Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Good Bye!

21 Jul

Good Bye

As Helen lay motionless in her hospital bed, Walter sat by her side with her slender lifeless hand in his. This scene has repeated itself for the better part of the last year. Helen had a slip in the shower and has been in a coma ever since. Walter holds out hope that she will wake up but deep down he knows the chances are slim. Walter hadn´t told Helen he loved her before the accident for such a long time that he cannot even recall the last time. This regret grinds in his heart.

Sitting in a silent hospital room with the woman he has shared the vast majority of his life has been somewhat of a medidative experience. Memories have come up that he hasn´t thought about since the event occurred. The actual occurances may be slightly curved by the glass of time but to him they happened exactly as he remembered them.

He remembers before shipping off to Europe, the nights they spent trying to be in each other’s company for each moment possible. They would go to the dankest bars as they were the only establishments open into the late hours. Neither drank a drop of alcohol. They just sat in a corner, hands stacked on top of one another regaling each other with stories of the few years they had been on the planet. Now that they have lived many more years and have many more stories to tell, he would give anything to be able to sit in the corner of a dark smokey bar and relive them with Helen.

Like clockwork the nurse comes in to change Helen´s bed clothes. Walter can´t help but feel the pity emanating from her. They have their usual small talk. Then Walter, very uncharacteristically, goes into the story of their wedding day. Although the nurse had a lot of work to do, she was enthralled by Walter´s recollection of this grand, beautiful day. Twenty minutes later, Walter realizes that he was holding her up, apologizes and sends her on her way. The nurse assured him he need not apologize and tried to hide the fact that tears were falling down her cheeks.

The next day, the same thing happened. The nurse came in for her usual checkups and tidying, small talk was exchanged and Walter regaled her with the story of when he returned from the war and how he and Helen celebrated being in each other´s company after such a long, arduous time apart. Once again, the nurse unsuccessfully tried to mask her tears and went ahead with her rounds.

This repeated itself for the good part of a month. The nurse would come in to do her job and it got to the point she would expect a story. She even kept extra tissues in her waist pockets. Walter started to look forward to the nurse´s visits.

One day, Walter checked his watch. It was around a half hour until the scheduled nurse visit. As he sat in his medidative state, reliving years gone by, Helen´s head turned towards him. Walter almost fell out of his chair. This was the first movement of Helen, by Helen since the accident. The slightest smile came to her face. Her cloudy eyes cleared for a moment and they pierced those of Walter. She stared mouthing something inaudibly. Walter put his ear to her mouth to hear what she was saying. There was no sound.

Walter knew this was his last chance. He looked into her clear, blue eyes and said “Helen, you are my everything. You gave me three great sons. You made a beautiful home for us. Without you, I don´t know how I could have had a happier life” he saw her eyes clouding again, he continued though the words were breaking up in his throat “Helen, I love you. I always loved you. I will always love you. I´m so sorry I didn´t tell you more often. I´m so…..” The machine Helen was hooked up to let out a piercing beep.

Walter could barely make her out through the tears; the nurse who he told his stories to ran in. “Walter, please go into the hall” she said, sternly but with care and love in her voice.

“But….” Walter resisted.

“Please” she answered. Walter acquiesced.

As he stood in the hall, his legs were so weak he could not stand. Not even after the biggest atrocities he saw in Europe did he cry with such force. Between sobs, he cried to the heavens how much he loved Helen in hopes that her spirit would hear him.

The nurse came into the hall and gave Walter the bad news. Helen was gone. All Walter could think was that he was soon to follow. He felt some relief in knowing that Helen left him knowing how much he loved her.

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On Meditation

14 Jul

meditation

I am going to keep this piece very informal. I usually write short fiction stories but this subject has been so important to me as of late, I thought I would write about it. If it reaches one person and helps them, I will be elated. The subject is meditation. I have been doing it consistently now for over four months. In no way am I an expert. I can only express what someone who has done something for a miniscule period of time can. In this piece, I hope to cover the Why, How, What Happened.

