The Girl Next Door

(Back in 2015 & 2016 when I was especially sick with the mast cell disease — before anyone knew what mast cell disease was — I wrote the following incomplete, fictional story titled, “The Girl Next Door.” I’ll finish it if/when I can.)

“Here we are, come in,” I say to my two police escorts as I open the door and welcome them in. “Home, sweet home.”

Before they even get past the front door the young, hyperactive cop blurts out, “Okay, where is she?”

Huh, not much warm and fuzzy “welcome to my humble abode” time, I think to myself. “That’s where it gets a little tricky,” I say.

“What do you mean? Is she here, or isn’t she? If you lied about her, you’re going to be in for a world of hurt.”

“I didn’t lie, she is here,” I said, “uh ... just not in the way you think.”

“Do tell,” said the older policeman as he fingered some books on my bookshelf, looking around, studying everything. Those were the first words he said since we left the police station.

I paused. This is the part where nobody ever believes me, so I’ve found that it’s generally best not to talk about this at all. But when two policemen have you in handcuffs, my decision is more like, do I tell them fast — just blurt it out, or do I find some way to tell them about it slowly? I decide to try to explain it.

“Okay, here’s the deal,” I say, searching for my next words. I walk over to my dining room window and point with my cuffed hands. “Technically, she’s right over there.”

The young, hyper cop comes over and looks out the window. He sees that I’m pointing at a walkway between two buildings. He quickly turns and looks at me. “What kind of game are you playing?,” he asks, seemingly about ready to punch or strangle me.

“No game, sir. This is the thing: Have you ever read about parallel universes?”

“What the ...”

“Please, bear with me here.” The older policeman, who had been slowly walking around my apartment and looking at everything in great detail seemed to take interest in my words when I said “parallel universes.”

“The way this works,” I continued, “is that many times when I go to sleep, I end up in a parallel universe. The best way to describe it is that all of our bodies — mine, yours, his — consist of these physical bodies, which you see, and a second sort of body, which you can’t see. People refer to it as an astral body, second body, or energy body, because it may consist of only pure energy. Other people refer to it as a ‘soul.’”

At this point I can tell that the young policeman pretty much wants to pick me up and throw me out the window, and just as he starts to say something, the older policeman says, “Continue.” It’s clear the older policeman has some authority here, he’s the one in charge. I suspect that he’s more than just a regular policeman.

“That’s the first part. Personally, I prefer the name ‘energy body,’ so I’ll use that. So we all have this energy body, but because of my genetics, and perhaps other things like yoga training, I can stay conscious while my physical body falls asleep, and then my consciousness is this energy body.”

“Actually,” I say, “an even better way to describe this is to say that our awareness is the same as this energy body. So what I do when I go to sleep is I start a little mantra where I say, ‘I surrender my hold on this physical body. I am now only my energy body, only my awareness. Now is the time for this physical body to rest, I am only awareness.’ I tend to say different things each time depending on how I feel, but that’s the basic idea.”

The young policeman is just staring at me now. Part of it looks like disbelief, part of it looks like he still wants to throw me out the window. Then he says, “What does any of this have to do with the girl?”

“Well, what I just gave you is a little background material. Now what happens is that when I go to sleep, that is, when my physical body falls asleep, I am still with my awareness. Technically, I think that’s all I am, awareness.”

Young cop starts to say something, but I hold up my cuffed hands, indicating that I’m not finished. “So, when I go to sleep,” I continue, “I wake up right here, in this area, this space, but,” and I emphasize that last word, “but, not in this dimension.”

“So,” I say, putting my hands back up so young cop won’t interrupt, “when the physical body falls asleep and I become only ‘awareness slash energy body,’ I am awake in this area but in a different dimension. And when that happens and I look out that window, what I see is not what you see right now. What I see is the girl’s apartment. Furthermore, in this alternate dimension/universe, I can walk to her apartment through a common area which is just on the other side of that door.”

