"Those dream discussions with Darryl felt very real. One night he showed me a big orange butterfly and said he would send it to me. It was wintertime, so I did not take this promise seriously. Do you know what happened the next day? You should. Remember that biology class, when Eva fell over backwards on her chair?"
I did. Eva had been tilting the back legs of her chair, something she often did. That day she rocked further and further back until eventually she managed to tip it right over, and she lay flat on her back, shrieking, much to the joy of the whole class. And during that same lesson, suddenly a big orange butterfly had flown into the classroom. Where it came from, no one knew, but in an instant it was there, and it flew right down onto Kitty's desk.
"Quiet everyone!" The teacher had calmed the class, which was in an uproar by then, because like all students we relished any unusual happening that gave us the chance to rock out a bit, and two such in one class was almost too much to hope for. Then she explained that some butterflies wake early in the spring, when the sun gets warm enough. Yes, even with snow outside. Ours was an old school, and probably the butterfly had hibernated in some crack in the wall, now warmed by the early spring sun.
"So you remember the butterfly now? I was certain Darryl sent it, and that little creature was proof to me that we don't cease to exist when we die.
"I would like you to believe that too.
"Obviously I am now on the Other Side, in the Unseen Worlds. I will try to contact you by sending you signs I still exist. What you need to do is to keep your eyes and ears open, and try to sense when I am near. I have read it is not easy to approach sad people – I mean approach from "the Spirit Side". It has to do with heavy energies. So you need to be calm, and try to remember the fun we had, and I will try to reach you then.
"Maybe I'll drop a book for you to read – that would get your attention, bookworm that you are!"
The hairs on the back of my neck rose. I mean literally, I could feel them bristling.
"Yes, I just might contact you through a book. I cannot tell you what it is, because I have to keep its secret, and someone other than you might find this letter. Still, it has to do with dreams. You will understand what I mean when the time comes."
I didn't know what to think. Part of me shrank from the idea of the "Unseen Worlds" and the "Other Side". But now the book falling on my toes seemed like something Kitty had... planned? Why else would she talk about contacting me through a book? And what was the secret that the book from my shelf held? I would have to read it through carefully again.
"Oh, and do take Muffin back home. I am certain he is there with you. He is probably the one who found this letter, isn't he? I used to train him to find things I hid. I always used a little rose perfume on the things I wanted him to find, and that's what I did here too."
True. The silk sash that had held the key to the box smelled of tea rose. Kitty had probably used a drop of her treasure - a small bottle of Body Shop's genuine tea rose oil her mother had bought when she was young. They did not sell it any longer and one drop of it smelled like a bouquet of roses for hours. Just roses, no other perfume. Kitty loved roses.
Used to love roses.
There was a P.S. at the end of the letter.
"P.S. And Dana – even if I don't succeed in reaching you, I want you to remember that you will always be my best friend. I am sure we are soul twins. We just happened to be born in different families, but there was a reason we met. I will love you always. And our separation is not for all eternity - eventually we will meet again."
She had drawn one more smiling face and a heart and signed her letter with a big, bold "Kitty".
I sat there for a long while. Finally, I folded the letter back into its envelope and sat quietly for a long time, surrounded by the voices of nature falling asleep that came through my open window.
I went to bed, and on a whim took the pendant Grandma had given me into my hand. It felt heavy, and warm. Familiar, and reassuring, as if I had owned it all my life.
That night I dreamt of a woman sitting in a dark tent, writing on paper that looked like papyrus. I could only see her pale fingers holding a reed pen, and the flickering light of an ancient looking oil lamp – a shallow pottery container filled with oil. The tip of a wick protruded from a little hole at the end of a neck reaching out horizontally from the container of the lamp. The lamp was burning with a warm flame. I knew the writer was a woman from her delicate pale fingers. I could not see what she wrote, but I knew with the certainty of a dreamer that she was telling someone about the death of another that was dear to her.
She had no tears left, but I cried for her loss as well as mine in my sleep.
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