Yesterday's entry wasn't too far off the mark. After what felt like a panic (anxiety) attack, I dressed and headed out with my granny cart to shop for food and party favors.
Prior to leaving the apartment it felt as if something or someone was blocking my exit. I've disclosed to a few people that I had (have) a ghost in my apartment. I sensed that he died in this apartment and hasn't resolved to walk into the light. He's not malevolent, just lonely and stubborn. I sensed that the African American male died in his fifties of a heart attack.
This may sound very infomercial or psychic friends network, but I tested my theory with two people. The first was a healer here in New York who does Automatic Writing wherein she connects on a higher plane while a client asks questions. She sits at her laptop and transcibes answers to a client's questions. One of my questions or cloudy areas was the feeling that I didn't reside here alone (not counting the cats and tropical fish). Flash forward: The force, spirit, confirmed through this mystic that there was a presence in my apartment and that I would have to overcome my fear and reticence if I ever wanted to rid my apartment of him. I have a printout of our session for the naysayers out there.
The second person to confirm and actually help on a spiritual level was a shapeshifter from Texas, Wolfsong. She's a mixture of Native American, Chinese, and Hawaiin. She's able to travel through the eyes of animals to distant places. While we were chatting on an instant messenger, she traveled to the apartment to out-ghost the ghost. I know it to be true because it was one of the few occasions my oldest cat ran from the kitchen to my home office at the opposite end of the apartment. She'd seen something and fled to me. Wolfsong had entered the apartment and described what she saw as she looked around.
Please, no one call a therapist or medical doctor. I've still my wits about me. I've not gone off the deep end. She's told me things that only I or my family could have known. There were no slight-of-hand parlor or carnival tricks. She told me of health concerns back then that were true. She told me about a protection mask that prevented her from seeing things here in my home office. I was drawn to this mask years ago while on vacation in the Dominican Republic, along with a sarong. Or perhaps the mask called out to me?
Back to yesterday. I couldn't move from my seat to begin cleaning, rearranging furniture, and stuffing items into bags and under the bed, out of the way of guests. A wave of emotion swept over me. I just knew there'd be hell to pay if I forged ahead with the small dinner party. I've overcome the desire for large scale parties in my budget-sized apartment.
I prayed. I had to fight whatever it was that was ailing me and/or my apartment. I looked at my candles with blessing oil from a local botanica purchased a week before. I inhaled and smelled the lingering sage incense bought days before from yet another botanica in Spanish Harlem. I would wage war against this pesky presence and have a dinner party despite his contrary intentions.
Walking out the door, I breathed deeply. First major hurdle overome. Stopped off at discount store and bought a white and purple candle, no blessing oil. I made my way downtown to grocery store one, back up to wine store, on to grocery stores two and three.
Over my proposed budget, I returned home with granny cart filled to the top, store bought birthday cake (sounds of my mother shrieking in my head), and set up transforming the apartment into a party atmosphere.
Second flash forward: Jorge arrived to help clean and calm my nerves. Once the apartment was in good physical shape, showers out of the way, we set about dicing, chopping, and cooking. At 8 p.m., not one platter or dish was set. I reasoned that people refuse to show up at the scheduled time because they don't want to look desperate or pathetic. No one was here at 8:15, 8:30, 8:45 p.m., but I continued to chop, dice, stir. Jorge did his best to distract me. His plan was that we'd eat the food, watch a movie, and then go walking if no one materialized by 10 p.m.
Pause. Benedetta arrived at 9 p.m., and Jorge shot me a look: see, now, relax. You are loved. A half-hour later Luisa from my fiction critique group arrived, followed by Tanyika.
I bought and prepared too much food in that southern cook by sight, smell, taste, and you know folks will eventually eat.
I am grateful for the guests who showed up: Benedetta, Tanyika, Hadiza, Luisa, Jorge, and Tyrone. It was in fact a small dinner party. We talked about religion/ceremony, movies, overcoming fears, and whether there was actually a female Pope.
Last night's gathering will go down as a success. I harbor no ill-will nor will publicly ridicule those who RSVP'd and called with last minute lame excuses, nor those who didn't have the courtesy (decency) to call. Life's too short to hold grudes. I consider myself fair. I'll invite everyone to my next Sunday Gospel Brunch in a month. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Anyone want a slice of birthday cake and ice cream? We were engrossed in conversation, food, hot spiced apple cider, and African rum, that I forgot about bringing out the cake and ice cream. I'll take the cake to my GED class this coming Tuesday as a reward for those who took last week's cumulative exam.
P.S. I joked with Benedetta and Jorge about my doing the same thing to those who didn't show up to the dinner party as Melissa Sue Anderson did in Happy Birthday To Me.