Voices on the Wind
Missive (I) from an Agent
by Nadine Lockhart
There was a woman—a grown woman, middle-aged, whose elderly mother kept asking her to move in. They never got along,
but the mother had long forgotten this fact and remembered a contrary history. She couldn’t understand her daughter’s
current resistance and insistence that they couldn’t be in the same house for even a single day the last time they were
together, which was after the father died.
When her father was dying, the daughter did not go to see him one last time—people often talk about that time as if
it were something special. It might be, but she’d never know because she avoided it first by distance, living so far
away; then by time, using an obligation of sorts as an obstacle. He waited.
There was some kind of misunderstanding, she thought, when he crossed over. A social worker in his room said the daughter
was coming; the social worker mentioned the daughter by name. The father was unconscious or semi-conscious or fully
conscious but no one could make the determination. When he heard the daughter’s name, he was gone. The daughter believes
this: He was conscious enough to mistake her name for her actual presence, and thus the final visit fulfilled, he left.
He spoke to her after he died. In the car when she was driving. He wanted her to know that he was not her father . . .
oh, in this life, yes, a part he played, a limited role. Their connection was something other. That was all he wanted
her to know.
Another time, he blew the wind through her hair when she went walking.
Who could she tell? What an odd way to think, she thought, this need or habit to share an experience.
Her mother weighed on her. She could be destroyed by her mother or at least distracted enough to destroy herself in error,
if only to prove the point.
Move in with her mother? It would be her death. Are the Fates conspiring to tell her something? Time’s up? This is how the
mind works—if given the reins, it spirals downward by its own inclination. Its nature is to go negative. To create fear
and its little henchperson, worry. This is the whole of life for many.
Kabir the Indian Mystic once said, “If you are still afraid to die, you cannot call yourself a lover.” When the woman
was young, she confided in someone, a messenger of sorts, that she was afraid to die. He laughed and said, “You’re as
dead as you’ll ever be.” And for one moment, she understood . . .