I know what you’re thinking. You’re assuming that the email, apparently sent to yourself from yourself, must have been a prank from someone who found your keyboard available and then pretended it was you typing. That could never deceive someone with your photographic recall. I have to say, your response–delivered as if you really thought that a part of your psyche had gone AWOL and you were calling it back like a lost lamb, was a tour de force. But it is your energy I envy. Mine is seeping away with each key stroke.
I only met you a few times, but even then, I was impressed with your energy. I tried to say that in my earlier email but, judging from what you wrote in response, chuckling to yourself all the while (which I can attest, since I was sitting on the visitor chair beside your desk as you typed), it all seemed a great joke to you, in the tradition of watercooler chats—which, of course, take place in our offices at BOAR U (Barack Obama Academy of Redemption).
You may not remember me, but I was a tenured professor in the Finance Department across the duck pond from you. We only crossed paths at university functions—since Integral Philosophy has little common ground with the ducks-in-a-row world of dual entry bookkeeping. As the living often say, we only met a couple of times ‘in passing’. But since passing over to the other side, I’ve been thinking of you more than I did during my embodied life, when I could so easily have dropped by and knocked on your door. All I would have had to do is walk past the duck pond to your building, just a short distance from mine.
Speaking of ducks-in-a-row, I’ve been hanging out at the duck pond, where an old friend of mine still remembers me. When I used to eat my lunch by the pond, she would watch as more aggressive ducks snatched up the offerings of the lunch crowd. But I learned to toss a piece of bread so it would land directly in front of her. And now she still senses my presence.
Carrying a piece of bread is even more challenging than typing on this keyboard; and I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. There’s one couple who are probably still talking about the piece of bread they saw floating through the air on a windless afternoon. I’ve stayed away from the pond since. We are not supposed to draw attention to ourselves and can lose access to our old haunts if we do. Not that I will be here much longer. I’m just so tired.
That’s when I went into your building and, when I saw your desktop screen displaying your email inbox, I decided to communicate with you.
I must have mentioned the fatigue that is seeping into my being in my first e-mail, because in your response you asked me what I have to be so tired about. I guess you took me to be one of your students. dropping off a paper. But it was me, an 84-year-old recently deceased professor of accounting. I can assure you that I’ve earned my exhaustion. Not just in my last lifetime but in the corridors of eternity, where each wrong-spirited decision returns until we finally take a better road. All those lives lived as if each one is all there is–I wish I could leave myself a message to finally develop those neglected parts of myself. I think that’s why I’ve noticed you. You seem to have remembered something about that longer sweep of time.
In these lingering moments of a life now over, being recognized and welcomed by my old duck friend means so much. It’s not only that she makes this world feel friendlier–a place worth coming back to—but she reminds me that my past life wasn’t just a string of entries in the debit and credit columns. I sometimes cared for the beings whom I met during the time I was here.