UPDATE: ALL THE STORIES IN MY NOVEL ARE TRUE.
Less than a year before my Dad died, I was seeing a great guy. His wife had died and because we were friends for about 10 years, the inevitable happened. We kept it a secret for his sake because even though she'd been sick for a long time, his wife had only recently died and he was so sad and miserable that I didn't want to hurt him further by not doing as he asked.
Having sex with a person you've been friends with is very strange when you've only known them with their clothes on. What if we got naked, had sex and it was all a big mistake and we both knew it and now we had to go back to a fully clothed relationship? How was that ever going to work? You could never even glance below their waist for the rest of your life, even if their legs were on fire.
With alcohol, that's how it's done.
How do female movie stars agree to nudity in front of an entire crew? I wonder if that’s why male actors rarely do. You'd think men would, since every body part is multiplied by the multiplex, not to mention the camera puts on fifteen pounds. Everywhere.
The first time I went to his house I was overwhelmed. Did he look around and still see his wife? Were there pictures on the wall or clothes in the closet that belonged to her? Could I move something without him saying, “Please don’t touch that.” I walked around like a tourist. Oohing and aahing and feeling like an interloper in Ozzie and Harriet’s house. Only Harriet was dead and I was the whore of Babylon.
Afterwards, I was in the kitchen rinsing dishes while he dried. The TV in the dining room was on a sports channel and he was watching out of the corner of his eye and talking to me at the same time. All of a sudden the TV shut down, went dark. He walked over to it, picked up the remote, clicked to another channel and it went on. Then another channel and it went on. But when he clicked back to the sports channel it was still blank. He fingered the remote and and then locked eyes with me.
“I know who this is.”
"It's obviously my wife."
I knew it too but if I said something, would he think I was crazy? He believed it, surely I could too? He was convinced it was her because he watched sports all the time and what better way to get his attention? And it had never happened before she died.
I was at my house one night, sitting on a chair watching a rental movie. I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. I kept wondering if our relationship would go anywhere. I was, after all, a rebound and I was terrified he'd figure that out and move on. And as I watched the movie, the VCR stopped playing and the noise of a television show blared through. The VCR then turned itself off. And I knew at that moment that there was someone else present. Pushing STOP and then pushing OFF were two different movements and I was nowhere near the remote or the TV. I’d had the VCR for seven years and it had never done that. And of course it never did it again.
Was his wife visiting me? Checking out my place, noticing if I was neat or messy? Looking at my shoes? I knew some spirits moved objects around, even threw things. Did they steal overpriced shoes still collecting interest on my Amex card?
A few days later, back at his house, we were upstairs in the master bedroom, standing in front of a large cabinet that housed a television. We were hugging and swaying and looking into each other’s eyes. We had a chemistry I'd never had before and will probably never have again. We could not keep our hands off each other.
Suddenly the television started to inch forward. Inch by calculated inch. It was on one of those wooden platforms that glide in and out. We stopped swaying and watched as the TV became fully extended on the platform and then stopped right in front of us. He pushed it back into the hutch and didn't say a word.
One night I was ironing his suit jacket and he was in the bathroom shaving. I had the TV on and when he came out of the bathroom he switched the channel to a ballgame. He did that all the time. I could have any station on and be seriously into it and he would just walk over and turn it back to his channel, or pick up the remote and switch it. It never bothered me because when he was near me, everything else drained from my agenda. I was more than just in love. I'd never felt that way about any man before. I was in serious trouble and I knew it. So we watched the ball game for a while and then he went back into the bathroom to dry his hair.
I changed the channel back to whatever I was watching and continued to iron. After a few minutes I heard the blow dryer stop. He came out of the bathroom and walked over to a chair and picked up the remote. He switched the TV back to his game. He looked over at me and I smiled at him. He smiled back.
Suddenly the TV went dark. Stopped. He tapped on the remote and looked over at me.
“Seems this keeps happening to us," he said, laughing a little.
“Looks that way.”
“You know who this is too, don't you?” he asked.
I couldn't breathe but I nodded yes.
“I don’t think it’s good; not a good thing at all.”
But I knew it was. If it hadn’t been, she would have thrown the TV at our heads. I was suddenly glad I hadn’t told him about the VCR turning itself off in my place. I knew she was trying to get our attention, or tell us something, but what? And how could I tell the love of my life that it was a good thing? How could his darling wife being dead ever be good in any lifetime and on any planet?
And especially with me saying it?
This entire week's posts are excerpts from my novel on reincarnation, His Dead Wife. It has been truncated and some of the names have been omitted for this online version.