Why:

I can´t explain why but I have always been drawn to meditation or at least the sexy idea of meditation. Something about being able to meld your mind with the fabric of the universe was very titillating to me. Of course, as you will read, this may never actually happen but I can tell you in my short time practicing, I feel I have gotten close. Over the past two decades every few months or so I would tell myself I would make meditation a staple in my life. I would either read a book, pre internet, or listen to guided meditations, post internet. I would “meditate” here or there and not have a plan. I really didn´t know for meditation to give results, consistency is the key.

The last push to make a plan and stick with it was given by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was a guest on the Tim Ferris Podcast, a motivational show that gives life hacking tips and has effective people as guests. Arnold described a time in his life that I related too. A time where his thoughts were jumbled and his life felt hectic and out of control. He was having success in his ventures but he was having difficulty putting it all together and making sense of it all. He said that one thing and one thing only put him on track and kept him there. Transcendental Meditation. He used TM for exactly one year and stopped. It was enough to right the ship and sail into one of the most successful careers the world has ever seen. Although my practice is not TM per se, I read extensively about it and have adopted some of its principles.

How:

Let´s get to it. The how. What do I do? Just sit there? Summon spirits and demons from other realms. Yes and no. Well, maybe to the second question. I shall explain. What I do is sit down for a period of time, usually 10-15 minutes, the most 20 minutes but that is rare. I do this two times a day, once as soon as I wake and another close to bed time. When I started I used a mantra that I got from the internet. Mine was “Enga”. I have no idea what it means, I just like the way it sounds and vibrates. The mantra is simply an anchor. When you meditate, you do not think about anything. That is the point. To think about nothing. This is where the mantra enters. You focus on the mantra. I mentalized the mantra on out breaths. I breath in, and as I breath out I would think the mantra and feel it vibrate in my head. When your mind wanders and it will, your bring your attention back to the mantra.

I have since started simply focusing on my breath and have similar results. Start thinking about your childhood? Breathe. Bring your attention back to your breath. Start thinking about that bill that is late? Breathe. Bring your attention back to your breath. That´s it. You don´t pontificate the nature of reality, the reason for your existence or anything. It´s just focused attention for a few moments per day. How is this beneficial? Shouldn´t I come in contact with the spirit world or have a chat with God? I will try to scratch the surface of that later. I am afraid I cannot even put into words the benefits, but I will try.

I know a lot of people get hung up on sitting posture. There is no need to. Just make sure you are comfortable but not so comfortable that you go to sleep. Some people can meditate laying down. I cannot. I will go to sleep. I use a “meditation chair”. It looks like the letter “L” with a pad for the butt. I will admit, I made the investment almost to guarantee that I would stick with meditation for a period of time. I used my cheapness to my advantage. I knew if I spent that money, I would force myself to do it. This worked but by no means do you need fancy pillows or chairs. Before the chair arrived in the mail, I was sitting on a folded blanket and propped my back up on a wall. I had great results.

I have done some experimenting as well. I have used guided meditations with great results. I like the ones called “body scans”. The narrator will have you focus on the different parts of your body and relaxing them. I´ve had some sessions that left me extremely relaxed. There is an app on my phone that I use called Insight Timer. It is a free app. It works as a timer, as the name implies, but there is a wonderful array of guided meditations to follow. Another advantage is that it keeps stats. I love stats, you may or may not. If you don´t, I am pretty sure you can turn this feature off. Even if you cannot, just ignore them!

Another thing I experiment with is binaural beats. I won´t go into what these exactly are. That would be well beyond my pay grade. The Wiki page explains them perfectly. Pretty much, they produce a sound that affects the way you brain functions. Again, Google my friend. I feel I have had pretty good results from these as well. Different frequencies will produce different results such as, relaxation, contemplation, creativity, euphoria, just to name a few. Again, do your research but I recommend them.

What Happened:

So now that you see how easy it is, let´s talk a little about what happens. Of course, results will vary, ask your doctor…oh, wait. The scientific community is pretty much in unison that meditation is beneficial. A simple Google search will give more information on this than you could read in a few incarnations.

First thing I need to express because I saw other people had the same reaction. For the first few days, I actually felt more irritable than usual. I just felt like I was in a really bad mood. Again, this was only for the first few days. It passed and has never happened again.

