The Holiday Visitor
Tales from the Mind Field
THE HOLIDAY VISITOR
Copyright 2013 R.M. Villoria
This story is the property of R.M Villoria. No portions of this story may be performed, reproduced or added to by any means or disclosed to, quoted or published in any medium without the express written consent of R.M. Villoria
It was November of 72’; I remember it easily as the same year I quit smoking, drinking and drinking coffee; though I have now fallen off the proverbial wagon as far as coffee is concerned. I was working at a large retail outfit getting ready for the coming holidays. It was on one quiet afternoon that I experienced a phenomenon that proved to be more common than imagined.
You’ve had it happen I’m sure. You’re someplace, anyplace and you see a dark shadow of sorts out of your peripheral vision, maybe even right in front of you. You don’t give it a lot of thought until that day or maybe the next day or two you learn that someone you know has died. You give it some thought perhaps and then simply dismiss it as nothing. I myself have had this happen on more than one occasion. The first time that I was truly cognizant of this phenomenon, I was standing at the copy machine where several of the sales offices were built along the perimeter. I stood in front of one such office looking straight ahead making copy after copy for one of our client companies that had requested copies of all of their statements for the year so they could reconcile their records. There was no one in the office at the time and the lights were out so the glass window in front of me created more of a reflection than anything. I noticed it was 2:30 in the afternoon on the clock above the machine. As I stood there making copies, I glanced up and saw the shadow of a figure behind me. I spoke, “I’ll be done here in a moment” and I was. As I turned around, there was no one there. In fact, there was no one within 100 feet or more. Odd I thought, and went about my business. The next day my brother called me there at work to inform me that my mother had died.
“Oh no” I said, “When did it happen?”
“Around 2 or 2:30 the day before.” came his reply.
He inquired whether I would be able to go to Phoenix and begin attending to Mom’s affairs, as he was tied up in corporate meetings and wouldn’t be able to leave until later in the week. I agreed, and so later that evening I prepared to drive to Phoenix to attend to things related to my mother’s death. It was on the drive that night somewhere on the Pearblossom highway that I began thinking about the shadow I had seen that afternoon and it struck me that the time my brother had told me Mom had died was exactly the time I saw that shadow behind me.
As the years went by, I heard and read many more stories about people who had experienced similar situations, only adding credence to the notion that death may well visit prior to its actual arrival.
Coincidentally, a few days before Christmas in 1980 I was dating a gal who was open to my theories about the matter. One evening while we were sitting on the couch in her living room, she abruptly disengaged from our “hugging”, to exclaim, “Did you see that?” I honestly had to say that I hadn’t since I had been similarly engrossed in our… uh, shall we say, “hugging?
She swore that she saw a dark figure move across the room and then disappear. Pathetically, so chivalrous was I at the time, I acknowledged that, in fact, it was possible that she might have seen such an apparition, but that she shouldn’t give too much thought to it at that very moment since there were much more gratifying things going on between us. Anyway, two days later she called me crying. Her father in Colorado had died two nights ago. Okay, that got my attention and I talked with her at length about how that was actually a good thing that she had perhaps been “witness to the actual time of her father’s passing. I accompanied her to the funeral where she told family and friends of her “visit”. Some believed it to be interesting, while a few simply shook their heads in wonderment.
It was several years later as I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping at the mall on my way to my sister’s house for some holiday cheer that I seemingly had yet another experience. Yes, this time I saw it again. In the window reflection at Macy’s; there it was, a dark shadow over my left shoulder. It passed right over me and suddenly shot upward. I turned to see, but there was nothing there. A shiver went down my spine as I immediately reflected on the past experiences I have had. I wondered who it might be. Someone I know? Someone close to me? What a terrible time of the year to lose someone, right at what’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year and suddenly someone dies. Although now feeling a bit down from my thoughts, I finished my shopping and walked out to the parking lot. I decided that I wouldn’t speak of this incident to anyone tonight so as not to put a damper on the party atmosphere with my sister’s guests. The parking lot was filled with shoppers going to and fro with their packages. I could not, however, shake the thought that someone somewhere was going to be crying this holiday season.
The commotion ahead distracted me from my thoughts momentarily as I witnessed several people rush to the aid of someone who had apparently been struck by a car in the parking lot. A small crowd had now gathered around whomever it was that lay on the ground. The wale of a distant emergency vehicle told me that it must have been serious. I reached my car just steps before them and seeing that the situation was clearly being handled appropriately, and also remembering that I was already late to my sister’s gathering, quickly got into my car so as not to be held up any further.
I arrived at my sister’s home around 9:30. Everyone else had arrived much earlier. As I walked in, I was taken by how quiet it seemed for a holiday party. I immediately saw my sister sobbing as she was being held by her husband. My brother was sitting on the couch, his head down in his hands. Several others of her guests were somber and whispering quietly among themselves. There it was I thought thinking back on my “vision” from only an hour earlier. Once again, I had experienced that moment perhaps when someone we knew had lost his or her life.
“Sis” I called out as I dropped my packages and stepped further into the room, “Who is it? Tell me what happened.”
Her grief was I guess too much for her to even hear me and respond. John, her husband, slowly looked up and stared past me. He too seemed overwhelmed at the loss of whoever it was. No one was speaking, even when I addressed a couple sitting next to my brother on the couch. Everyone seemed entirely consumed by the loss of someone they all must have known. I sat down on the piano seat in the corner and just waited. I finally addressed my brother. “Richard” I began, “Who is it? Who died?” His head slowly rose from his hands as he seemingly acknowledged that he had heard me though he looked away towards my sister.
“Richard” I repeated, “Tell me.” He got up slowly and without speaking walked over to my sister and put his arms around she and her husband. Why was no one speaking to me? I wondered. It was as if I was invisible there in the room with them. I stood up abruptly and spoke loudly, “Why is no one answering me?” I said
As I looked around the room, suddenly I knew.