The pool at the base of the water slide was deep enough to reach above my waist. The thick current came gushing out of the giant tube filling it by a constant stream and carried the gleeful cries of adolescent tube riders on their way down. I bathed in the pool and watched delighted as my filth slipped away, down through the stream, then sucked by whirlpools and eddies into the stagnant corners about to be filtered out. At times the waste was too heavy for water to do the job alone so I would cup it in my hands and carry it to those places myself.
The ritual reminded me so much of a dream I had long ago. From my bed I saw a great light shining like the sun, and from it the light emanated out in undulating waves creating a vast, gentle river that carried my mattress and I along with it. As I reached into it I could feel the cool water rushing past my fingertips and sensed the thoughts and impressions of its source; I knew the stream was God’s consciousness. Although I was afraid of hearing His thoughts at first, because the only stream of consciousness I had known was my own, and it was filled with thoughts too shameful to bring into the light; mostly fear and paranoia; I tasted His water, with my hand dipped in I tested His thoughts and found there no darkness. Then I immersed my entire body into the stream and let His thoughts wash over me head to toe; how He loves me, how He thinks so positively, and I even marveled at how inviting He was to let me hear His thoughts, but more than anything it was His general goodness that amazed me. His everyday thoughts were good and healing. The sores all over my body became soft, fresh skin as the gentle waters carried away all my infirmity. Yet there was one ulcer that would not go away. In His stream the discharge flowed out ceaselessly and the necrotic wound would not close.
My little cousin helped me out of the pool. The girls behind us were laughing at the waste left from my ablution, but experience had guarded me against shame, and I didn’t look back as she led me hurriedly by the hand back to our car.
In my family I had always been considered something like a black sheep, except, to my ironic embarrassment, I was the most normal one among us. We were a lot like the characters from The Munsters tv show; each of us uniquely strange and distorted, like a family of undead creatures. My little cousin, for instance, was a yuki-onna (a snow woman), and they all relished in gathering fear to themselves. I was loved, of course, but since I was most like a human they were all a little embarrassed by me, and my room was tucked away in the back of the house with no windows into the street. We were Adam’s family, and though we all knew what it was to be normal and good we were all monsters and couldn’t help ourselves to be anything but corrupt. And all but me, who tried often with daily cleansings to remove the stains of my soul, would not give in to their wanton life and acted, as best I could, as one truly alive and not undead. Though, truth be told, I was the worst of them all.
One day while drying off I saw in the pool a small island of moss and gnarled weeds, twisted and thorny. There hiding in its center, behind a clump of fungus, was my soul; wretched and afraid. All its color was wasted away and with long, matted black hair it looked like the banshee called nurarihyon. I was horrified that such a thing could exist at my core. I would’ve been happy to keep it concealed, but after my little cousin discovered it I overheard her tell my mom with pride that even she was a little afraid of me, and I reveled in it. I had never known her to be afraid of anything, and what should have been my shame became a source of pride. In a little while my whole family caught on and this wave of interchanging fear and respect overjoyed me, as it would to anyone who gets recognized in their small world. Yet even in the midst of my joy I knew it wasn’t right and could feel Adam’s sorrow trickling down through the generations.
I was in my mom’s car outside our house. She was in the driver’s seat and the doors were locked but the engine wasn’t turned on. This was my new position; with great pride I was going to lead the night parade of various monsters and be at the head of our family’s honor. It was mid-afternoon and my brothers and sisters were out in the street greeting one another. I wanted to join them but the doors were locked and because the car wasn’t running the windows wouldn’t go down. Somewhere in the depths of my heart I felt Him reach out to my soul and I knew it was an invitation. I could feel Him take my hand and then He wrenched me away from the moss and weeds that had tangled around me for such a long time, so many decades! Leaving a shallow hole in the soil where my body had lied. I had been like a forgotten corpse out in the woods; my soul had wandered so far, so many thousands of miles! I had forgotten that I was dead.
I came out of the car and my brothers and sisters welcomed me into the light and began singing over me beautiful music, singing, “It is well; it is well; it is well with my soul.” I joined the song too; almost as a joke between stanzas I sang a playful question, “Just my soul?” My own voice surprised me. It came out in perfect harmony with the others, and the timbre was shockingly beautiful. I wouldn’t have recognized it, yet it came from me. The others, smiling, weren’t surprised and they continued singing while encouraging me to do the same, looking up into heaven holding my hands; they were singing to God. As the song was building towards its climax, I looked to heaven also, with my heart overflowing towards Him, begging Him, I sang as loudly and beautifully as my voice could carry, “Just(ify) my soul!”
And I was healed.
Copyright 2015 Jason S Cooper Image From http://wallpaper-kid.com/