I pick up my pen and press it to paper. I am not alone. My grandmother is with me like old times, giving me silent encouragement as I write my essay in longhand – longhand first, and then I’ll type it. Grandma says that writing stimulates one part of the brain while typing stimulates another.
Grandma died three years ago, but her death never stopped her from visiting me. Her graying hair is gathered in a loose updo. She wears a worn paisley shawl about her shoulders. Grandma swivels her sweet face toward me.
Amber, my orange tabby, gazes at me, too. She’s perched on Grandma’s lap. She passed away a year after Grandma. Amber meows a hello. I wink at her and sip a cup of rich hot chocolate that tastes velvety sweet.
Their presence is subtle, not jarring or intrusive. I only know they’re present if I’m still and in a contemplative mood. Grandma’s voice is not audible, but I hear it in my mind and my heart.
She knows I’m working on my college entrance paper. I glance at what I’ve written so far. It’s not much. I sigh and gnaw a thumbnail. You’re doing fine, honey. I hear Grandma’s voice in my mind. Thanks, Grandma, I answer silently.
My situation is that I always had questions about the world. Don’t we all? However, I think my questions were, and still are, more deep and desperate, and endless. I believe I see the world much differently than most people. I see the world vividly, as though I live in the Metaverse. The colors I see dance with life.
When I first learned about dinosaurs, I was fascinated. I could almost feel, or feel, their rough textured skin. The stertorous breathing of the Earth lizards rattled my eardrums, and I got more than a whiff of their wild scent.
A popular theory is that the dinosaur died out because a meteor hit the Earth, causing their extinction. Another popular theory suggests that a volcanic eruption cause their death. Of course, there are other theories. All I can think of regarding these amazing creatures is, what a loss!
When I was younger, Grandma often took me to visit colleges. She felt I would do well in that atmosphere since my yearning for knowledge was insatiable. As she expected, I loved the campuses. The environments teemed with information – information that seemed to travel on blue currents, buzzing about in all directions. I could almost see and hear the professors giving lectures. I could imagine his thought forms. “Someday, you will walk halls like these,” Grandma use to say, her voice ringing with certainty.
I read about a phenomenon known as the Florence Syndrome. This is when someone sees an image or object so beautiful to them that it causes their heart to beat fast, or even causes them to faint. I’ve often experienced a rapid heartbeat. I’ve never fainted, though, but I’ve come close.
I pause to down more hot chocolate. I glance at Grandma who mouths: You're more than half done, honey. Keep going. I give her a thumbs up. I often wonder why grandmas are sooo special. Is it because they are just aging girls, still made of sugar and spice, and everything nice?
I grip my pen and press it to the paper again. I’ve heard students say that art helps them to de-stress, and that art is therapy. Is it because no one can say that what a person draws or paints is right or wrong, and therefore the artist is less afraid of criticism?
Is it true that great artists and others who are accomplished in their field have probably suffered tremendous hardship, causing them to isolate themselves and turn inward? Does going inward cause them to touch the hem of a Divine power that gives them a lifelong talent?
Amber steps onto my lap and pins me with her eyes. Ah, she’s gazing into my soul. Hmmm, do cats have souls? Why do they say cats have nine lives? I do not remember when Amber lost her other eight, just the one when I had to put her down.
I feel and hear a flurry of questions rise inside me, like the wings of a flapping pterosaur. Google answers many of my questions, but not all. I would like to hear answers from a human voice.
My questions cannot be contained: What’s inside a wormhole? Do we live forever? Are there other humanlike species on other planets? Why do rabbits breed so fast? What’s the purpose of dreams? Do women now get equal pay for the same job that men do? Is time travel possible? Is it true that people who are good at math tend to be good musicians?
Grandma seems to pull her paisley shawl tighter about her shoulders. She pats my hand and infers, That’s enough, child. I give Grandma a virtual hug and blow a kiss at Amber. I sip my hot chocolate.
I put down my pen.