Thunder echoed down the Intracoastal Waterway, toward the harbor. I gazed past my reflection, out the window behind me. The palm trees held still and the cabin cruisers neither rocked nor swayed. Like the pounding of a giant wave’s lazy fall, thunder rolled in from the Gulf of Mexico. “Crack,” a bolt severed the sky. Sleepy clouds leaked a warm, drizzly rain. I imagined a curtain to the heavens rolling back with each thunder, mimicking the opening vibration of the sliding glass doors, so heavy, to withstand hurricane force winds. Pat, my mother-in-law, loved her waterfront condo, which is ours now. She loved storms because they caused beautiful shells to wash ashore Johnson Beach.
And she loved her neighbors, especially Kendra who called her Miss Pat. It’s been almost three summers since she passed. Also gone is my husband’s only sibling, a pre-med Eagle Scout who barely reached his twentieth year, and their father who died when his sailboat capsized during a fast, violent storm, quite opposite from the mellow one which unfolded before my eyes. Pictures of them surrounded me as I sat at Pat’s dressing table writing on my laptop. She smiled at me in every decade. Another streak of electricity severed the sky, wildly untamed, yet kin to the source illuminating my screen’s white light. I sensed a communication as if multiple flows of electrical energy had synched. Pat seemed to say, “I’m happy you love all I loved. Tell my son he is not alone.” Her email account and cell numbers have long since been deleted from all our electronic devices. And, my hands were not even on the keys or mouse when a ‘Compose Mail’ filled the screen, eclipsing my work. Pat’s email address appeared on the ‘To’ line, autofilled, I can only imagine, by the motherboard. I blinked, disbelieving. It confirmed our communication and invited me to reply. “Thank you. I will tell him,” I wrote, then, whispered, “I love you,” and hit ‘send’.
“If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical and
scientific to assume that it retains memory, intellect and other faculties and
knowledge that we acquire on this Earth. Therefore, if personality exists after
what we call death, it is reasonable to conclude that those who leave this Earth
would like to communicate with those they have left here… I am inclined to
believe that our personality hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this
reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be
affected or moved or manipulated… by our personality as it survives in the next
life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something”.
Thomas Alva Edison, Scientific American, 30 October, 1920.