winning forty-one.
“One hundred seventeen,” I admitted ruefully. “And not enough time for another hand. What’s my total?”
“Four hundred and fourteen.”
“Mm. Must mean unlucky in cards, lucky in love. Tell you what, with the Chicken Skin Dream to back me and a losing card game like this one, I’m going to the singles dance tonight and meet a special lady.”
“Let us know how it goes.” Happily married, Rosemary wished both of her single card-playing buddies only the best.
By nine p.m., I began to wonder. Two hundred singles circled the dance floor, most of them showing signs of qualifying for Social Security. The place was packed and busy, but aimlessly busy, a hive full of confused worker bees with no queen and more than a few drones. I’d witnessed several quick pairings as desperation met desperation before moving off into the night, yet nothing much seemed to be happening for me personally. Several times it seemed appropriate to give up and go home, but my own determination kept me looking a little longer–just a little longer. Time to try the far side of the room; maybe she was over there.
She was. I spotted her from sixty feet away. Tall, slim, dark haired, seated at a table with another lady. Just then another fellow asked her to dance. She looked even better on her feet than she did seated, and she was clearly the only real prospect left in the entire building.
Outside, San Diego’s balmy night air and twinkling starlight soothed adrenaline-pumped nerves as I psyched myself through three songs and a short band break. I returned to the action just as the band returned to the stage. She was still there, all right–and there was a rather sleazy gentleman sidling over to ask her to dance. A moment’s indecision tugged this way and that. Let him have her, said the part of me that doesn’t like competition.
NO! The predator circled around behind his quarry. I made my move in three long strides, finding myself standing directly across the table from our mutual target.
“May I have this dance?”
She looked up in surprise, this being her first time to hear that question in stereo. Her eyes were blue.
“What am I supposed to do, flip a coin?” Her smile was incredible, especially around the eyes.
“It’s your choice.” I stood my ground, letting her decide, attention full on her yet also aware of my image versus that of Mr. Competition. Mr. C. had not only sneaked up from behind; he also seemed to epitomize the singles bar stereotype: Aging, slightly overweight, a shiny overshirt of some flashy-cheap material draped over the extra girth. By contrast, I’d worn my best pinstriped three-piece suit with a gold pin holding the shirt collar in place under the necktie. I only hoped it was good enough.
She chose me. The other fellow got in two cheap elbow shots on the dance floor, then disappeared from our lives. We danced and talked until they locked the doors.
Saturday, October 19. She had promised to call, as she had my full name, phone number, and two written references. She’d never had a man give her written references before. In return, I had only her first name and the clue she’d let slip that she and her friend sometimes attended a Spiritualist Church that held services on Wednesday evenings.
In the meantime, today would be long and busy. My platonic buddy Lori Bell, one of San Diego’s top professional jazz flutists, had a live concert to do at UCLA, and I’d been elected chauffer due to Lori’s bad back. We’d helped each other a good deal. Her companionship had eased me through a deeply challenging summer, introduced me to jazz, gotten me back into writing songs and picking the guitar a little. The lyrics of “Gift to the Universe”, my tribute to her talent, hung on her living room wall. In return, I had chauffeured, vacuumed, carried laundry, fixed light switches, and generally performed the sorts of services a friend with a bad back appreciates, making myself available in the way only a single person with no real family life or active romance can do.
Lori’s rehearsal with her fellow musicians took place through the shank of the afternoon. I excused myself and wandered out behind the theater, finding a seat on a pile of leaves beneath a huge old gray-trunked, barkless tree. A song simply had to be written. Two and one half hours later, the lyrics were in place.
Lori’s concert succeeded smashingly. We returned to San Diego shortly before dawn, each tired yet each deeply satisfied with our respective musical accomplishments.
Monday, October 21. The quest begins in earnest. She will not call; I know it and must track her down. A series of questions to acquaintances, digging for leads.
Tuesday, October 22. A possible church located. At five-thirty p.m., it is open and deserted but for the custodian. I stroll in and soak up the feel of the place. It feels right; this could be it.
Wednesday, October 23. According to information gleaned thus far, there will be healings done first, then some sort of service around seven-thirty. It is still light outside when I walk into the church around six p.m. Several people sit on wooden benches facing one another, munching supper. One bright-eyed lady is easily recognized from last night’s dream state: The little girl with muscles. This must be Reverend Millie. She smiles at the newcomer.
“Come to join us for the evening?”
“Well…I’m not sure I’m in the right place….”
“You’re in the right place!” Millie’s assurance is emphatic.
We chat for a bit. Millie confirms that she does indeed know the lady I’m seeking. It is true, then: I am in the right place. Later, during services, Millie picks out newcomers one by one.
“And in the back we have Fred. One of our people invited him, and then didn’t come herself!”
I stand and grin ear to ear, raising my arms in acknowledgement. They’ve all seen me now and have linked my name with the woman I seek; so far, so good.
In time, the evening finale arrives. Those who wish to, stand up front and take turns giving brief “Messages from Spirit” to various members of the congregation.
“Anyone who wants to can come up,” Millie states, and the wheels begin to turn.
Yes, whispers the Mahanta inside me, you should go up there. But what to say when I do? I’m not about to “give messages”, besides the fact that I don’t know how in the first place. Such efforts would seem to be from the past, an earlier stage of evolution back with astrology and Tarot cards and automatic writing and stuff. Still….
Millie’s expression is priceless; what does this brash newcomer intend to do? She watches in some consternation as I join the readers, wait my turn, step forward to the available rostrum. Will this fellow try giving messages off the wall or out of his ego? He has no entities hovering in his aura….
The audience of fifty or so Souls is quiet, attentive. The words flow easily, smoothly.
“What I have to give is not a reading. I simply wanted to share something with you. As Millie has already told you, my friend and I just met. That meeting was extremely special, so much so that on the following day I wrote a love song on her behalf. Millie has also talked a great deal this evening about a special Soul known to many of you who has dropped the body and gone on, and Millie referred to her as now being “beyond time.”
“The interesting point is that the love song describing the meeting between the member of your church and me is titled, “This Moment Beyond Time.” I know it’s no accident that even though she isn’t here tonight, I am. That’s really all I had to say, and thank you. Thank you very much.”
With that I stepped away from the podium and strode toward the back of the room. People applauded. Millie’s voice cut through.
“Perhaps sometime we can persuade Fred to share his song with us!”
Bingo. I stopped cold, pivoted.
“I just happen to have my guitar in the car!” Millie’s enthusiasm that seemed to end every other sentence with an exclamation point was infectious; she already had me doing it.
Minutes later, a heartfelt rendition of “This Moment Beyond Time” rolled through the church in place of the usual closing group sing-along. With the final note, the congregation applauded vigorously. One person after another sought out the singer to express appreciation or to say simply, I really understood that song.
During coffee and cookies, someone mentioned that although the lady I sought hadn’t attended services this particular evening, her brother had. I introduced myself. We got along, and from him I obtained her last name. Later, a quick check in the phone book and–yes! That’s it; that’s the number.
When I finally called on Friday, she expressed surprise that she’d been tracked down and even more surprise that a song on her behalf had been both written and sung to a whole church full of people who knew her. We talked on the telephone for a long, long time.
The Chicken Skin Dream had proved itself, big time.
For our readers who may not recognize a word like Mahanta, the definition can be found in A Glossary of Eck Terms at Eckankar.org.