During the first few weeks, I had some absolutely sublime revelations. They are personal and not Earth shattering so I feel no need to share them here. These have subsided though. They would happen the moment I brought my attention back after it had wandered off. I would label the thought “Past”, “Desire”, “Utility”, etc. and as I realized my mind was wandering and I brought it back either to the mantra or my breath, BAM, I was hit with a deep thought that would resonate with me for days.

Overall I feel more calm in control. I have become a better father to my three year old daughter. How, you ask? Because I don´t lose my temper. Here is one of those places I fear my words will fail me, but I will try to explain. I feel like I understand her more and therefore an action that would anger me in the past does not because I see it for what it is. Maybe she is just exploring her world. That´s why she knocked over the cup of juice, on purpose. Maybe she is just exploring limits, that´s why she continues to bang on the plate after I had asked three times to stop. Also, again, it is hard to explain, I just feel overall more patient. If I miss more than one day of meditation, this is very rare, I feel a little anxiety and a little out of control. This may or may not be some kind of placebo effect but as soon as I get a session in, all feels normal again.

Another thing that I have not really read anywhere else but I have experienced is increased memory. When I read books and watched movies or television series in the past, I would pretty much forget everything, pre meditation days. I have read East of Eden three times and every time felt like the first time. I watched all of Breaking Bad. I loved it. Ask me something about it. I cannot answer it. Now I seem to be able to recall plot points and other details better after viewing something. I think it may be a function of training the mind to be more present and training focus.

I am very early on in this journey. I may write a follow up to this piece a few months from now. I may be able to articulate myself even better or maybe not. I hope if you take anything away from reading this it is, meditation is simple, you can do it, there are many benefits and consistency is key. In fact, it is probably the most important factor. It´s not how you sit, what you mantra is, if you are burning fancy incense. The most important thing is that you are doing it and doing it consistently. At least once daily, preferably twice.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section. I will do my best to answer them. You can also e-mail me. There is a Contact page with my information. I feel that mediation is so important that it should be taught early and often. Kids should be taught meditation, now more than ever. With so many things fighting a war for attention, the loser is attention. It gets so spread thin it is rendered almost useless. Meditation is a way to own your attention and bring it back to health.

Life is Short

10 Dec

Flys

“So how old are you now, Fuli?” Femi asked.
“Fifteen” Fuli answered.
“Fifteen?!?! By your size I thought you were at least 20 days old!” Femi said.
“I get that a lot. Since the family got that new puppy, I´ve been eating a lot” Fuli said proudly.
“Yeah, that little pup leaves meals all over the house! It´s great” Femi said.
Fuli got serious for a moment. “Are you scared?”
“Why would I be?” Femi asked.
“Well, you´ve been around for what, like 28 days? You´re not going to be around much longer. Does that scare you?” Fuli asked.
“You´re too young to be thinking that way. Besides, why be scared of what you cannot control? I look at it this way, I have two glorious days to live. Two days that I get to enjoy the bounty the little dog leaves all over the floor. Two days to see you get even bigger and stronger!” Femi said as a tear rolled down his eye.
“You´re right” said Fuli. “Hmm, what´s that smell? It´s a little sweet…” Fuli began to cough. He felt dizzy. He didn´t notice that his uncle had already fallen to the floor stiff. His world too went black.
As Mandy stood there with the insecticide in her hand she pondered aloud “Why the hell does god put these creatures on Earth anyway?”

Tickling the Ivories

8 Dec

piano

Fran always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Like most people, he convinced himself that people who knew how to play an instrument were “musical”, or possessed some innate talent that he did not posses. Also, like most, he did not know that people who played an instrument, though sometimes possessing some innate musical abilities, simply practiced and practiced and practiced until they became proficient at their craft.

Fran always looked for the easy way in everything he did. He took pills to lose weight, lost thousands of dollars in get rich quick courses and only hooked up with women that came to him. These are just some examples of his mediocre way of doing things. Because there was no apparent easy way to learn the piano he just put off trying and admired those who could from afar.

