Never Walk with the Dead

Suzanna woke up in the middle of the night with cold sweats pouring over her body. Space around her was dark and unfamiliar. She slowly moved her gaze around the room over unfamiliar furnishings. She noticed a glimmer of light peeking through a crack in a curtain draped over a full-wall window.

This is not my house, where am I? Why the cold sweats? Am I sick, am I unwell? How did I get here? I was sitting on a bench with my ex-husband and my mother. It was a comfortable bench in a park under a tree, a luscious green tree with thick waxy leaves. A soft wind was blowing and the leaves were shimmering in the wind composing a melody like wooden-pipe chimes. We were talking, talking about I cannot recall what. Why was I sitting on a bench with my ex-husband, we do not communicate anymore and my mother! My mother is dead, she has been dead for many years now. I was in a park on a bench with my ex-husband and my dead mother, how bizarre!

I remember the sky changing from a soft blue with puffy white clouds into a darker gray. My mother asked me to take a walk with her, so we stepped away from the bench leaving my ex-husband behind and walked towards the sea. There was a sea; hmm, so we were on a coast. The beach by the sea was cold a drizzly, it made me think of what I imagine English beaches like dark, moist, cold and generally unpleasant. We were walking but did not really converse or at least I do not remember having a conversation, all I remember is the dreary scenery. My mood was very neutral, regardless of the weather and the bizarre situation, I was not unhappy, I was not sad, I just was – I was just walking. The sky and the sea started to swirl with shades of gray, the cold wetness penetrated me to the bone, it made me feel uncomfortable. My mother said to me: you should not walk with the dead. I remained silent so she repeated changing the words ever so slightly: you should never walk with the dead, and again, never walk with the dead. Now I am here in this dark room drenched in cold sweat. Why am I here? Where am I and how did I get here? You should not walk with the dead.

Flight, hotels, presentations, business dinners; I am on a business trip. I am in a hotel, so I am safe. Good! I am safe! Chicago then Austin, now San Jose. I am in San Jose, California and I am safe sleeping in a hotel room. Never walk with the dead! Never walk with the dead! There will be a customer presentation today and a fancy customer dinner. High priced restaurant, expensive wine then hurry to the airport and transition to the next city and repeat. Never walk with the dead. What is the meaning of this message? “You should never walk with the dead.”

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