I pay the check at Du-par’s this morning and the cashier asks me what I have planned for the rest of the day.
She asks what I do. I tell her I’m a writer.
“Have I heard of you?”
She asks my name. I tell her.
“Yeah… I’ve never heard of you,” she says. “Writer, huh? I should’ve been a writer. I had a near-death experience that would make a great story.”
The phone rings and she goes to answer it. I’ve paid my bill and could leave, but how do you skip out on a near-death experience?
She returns and tells me about her near-death experience. When she was a teenager, she was diagnosed with a severe ulcer that required surgery. But instead of surgery, she took some sleeping pills.
“And it was just like in the movies, I left my body and I went to the door of my bedroom, and I looked back and I could see myself asleep in bed.”
“Wow,” I say. “Then what happened?”
“Well, I realized that your body is just the suitcase for your soul. It’s a temporary case.”
“And my soul was on the move and it was going down this tunnel toward this light. You’ve probably heard about the tunnel and the light before, right?”
“Yeah, they’re classic set pieces.”
“Ok, but in this tunnel I heard all these people,” she says. “But I didn’t just hear them, it was like I could feel them, touch them. But they were all dead.”
“That sound terrifying.”
“No, it was actually very calming and peaceful. It was like we were all connected.”
Then she explains how she walked to the end of this tunnel and ended up in a small valley, near where she grew up. She explains how she used to go to this valley to watch the sunset.
“And there was this little baby boy. He was a neighbor’s boy and he had died about a year earlier. It was very sad. But there he was playing and talking the way babies do.”
For my benefit, she does her impression of baby talk.
“Only, it wasn’t gibberish,” she said. “I could understand him.”
“What was he saying?”
She’s about to answer, but another customer comes up to pay. I wait as she handles his check.
“So when I woke up the next day,” she continues, “I saw the boy’s mother. And she told me that she could feel me touching her that night. And that the things in her son’s room — a room that remained untouched since his death — had moved. Mind you, I lived down the road, so there’s no way I could’ve touched her or moved those things. Not physically possible.”
“Yes! But the really interesting thing is that when I went back to the doctor, he couldn’t believe it. I had been cured.”
“Because of the boy?”
“I don’t know.”
“But you talked with a dead boy and then your life-threatening ulcer just went away?
“Yes,” she says. “Near-death experience.”
“And kind of an out-of-body experience too.”
“Yes! And after that I started doing [psychic] readings,” she says. “Like that’s why I asked what you did because I knew you were a writer and that we should talk about this.”
“Well, my advice is you should write it down.”
“Yeah I should, shouldn’t I?”
“I just think we need to know what the boy said.”
“Oh, right! He said we all need to love each other.”