Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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October had arrived and I felt sad because Mitra, the friend I had found in India during World War II, when I was a soldier in Calcutta, had died in this month. In previous stories, I have told about how I met her at a USO, and how we had spent much time talking together visiting places of local interest. After I had returned to the United States, we kept in touch. We would each remember the birthday of the other, and would write letters to each other.
I had learned that she had mystic powers, and had been instrumental in helping make sure that I lived healthfully and successfully to an old age. She had died before the age of 70, but I had learned, through means not known on this earth, that she was happy in her new life and in constant communication with me.
On the exact anniversary of her death, I received a photo of Mitra which I am showing on the cover of this book. She had been eighteen when I had left India; she looks a little older here.
I was in the living room of my home sitting in my recliner as I gazed at the photo. Happy memories flooded my mind as they came back to me. Suddenly, I felt a strange weariness and needed rest desperately. I leaned back in the recliner and fell instantly asleep. What happened next I can’t explain. I don’t know whether she actually came through some means known only to her, to my side, or whether what I experienced was a dream.
She was there at my side calling my name. I opened my eyes and saw her. “Mitra,” I gasped, “is this really you?”
“Yes it is, but only if you believe,” she responded. “I have come to see you, where you live, where you have been, and, possibly, to see what your future holds for you.”
“I cannot tell you how pleased I am to see you,” I managed to say. “If this is a dream, let me dream on under your control!”
My living room faded, and I found myself in a 1937 Chevrolet. I was at the drivers seat, and Mitra was sitting to my right. We were on State Street in Schenectady, the city where I had been born.
“Mitra,” I said, “this is the city in which I grew up as a child. I wrote about it in a story. You have taken me into that story. Is this a coincidence?”
“No, I know about the story,” she said. “I read it. It was haunting. In the story there was a white leather handbag on the back seat. Look in your rearview mirror.” I did this as she had directed and, indeed, I could see a white handbag there.
“You have taken me back to 1949,” I said. “My wife and I had just been married, and she was sitting where you are.”
“Look again,” she said. I did, and Mitra was gone. Where she had been setting was a beautiful woman in a wedding gown. It was my beloved wife who I had married and was taking to the reception at the Van Curler Hotel at the center of the city.
As I gazed in amazement, the scene dissolved and I found myself in a cemetery studying the inscription on a gravestone. Standing beside me was Mitra reading the same lettering. I was living again the day that my wife had been buried. She had died at too young an age.
“Mitra,” I said, “you are taking me back to times of happiness and to times of sadness. Why are you doing this?”
“I am experiencing the same feelings that you had, my dear friend,” she said. “I want to know you, not from what you look like, or by what you say, but by how you feel. As I stand here with you, I know that you loved your wife very much, and that you have strong feelings for me. This pleases me very much. I am happy in the beautiful place where I reside, but I get lonely at times. During those times, I live in reverie. Many of those times, I have visited with you. I know you have felt my presence because I detected the thoughts you were having of me.”
“Yes,” I said. “I think of you often. At my age there is much time for reflecting. I often remember the times that I spent with you in Calcutta. I often wished that I could have met with you after I had left your country.”
“This is my way of visiting you, even though I don’t live in the same world that you do. Now, I want to see the places where you have lived.”
Swiftly, the scene changed. Mitra and I were no longer in a cemetery, but in a small two-seater automobile. I was at the wheel, and we were on State Street heading toward Albany. At Stop 5, we made a left onto Fox Avenue and drove to the house where my wife and I had lived for ten years. We stopped, and I told Mitra about some of the happy experiences that I had had while living in that house.
Suddenly, we were in Apalachin on the Southern Tier of New York. We were on Beech Road examining a home where I and my family had lived for a period of some years. Mitra opened the door on her side of the car and exited so that she could see the house better. It was only a few seconds later that she reentered, shivering. “It’s cold,” she exclaimed! “I never felt this kind of weather in India,” she added.
I laughed. “Come back when the snow is on the ground and the North wind is blowing. I’ll be able to show you then what cold really is!”
“No thank you,” she responded. “I will only come back in the summertime.”
“How many more times,” I asked. I knew that she knew.
“Are you good with numbers,” she asked quixotically?
“You know I am.”
“You were fated to die at age eighty-seven,” she said.
“I’m ninety-three,” I remarked. “I did not die.”
“Yes,” she responded. “I gave you ten years of my life!”
While I contemplated in amazement what she had just told me, she faded and was gone.
I was back in my living room. I knew that what I had experienced had been either real, or so close to real that I couldn’t tell the difference. I know that I will never be alone, that when it gets lonely for either myself or for Mitra, there will be company for each of us by simply desiring it.
I know this will happen for exactly four more years into the future.
I had met Mitra Dinesh in India while I was serving in in that country during World War II. We had become close friends and I was sorry to leave her when the war ended and I returned to the United States. We never lost touch with each other but we never had a chance to visit in person until the anniversary of her death in October. This is the story of her visit to me.