One day Fran saw an advertisement in the back of his favorite gossip magazine that read: “Learn the secret of musical masters! No need for useless practice. Play your favorite songs in days! No prior skill required.” And there was a P.O. Box to request more information. He found it odd there was no e-mail address or phone number. He was also a little irritated by this as well. Physically sending a letter would be a lot more effort than he was use to expending for any cause. But this was special. This letter could make his dream come true.

A few months past and Fran had forgot that he had sent that life changing letter. He was reminded one day when he came home to a manila envelope addressed to him from the All Star Music Academy. He got very excited. He ripped it open and inside there was a business card with an address, a time and date that was a few days from today and a key, nothing more. The address was in a pretty bad part of town.

Although Fran did have a few reservations he decided that it would be worth any risk to realize his lifelong dream of playing the piano. It did not even cross his mind that such a risk could have been averted and his dream would have been realized by now by simply practicing a paltry twenty minutes a day over the past couple decades.

Fran arrived at the address. The house was not as bad as the ones to the side of it. He approached the door and there was a small hand written sign that read “Enter and take a seat at the piano in the living room”. Fran´s palms started to sweat out of nerves but “here goes nothing” he thought.

On the piano was another hand written note “Take the blue pill in the ashtray and stroke the C key 100 times” Panic struck Fran. Which one was the C key? He looked down. On a tiny bright pink post-it note taped to a key read “C”. Relief passed over him. He gathered enough saliva in his mouth to help the pill go down, inserted it into his mouth and swallowed.

He took a seat at the bench, extended his index finger and pressed down on the yellowed key marked “C”. “Pling” the piano sang. He repeated the process as the note instructed. When he got to 50 he started to feel giddy. The sound of the C note became hilarious. He looked to his finger. It looked to be 100 miles away. He took it off the key for a moment and put it close to his eye but instead of appearing closer, it appeared even further. His gaze turned to the piano, all of a sudden the keys were larger than cars! “What was happening?” he thought. Thoughts started to appear in his head that were clearly not his own but they were in his internal voice.

piano 3

This insanity went on for hours until he fell fast asleep. A few hours later he woke up feeling fine and with a renewed sense of confidence. For some reason he felt great to be alive. He had an energy that he had never felt before. There was another note on the piano. “Go forth and practice” it read.

piano 2

The next day, Fran bought a piano and a book of scales. He practiced the scales incessantly. Every waking moment that he could. When he was not tickling the ivories he did not feel full. In about one year he had mastered all the scales in the book. He played them so beautifully that they almost sounded like songs. He picked up a few more books, one about how to read music and some books of classical sheet music. In another year he was playing Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, and his favorite, the Brazilian composer Vila Lobos.

As he got better at the piano, he got better at all things he did. He became more organized. He stopped reading gossip magazines and instead opted for books. He exercised. He starting eating well. He was in great shape and feeling great.

On a lark he went to a local studio and recorded a few of his favorite songs. He would proudly give copies to his friends and family. One day he got a call. It was an advertising company. They offered him a job as a composer for commercials and to occasionally play in the office during big events. It was triple what he was currently earning in a job he loathed. He accepted the job and accepted his new way of life and succeeded at both.

Heavy Question, Simple Mind

23 Nov

thinker

“Energy drinks! We need to get some energy drinks!” Brad said excitedly.

Jeff paused for a moment soaking in the irony of such and energetic person making such a claim. “You´re too damn hyper as it is, man. Let´s just get a few beers and get out of here”

I want vodka and energy drink. We can get the generic brand. It´s cheap. That with the plastic squeeze bottle of Popov will be cheaper than a twelve pack and get us much more wasted”

Jeff had to admit, he had a point and neither of them had a lot of money on them nor had many prospects for changing that situation.

“Instead of getting drunk tonight, maybe we should do us somethin that´ll make us a little money” Jeff said.

The two looked at each other and started to crack up in the middle of the supermarket.

“Let´s get the damn booze and get the hell out of here” Brad said. “I don´t want to get to the party too late, all the slutty chicks will be with someone already”

Jeff silently agreed and steered them towards the liquor section.

A few moments later the transaction was made and they were on the road mixing a strong communal drink in a discarded McDonald´s cup that Jeff found under his seat.