As I say that I point at a wall where there is no door. “Sorry,” I say, “to me there is a door right there, or at least there can be a door right there, but for you I understand that it’s only a wall.”

“That’s it,’ young cop says, unable to take it any more, “you’re going back to the station...”

“Hold on there,” old cop says, interrupting him. “If all of this is true, if there is a girl in an apartment in an alternate dimension right where that walkway is, how can she possibly help us?”

“You know this guy is crazy, right?,” young cop says to old cop.

“Maybe, maybe not. The fact is, we need information. We haven’t gotten anything in the last three months, so maybe this guy is crazy, and we waste a little time here. Or maybe he’s not crazy, and he can do what he says and get us this information.”

“And now you’re crazy, too,” young cop says to old cop.

Old cop looks at me. “What do you have to do, and how long is this going to take?”

I’m amazed and surprised that someone is willing to give this a chance, give me a chance. This guy is more than just a regular cop, I’m sure of that. Just what he is, I don’t know.

“Well,” I pause, “I’m not perfect at this,” I start to say.

“Here we go with the excuses,” young cop says, interrupting.

“But,” I continue, “the process is that I go to sleep,” I say, looking at a clock in the kitchen. “And I need to do that soon. I have my best results with her world during a four-hour window in the afternoon. If I can’t contact her today, we’ll have to wait and try it again tomorrow. But we should be able to get an answer in two or three days, tops.”

“Hold on a second,” young cop says, “our problem is here in this world, this dimension. Crap, I can’t even believe I’m talking like you now.” He pauses. “Anyway, our problem is in this world, and this girl you’re talking about is in some other dimension, where her apartment is through that window, and there’s a door right here. If everything is different, how can she possibly help us?”

“Excellent question,” I reply. “The thing is, not everything is different.” Now I’m excited because I can finally tell people about this thing I’ve kept secret for so many years. “In her dimension she’s there, I’m here, there’s a rack of glasses here,” I say rapidly, pointing all around, “and the door is there, where I showed you.”

“But,” I continue, “although all of those things are different, many other things are the same. This window is here, that one is there, the courtyard is over there, my couch is here, those books are there, and when you go out in the hallway to the right, many of the other things are the same. So while the two dimensions are different in some ways, they are similar in many other ways.”

“How does the girl fit into this?,” old cop asks.

“She said something to me last week that I didn’t understand. At the time I just assumed it was one of those dream things that doesn’t make sense from time to time, so I just kind of blew it off at the time. But then when you guys took me away and started asking all of these questions, I realized that she was trying to tell me something.” I paused for a long time. “If I can get back to her, I think she can tell me what you want to know. You just need to let me know what you want to ask her.”

I was lost in thought now. Could I really get back to her on demand like this? I’ve never intentionally tried to do this on a set schedule. Usually I just fall asleep and it happens. Can I make it happen like this? If so, what do I need to ask her? And what about those differences in our universes?

It seems like young cop wants to say something, but I don’t know if he knows what to say. Mostly I think he wants to take me back to the station, but maybe his cosmic egg has been cracked open a little by this discussion.

After a few moments, old cop says, “What do you need to make this happen? Do you need those handcuffs off?”

I suspect that he’s testing me, to see if all I really want is to get these handcuffs off of me. “No,” I say. “Well,” I add, “I would appreciate it if you could take them off of me, but if you need to leave them on, it would be best if I could lay in bed here,” I say, pointing, “and then you can handcuff me to something else. I need to be comfortable for this to work, and I won’t be comfortable with both hands on my lap or abdomen,” I add, “they need to be on my sides.”

They seem thoughtful, both of them looking at each other, trying to decide what to do.

I look at the clock, and knowing that I’ve never done this with other people around before, I know I need all the time I can get. “Look,” I say, “we don’t have much time to do this today. What I need to do is go to the bathroom to empty my bladder, put on some comfortable clothes, and lay in bed. Then you can restrain me however you want, as long as I can be comfortable.”