“Shirley in the Bardo” Short story published in Adanna Issue 13
Excerpt: “She was having trouble sleeping and concentrating. She began losing her balance—her physical balance along with her mental and emotional equilibrium. She became accident prone. Not only opening taxi doors for delivery boys on bicycles to slam into, but falling on stairs—not down stairs but up stairs. Missing curbs while walking became commonplace. She broke a toe. She sprained an ankle. When a distant cousin wasn’t inhabiting it, on weekends she escaped to his hermit hideaway in upstate New York. There she found solace in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. She would walk up Mole Hill, then down towards home. One day, when she finally set aside her fear, she entered the small cemetery at the foot of the hill. Dusk had begun to fall. Expecting to be overwhelmed by sadness or desolation or even terror, what she felt when she stepped onto hallowed ground and walked among the gravestones—some dating back to the Revolutionary War so that time had almost obliterated the names of the deceased, the dates of their birth and their death—was a calm, a peace, that she’d never before experienced, a stoppage of time passing in which she realized: But of course, this is where we all go, every single one of us. The acceptance of that reality, so obvious but one she’d never really entertained, accompanied and amplified as it was by the setting of the sun, put her mind at ease and her heart at rest.
Which, of course, was temporary.”