After taking a deep sip, making a twisted face of horror from the burning sensation in this throat and extending the cup to his good friend since childhood, he pondered aloud “You ever wonder what this is all about? Like why we are here? I´m sure it ain´t to drink cheap vodka and try to make out with girls who are probably worse people than we are”

“Don´t think about it one bit” Brad said honestly.

“Never?” Jeff asked.

“Never. Don´t cross my mind. I think we´s just here to be here. Asking why? Ain´t no point in that” Brad added.

“Ain´t no point in drinking cheap vodka and hooking up with skanky girls neither, now is there?” Jeff said. He took another long deep sip. This time there was no burning. The first sip had already anesthetized  him.

“I guess not” Brad said, getting slightly irritated.

“Fuck it. Let´s put on some music” Jeff offered, noticing the irritation in Brad´s voice.

“That´s more like it! Crank it up!” Brad said, all anger blowing out the window along with the first few puffs of smoke from his freshly lit cigarette.

The party was exceptionally good. Although there weren´t the most attractive women in the world, there were plenty of them and they most certainly weren´t the kind that use good judgment when making decisions.

Brad started sweet talking a woman who could be described as a human sausage for she tried to squeeze much more body than she should have into a younger, thinner woman´s clothes. They started kissing on the couch and Brad suggested they find a place with more privacy. She obliged and they headed upstairs.

They found themselves on the smallest bed in the house. It was the host´s four year old daughter´s room. The question Jeff proposed kept echoing in Brad´s head. What was the point of all this?

As things progressed, she asked if Brad had a condom. Of course he didn´t and she said she didn´t mind. She couldn´t get pregnant anyway. She mentioned something about a botched surgery involving a severe case of HPV.

As the woman started to undo Brad´s pants it was painfully obvious that Brad´s manhood was not as into this fine woman as much as Brad´s cheap vodka soaked brain was.

“What´s the matter hun? Drink too much?” she asked.

Brad was aloof. What was the goddamn point of all this? Jeff ruined his night. He apologized, put the rest of his clothes back on and just left the party. He didn´t even tell Jeff he was leaving.

Three months later Brad was at an AA meeting receiving a chip symbolizing 90 days of not drinking. He just shared how frustrated he was by his day at his work training program but that he was grateful that he was able to resist the urge to go to the liquor store and continue on his new path. He still hadn´t talked to Jeff since that night he proposed that heavy question. Brad was no closer to having an answer either but he felt that maybe, just maybe if he lowered his head and pushed through life, a hint would come his way.

 

Overboard

19 Nov

sea night

 

The trip was one year in the making. It was not even paid off. There were two more installments to go. That was all forgotten at the present moment. While walking around the bow of the ship there was a great explosion that threw Mark, Rachel and Laura, their three year old daughter, off the deck they were on and onto a lower deck that was not for cruise passengers but for maintenance personnel only. Mark looked around frantically for anything that could float. He knew that normal evacuation protocol would not apply to him as there was a growing fire between him and the deck where staff was trying to get more passengers onto life boats. More explosions went off. More fires raged. People were plunging into the sea in flames.

Mark found two round life saver floats with about two meters of rope attached to them. He tied the ropes together and instructed his estranged girl friend of ten years to jump over board.

“What about Laura?” she cried.

“I´ll jump with her. Go!” he commanded.

She usually didn´t heed a word he said but in this instance, she jumped. From the deck to the sea was about two and a half meters. In normal circumstances Rachel would have been afraid to take such a plunge but given these circumstances her survival instincts kicked in and she just went for it. Mark threw the life saver down to her and she immediately grabbed it. Laura was screaming uncontrollably and Mark made a promise to her that everything would be ok and made the jump. Though he was not sure what the outcome would be, he meant his promise.

Mark was first surprised by how cold the water was. The weather had been so hot to this point. When he came up for air he held Laura over his head. He was an excellent swimmer. He was one of the top players on his water polo team in high school and never lost the love he had for the water. While treading water with his baby over his head he spotted Rachel. He made his way to the other life saver tethered to the one Rachel was clinging onto to with all her might.

