The body traffic was thrumming along nicely when I finally decided to precipitate myself out of the shadow in which I had let myself dissolve the previous evening.
I landed, with elegant gracelessness, on my back, and spent a few moments getting my breath back. The nature of my role and existence makes me prone to forgetting the simple and basic needs of the flesh I wear like clothing. I must learn to thing these things through if I am to continue to monitor my chosen locale.
For as the body goes, so goes the soul. Without a body, I would simply evanesce into the ether like a fog dispersed by the sun, and I have much to do before I allow myself that luxury.
The people need me.
I gently and carefully guide my fleshy form to a convenient bench, and with a soothing touch, gently let it sleep. Its need for sleep is not met by my version of sleep, and so this arrangement is necessary.
Besides, it gives me freedom to roam.
I silently slip sideways through sunbaked shadows as I carefully open myself to the souls around me, letting their light meet my light so that I might understand them. Many are the souls I sniff as I open my consciousness wider and wider, settling into my usual patrol mode where my awareness is spread thin but I can sense trouble like a spider feelings its prey in its web.
And for a while, all is calm. The souls walk through my domain, carrying about their everyday business, living their lives, oblivious to the benign force watching over them. This is how it should be… I would not disrupt their lives with my presence. They shine so bright and clean to me as is. So vital, so pure, so engaged in the act of living. I treasure them.
Of course, this is humanity we are talking about, vibrant and impatient, so there is no such thing as total calm. Here, a woman is upset that her dry cleaner can’t seem to find her dress, one she needs for an important date with a “real prospect”. So businesslike in her idealism!
In another place, a couple argue, as they always do, about money. She wants to sign their children up to a whole raft of extra-curricular activities. He insists that kids have to be left alone to be kids.
Around and around they go, both trying their hardest to be the best parents they can for the children they love so much that sometimes, they can’t even think. They can only act on instinct.
Instinct is a specialist, though. It covers things like feeding and caring and clothing. Parenting philosophies, not so much.
In another place, an old man who inherited his barbershop from his father, who inherited it from his father, is once more contemplating burning the place to the ground for the insurance money. It is a thought he often contemplates because his sense of obligation to the place is so strong that he can’t imagine ever walking away from it. It would have to stop existing first.
And it’s not like any of his five children want the place. Five, count them, FIVE children he had, and not one of them would take up the mantle of neighborhood barber. It would serve them right to see the place burn to the ground. Once it’s gone forever, maybe they will appreciate what they had and threw away like garbage.
But what would his father think?
His conflict touches me deeply. I pause my scan and focus on him, and send him soothing pleasant emotions. This is my job, my role, my duty. To comfort the conflicted, to soothe jangled nerves and untie tangled emotions, to lend my light to those lost in the darkness, and to lead troubled souls away from evil.
Speaking of which, a man well known to me has woken up and feeling his morning erection tugging him towards thoughts he knows he should not have about his daughter, aged eight.
It was a miracle he had custody of her at all. If her mother hadn’t turned into an emotional and physical wreck after finding father and daughter in bed together without clothing, he would be the one left alone.
But the divorce was uncontested and he was a successful businessman who was well known for his dedication to charity, so obviously, he made a better choice than her lunatic mother in the insane asylum.
I know of his pain. His mother molested him. Now he sees his daughter and thinks, I did okay. So will she.
Luckily, by the time he gets out of bed, I am fully there with him. I cast pure light into his soiled soul and highlight all the wonderful, innocent memories he has of his daughter, and how he only got away with it the first time because she was too young to understand what was going on, and now she seemed not to even remember. Now, it would devastate her.
With my help, he remembers, and I encourage his return to the right path by giving him a growing sense of pleasure as he does so. I have calmed his demon for now. My job done, I retreat, taking but a moment to glance in at his daughter and the soft shiny of her youthful innocence.
Truly, she is a marvel, as all children are.
Oops! It seems my fleshy form is awakening. While my powers shield it from nosy policemen and other park-goers, they do not shield it from the cold rain now falling upon it.
I project a sense of warmth into it to counter the rain’s chill, and animate it to look for food. Its simple pleasures bring me great joy, and so it is no chore to see to its food, shelter, and toilet needs.
As I direct it towards our favorite dining spot, a cheap but excellent diner owned by an adorable old couple for whom this is their version of retirement, I am struck by one of the many little ironies of my existence.
Everybody says this is such a nice neighborhood.
But I’m the only one who knows why.