“Ghosting and The Message from the Clouds: True Story.” M.J. Downing

Once there was a young fellow who had been ghosted by a woman he loved. As with most ‘ghostings,’ those sudden, unexplained, one-sided terminations in relationships, there were many reasons for it. This young fellow, whom we shall call Andrew, lacked the ability to simply let it go, which was quite bad for him. After days of wandering around with a thousand-yard stare, failing to eat or drink properly, suffering a sort of psychic shock at every loss he had ever experienced, parents, grand parents, friends, etc, Andrew called his friend Tim, who lived far away.
They spoke for a long time, Andrew and Tim did, and Andrew gave his friend the whole story.
Now, Tim was aware that Andrew and this woman had been in a rather precarious state for a while, but he had not heard of her sudden, unexplained departure, so he told Andrew,
“She has ‘ghosted’ you my friend, and no one deserves that,” Tim explained. He told Andrew that ‘ghosting’ amounted to a sometimes cruel, sometimes necessary, way to end a difficult relationship. “It is not often a choice but a necessity for a very damaged kind of person, which covers most of us, I’m afraid. In other words, she might not intend to hurt you this badly. She might not be able to help it.”
“Or?” Andrew asked.
“Or, she is so cruel, I’m sorry to say. She knows what she is doing and does it on purpose. Or, a variety of other reasons I can’t think of, which come out of how messed up she is. It is impossible for you or me to explain. You know how messed up she is, right?”
Andrew did know. In fact, it seemed to Andrew that this woman made him the repository of the worst details of her past. They had horrified him that others could treat a person the way this woman had been treated. He loved her and wanted to walk beside her as she dealt with her baggage. He had his own to deal with, so Andrew thought that they would go through it together, help one another.
“I think that she can’t do that, pal,” Tim told him over the phone.
After a minute of long-distance static on the line, Andrew whispered, “What do I do?”
“Work on your stuff, buddy. Do what you normally do to help yourself,” Tim said.
“What, like walking, journaling?”
“Yeah, like that. And eat something. If it’s pretty today in Louisville, go out for a long walk. Maybe even to a restaurant. If your feet are moving your head will feel better, right?” Tim suggested.
Andrew agreed, because Tim was really smart about such things. Andrew looked out his window and saw that it was a great fall day. He had no pressing needs, no chores, no duties, so, when he got off the phone, he took off walking.
He lived near Creason Park in Louisville, a pleasant green spot across the street from the Zoo, so he soon found himself wandered down the back road of the park, in the cool autumn breeze, away from his home and his problems. The clouds rolled overhead, letting the sun shine through occasionally, and Andrew began to remember the books and stories he had read that took place on days like this, autumnal days, when the world was changing, preparing for a new season. Not all the changed leaves had dropped, so the world had a beauty to it, still, that Andrew recognized as something that he had always loved about his life, even before this woman came along. Things had been changing for him for a while. A divorce lay three years in his past and much soul searching. He was much changed and would change even more, he realized.
Climate and the need to be there, walking along behind the Tennis Center, listening to the “pock…pock…pock” sound of successful volleys, created in him a sense of peace and wonder, and suddenly he did not feel so alone.
“In a moment like this,” he whispered to himself, “anything, miracles even, can happen.” But he walked by himself, and no one came toward him or popped up out of the bushes and trees on the other side of the Tennis Center. It had to be a person, he thought, someone to come to him. That had been a desire of his heart for a long time, though he also knew that no other person could heal what was hurt in him. He certainly saw that he could not fix it himself.
Then, a flashing in the sky caught his eye. Even in the occasional rays of sunshine that broke through the clouds, he saw it, small, high up, flashing, sometimes rapidly, sometimes shooting a beam of bright light right into his eyes. He had no idea what it could be. Andrew was much given to flights of fantasy. His favorite books were fantasies, and he always desired the experience of magic. The world was a richer place, to Andrew, with just the possibility of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, although he was a skeptic about such things in his heart. They were fun to think about, but they were quite unlikely in the world he knew, where important people die or simply go away. Yet there was this flash coming from the sky. “UFO? Not likely, with Standiford Field so near. It’s close to flight paths. Everyone would be seeing it. There’d be choppers and police cars out and about.” This flashing thing began to seem closer, more personal
It came lower, closer, and when it was a hundred feet up, still flashing at him, Andrew saw that it was rectangular. It wasn’t flying as much as it was dipping and slipping on the breezes, but it came down towards him, all the same. And as it neared him, he thought that it was a piece of paper, not a light at all. Its light came from the reflection of the sun on its surface, when it was turned towards him. The sun was behind him, going low in the west as evening approached, and the flashing paper came down, straight toward him. Andrew stopped in his tracks and waited.
He could see words on it, graphics maybe, and his mind played with the possibilities. But then, as soon as he could hear it flutter in the breeze, it floated down, just over his head and landed three feet in back of him. Staring at it was the only thing he could do, but when a stronger gust of wind blew it a little farther down the road, he ran and grabbed it.
His fingers trembled. Was it a message from God? Tim, later, on the phone would laugh and say “You’re damn straight it’s a message from God!”
Andrew stood looking at a bus schedule. Somewhere, perhaps across the hills and over by Bellarmine, or from Trevillian Way, the road that ran around Creason Park—maybe from heaven too, this bus schedule was thrown up into the wind and floated down to Andrew when he most needed it.
“It’s God saying that women are like buses, buddy. If you miss this one, another will be along in a few minutes!” Tim said, laughing as hard as he could on the phone.
Now, Tim was right about meeting other women. Andrew met other women and made more friends. The ghosting woman didn’t come back, but Andrew moved on, as though that bus schedule was a permission slip of sorts. Andrew had a hard time thinking that women were like buses. He didn’t want to think of people as things. But the schedule that floated down to him reminded him that opportunities abound in this life, that Grace fall on us all, all the time. And as to schedules, well, they are just about being at the right place, at the right time, if you want to get where you want to go. We’ll all get where we’re going. The key thing is just going, because that’s where things like this happen. This is true.

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