Mark put Laura into the life saver. She was no longer crying. She thought they were playing now. “Let´s get away from the ship! We can risk getting hit by debris if it keeps exploding” Mark said.

Rachel was impressed. Mark was never one to take charge of anything. Not even the bank account. It was one of the things that annoyed her about him. And the fact that she, on occasion, would let him know that she did not think he was a real man was one of the things that most annoyed him about her. She saw this man taking charge of the situation and could not help, despite the dire situation, but to feel a spark of attraction to Mark. A spark from the fire that was long extinguished made a faint temporary flash in a dark corner of her heart.

With a lot of work, they made their way about 300 meters from the ship. It was far enough for the ship to look smaller in the distant horizon. There were emergency flares going off and there were explosions and they were both happening with enough frequency to the point that they were indistinguishable from one another. The ship started to sink. Slowly at first, then more rapidly. In a few hours, which to the trio, seemed like an eternity, the ship was completely gone. It was sucked in by the black eternity that surrounded them. Blackness was their reality. Liquid black that they were suspended on the surface of that went to infinity below their feet. In the vertical horizon 360 degrees around them the blackness went until the end of time. Looking up was the most magnificent thing that any of them has ever behold in their very brief time on this finite planet.

A treasure chest of diamonds that would have made any king throughout history dispatch an army to seize, yet was unattainable by man. The blackness dripped from them. In the blackness, the water was like crude oil.

There was no speaking among them. They all knew what the other was thinking which was exactly what they were thinking. They were going to die here. What was supposed to be a respite from the dreary day to day doldrums of a life they were stuck in was going to kill them. Mark even chuckled at the thought that this was probably the ultimate escape. Vacations are just that, right? An escape from life, he thought. If your life was great, you would not need to spend a lot of money to make believe for a week you lived a different way. But now he would not have to go back to a life that he pretended was not his, just to get through the day.

These thoughts were clouded by fear. When Mark thought about the leagues of water underneath him and how this was the universe of a completely different ecosystem which he had no idea about, fear overwhelmed every emotion. Laura was sleeping as they were able to position her in a way where she was barely in the water. Rachel was in a state of shock. Mark envied this state. He was fully aware. His senses were keen and the fear was so strong it hurt. He started to feel creatures, not even of natural science, but sea monsters and demons, swimming towards them. Little did he know there was nothing in the surrounding few kilometer radius around them but that did not stop his mind from creating monsters. Every once in a while he would jerk his legs up as he felt something grab his ankles.

This lasted for hours. All of a sudden, as if God himself appeared in front of him, the first rays of the sun peaked over the eastern horizon. He started to scream. “DAY! DAY! We’re gonna live!”

Rachel came to enough to ask “What makes you so sure?”

“We made it through the night. The sea told me that if we kept it together through the night we´d make it”

This provoked many questions for Rachel but she decided to let it go. She had not the strength nor the wherewithal to propose such questions.

In what felt like a much longer time than truly transpired the sun finally rose above the horizon. The black turned to blue. From death to life. Mark felt revitalized. He was now able to see a few of the life boats in the distance. How could he get their attention he thought. Then he realized. He was wearing his expensive watch which he only wore on special occasions and vacations. Because there were few special occasions, it really was reserved only for vacations.

He waited for the sun to rise a little more and he started to try to reflect its light off the watch´s crystal. It worked but the beam was not reaching the life boats. He gathered the energy from the deep blue sea he was floating in to slowly swim towards the boats, every once in a while trying to shine the light from the sun off his swatch to get the boats attention. He noticed that the light was making its way to the side of the boat! This gave him hope.

Than as if it were an illusion, one of the boats looked as if it turned towards them and started coming closer. He shined the reflection frantically. It was coming towards them! They would be saved after all. As if all the fear he felt the night before turned into hope he too started towards the boats with a renewed fervor.

Before long the boat was close enough that he heard the voices of the passengers. He was far from a religious man but he screamed louder than he ever screamed before “Hallelujah!”

As he helped hoist Laura up into the arms of the rescuers, then Rachel, then himself he thought to himself “The next forever starts now.”

