Is there more than one reality? Some would answer no, and I would tend to agree with them, in most circumstances anyway… however, there have been times when I have questioned that which I believe in the light of day with what I experience in the dead of night. Let me explain.

There was a time when I would walk alone to our crematorium in the evening hours, or sometimes late at night if I had trouble sleeping. The daytime reality was caring for the sick and dying in hospice care and there seemed almost no escape from that reality because medicines to treat HIV were not yet available to us. I knew that sitting alone in a room filled with pictures of the deceased and imagining them being able to communicate with me was a fantasy… but it was for me an alternative reality that kept me going.

One night, after everyone had bedded down for the evening, I slipped out of the hospice and walked alone down the trail that led to the crematorium. As I entered the room, I greeted the photos with a “Hello everyone”, as was my custom whenever I entered alone. “Hi”, came back a surprising response that sent chills running down my spine. Unbeknown to me, one of the children had followed me in the dark that night and simply replied to my greeting as if I had meant it for him. It took me a little while to recover and, to be quite honest, part of me was disappointed the response had not come from someone that lived in my alternative reality.

On another evening, as storm clouds began congregating above me, I again made my way down that trail I knew so well. However, this time, my flashlight only made a hole in the darkness, causing me to be more aware of the sounds around me, sounds that normally I would have ignored. “Hello,” I said, a bit nervously, as I opened the door and entered the room. I lit a candle and set my flashlight down on the table as I reached for the vase holding the incense sticks. A sudden burst of light filled the room, followed by a loud crack of thunder and gush of wind that slammed the door shut, causing the candle to go out and knocking my flashlight to the floor. Like a child, I panicked and took off running in the dark. Breathless and with heart-pounding I reached the safety of the office just as raindrops began to fall. I stood there in the rain letting it wash away my fear, allowing me to return to a reality I felt more comfortable with. 

Tonight I am back to sleeping alone in the same room we used as a hospice long ago. The Volunteer dorm where I normally sleep is packed with quarantined garment factory workers, for who knows how long. The crematorium is still warm from the last cremation and storm clouds are gathering overhead. Could be an interesting night.

Most of us live in just one reality… but that doesn’t mean that other realities don’t exist just outside of the boundaries we have set for ourselves. Is what we see at times, out of the corner of our eyes, another reality… or is it just a fantasy? To be honest with you, I don’t know, my answer would be different depending on the time of day you ask me.

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