 

Day Trippin

7 Nov

psch cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a normal day for Sphynx, the black tabby house cat. A day consisting of laying around and occasionally licking herself. During one vigorous paw licking session, a movement caught her eye. That´s strange, she thought. All the people had left for the day. She had the house to herself. Again,a blur streaked across the floor. Oh damn, she thought. Another mouse. The people are going to expect her to do something about this. Oh how she hated being bothered by such things as mice.

She noticed that the mouse was coming and going under the poorly installed piece of baseboard at one particular spot. She decided to wait out the mouse there. At least she could get her quota of relaxing in as she waited. She waited and waited. She even fell asleep while on sentry. She was in a deep slumber when she was gently awoken with taps on her nose.

She slowly opened her eyes and was shocked to find it was the mouse, tap, tap, tapping.

“I´m sorry to bother you ma’am but I cannot seem to find a water source in this house” the mouse said.

You´ve got to be kidding me Sphynx thought. “What?” was the only thing that Sphynx was able to mutter.

“Well, I´ve found food in the western part of the house but I have yet to find water” the mouse said.

“Surely you are not asking this because you plan on staying long term. As the cat of the house I cannot allow that!” Sphynx said.

“You see, winter is setting in and the food at the last house I was staying at got tainted. I would eat it and hallucinate something crazy. The same food killed the rest of my family but I would eat it and see things and hear things. Beautiful things, sometimes awful things. It was no way to live!”

“Well I´m sorry but you cannot stay here. Either you leave peacefully or I´ll have to take care of you” Sphynx said, making air quotes during the last part.

“Can´t you just let me wait out the winter? I promise I´ll leave” the mouse pleaded.

Sphynx thought it over. He felt bad for the mouse. He had lost his family and all and furthermore, he dreaded the idea of actually having to do something.

“I´ll make a deal, you can stay but if the people see you, you either have to leave or I´ll be forced to take care of you” Sphynx said with more air quotes around, take care of you.

“Deal”.

The winter passed and the mouse proved to be great company. He was very intelligent and well spoken. He could tell a story like none other. But what Sphynx wanted to hear most was about the mouse´s psychedelic trips. The mouse relayed stories of how time and space melted and that the lessons of love and connection he experienced. Sphynx grew more and more curious about the trips and how they could help him with his existential questions.

Spring came and one morning the mouse came to Sphynx. “A deal is a deal my friend. Spring is here. I guess I´ll be moving on.”

“Listen, I like you here. If you can continue to stay out of the eye of the people, for me, you can stay” Sphynx said.

“Really?”

“Yeah, but could you do me a favor? I want to be taken to the center of the universe as well! Can you go back to the other house and bring me back some of that food?” Sphynx asked.

“Sure I could, but it could be dangerous. Everybody else who ate it died!” the mouse said, truly concerned for his friend.

“That´s the risk I am willing to take to become enlightened” Sphynx said.

The day came. The mouse procured a decent amount of the magical food. It was a green, hard little rectangle the size of a matchbox and it smelled a little like peanut butter.

“How much did you eat?” Sphynx asked the mouse.

“Oh, just a little. We only nibbled on it” the mouse answered.

“I am bigger than you so I should take at least double. Actually I am many times your size, I´ll start with three times as much as you ate” Sphynx said.

“I don´t think that´s a good idea!” the mouse said.

“It´s ok. Take some with me. I don´t want to trip alone. You can guide me considering you have done this before” Sphynx said.

“Ok” said the mouse as they consumed their alloted dose of the magic food.

The mouse started to see the geometric patterns that he had grown accustomed to. Everything turned into right angles. He started to giggle. He had even forgot about his friend Sphynx. He was riding high on his journey when his thoughts went to his friend. He looked over. Sphynx was lying on his side. Must have passed out, he thought. Good for him.

When the mouse came to he went over to his friend who was in the same position as during the peak of his trip. He gently rapped his nose. Nothing. A little foam had formed at the corners of Sphinx’s mouth. The mouse grew desperate. Oh no! What had he done. He had killed his best friend in the whole world.

All of a sudden the mouse heard a shriek. “EEK, A MOUSE!” and his world went black.

With mascara tears dripping down her face and a broom in her hand, Sally could not believe that a mouse had killed her cat.