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Jasmine by the Window and the Old Man's Rocking Chair

 

Rhodes is known as the island devoted to Apollo - the ancient Sun God. Winter seems to have almost forgotten this part of the world as it barely "touches" it. If one excludes the boiling hot summers from June until mid-October and the torrential rain and thunderstorms from January until late February, you can enjoy the bright sunshine and the refreshing breeze throughout the rest of the year. For that, spending time close to nature can have a healing effect and, as you might have guessed, the garden at Anima was, is, and always will be a sight for soar eyes.

With that in mind, I decided to turn one of the store-rooms into a study and a personal living room and thus, having a good excuse, spend most of my free time at the garden. I had a problem though. The store-room was full of old furniture, old china and various decorative objects from the previous owners who had abandoned them there when they left the business. I called the original owner's daughters and asked them if they wished to come and collect whatever was left from their father's belongings. They told me to do as I pleased with them since they had already taken all that was important a long time ago.

More than happy with their response, I disposed all that was beyond repair, stuffed the rest into another store-room and got myself busy fixing up the place. I found an iron set of shelves which I put on the wall as my bookcase, a couple of old chests where I put my personal collection of wines, a small oval table onto which I drew a white dove sitting on a branch, and used it as a desk and a very old, broken rocking-chair which I had a hard time repairing. When that was finished, I placed it by the window and, on the wall overlooking the garden, I painted a vine (clearly inspired by the aged vine in the garden). I purchased Turkish hand-made rags to put on the floor and completed the "picture" with an old bird cage where I put several scented candles. (I tend to use the weirdest things in the weirdest ways).

I was now admiring my "achievement" and wandering what was missing. Something WAS missing from that "nostalgic touch of a long forgotten era" I called my "little dwelling" at Anima. A smell! Jasmine, being my favourite flower, was soon to take its place outside the window and the picture was now completed. I'd be rocking in my rocking chair admiring the "magic" garden while smelling jasmine. A perfect world!

It was Saturday morning when I called the owner's oldest daughter whom I knew better than the rest of the family, and asked her to come by for a look and a cup of coffee. She kindly explained she was too busy to stay but she would gladly come with her husband to see what I'd done with the old place. Around noon, she walked through the garden and approached smiling. I was a little nervous because I hadn't told her I would be turning the store-room into my own private study but then again I didn't think she would mind.

I let them in and stood in a distance to give them space. I could hear them talk but, since it was in Turkish, I couldn't understand a word. Shortly afterwards, the husband came outside and asked me to go in and at that, I became more nervous.

Fayzan was alone inside with her back turned. I spoke gently and when she turned to face me, there were tears in her eyes. That was the first and last time she hugged me and I was deeply affected.

"Did I upset you? I'm sorry!" I asked.

She responded that I had just moved her and then, again, retained her distance. She explained that she hadn't seen this room looking so beautiful and cosy since the time they lived there as a family. She said she was still a child when she would come home from school to find her dad resting in this room on his rocking chair. She had seen the rocking chair before and never bothered to take it since it was completely broken and asked me what made me want to fix it. I told her I didn't know which was true. I was quite shaken by the revelation.

"I didn't know that this was his own space, I'm sorry if I upset you", I uttered not sure what I was apologizing for but she reassured me she was happy I fixed the room up.

She went on to tell me that the vine I so clearly loved to even draw it on the wall belonged to her father's father and had a great importance to her old man, who implored her never to let anyone cut it down. She lit up a cigarette and, after approaching the window asked me another question. What on earth made me put the jasmine by the window? I was now really shaking as I felt she had a good reason for asking and took me a while to speak. I think she must have sensed how nervous I was because she hurried to tell me it was her old man's favourite flower.

How on earth could I possibly have known that this was his rocking chair, that was his favourite flower and that he cared so much about a vine?! I supposed the rest was his stuff too but the daughter said nothing and I was not about to ask. I had enough for a day!

"The old man is a happy man now" she added and I think I must have smiled or, at least, I hope I did.

A bit later, they were gone and I was left shaken by the "coincidences". I have, to this very day, never stopped wondering if all that, the decoration, the room itself, the drawing on the wall, had been my idea or someone else's dream through me. I remember feeling as if I was invading another man's space, and that now I had spent so much time fixing the room, I had no business there. The previous events concerning the mirror, and the misplaced china could not have been a coincidence, either. What if he was actually here and angry that I was touching his belongings?

I dared to stand on the front porch but I was too scared to walk any further, and just whispered "What I did was out of love for this place, and out of respect for the beautiful objects. I couldn't let them laying there broken as they were. I didn't mean to interfere, but if my presence bothers you, let me know and I will never step foot in here again. But, please whatever the answer is, don't go moving objects or making noises because that scares the life out of me. Thank you..."

That was that. I had never, in the 3 years I stayed in that place, felt threatened, but there were instances I felt I wasn't alone. On a few occasions, I could even swear I caught a glimpse of the rocking chair slightly moving. I can't be sure it was him and yet, I know that whoever was there had come in peace to keep me company.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, rhodes68, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

DeviousAngel (11 stories) (1910 posts)
 
6 years ago (2011-07-14)
rhodes68, I have to say, there is a certain magical quality to your stories. I really enjoy reading them, and this one is no exception. I am so glad that you were able to bring peace and happiness to that place.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-10-16)
Dear,mesa thank you for your kind comment! Anima is and always will be a "magical" place for me. I want to believe that one being amidst its vibrant garden cannot help but hear the echoes of a thriving past-echoes that are sometimes louder than those of the busy street outside!
mesa25 (1 stories) (14 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-10-15)
I so enjoy reading your stories. They are beautiful. You must have an amazing gift that is only given to a spare few.
bigpatti87 (2 stories) (39 posts)
 
9 years ago (2008-07-15)
Well now I read this story after I wrote the last comment to you and now I truly blieve that something there did want help and wanted you to do something for them, but I do want to know if there has been and "incidences" since you had fixed up the room? Great story though and I am happy to see some resolve in a way to some of the things that were going on.

God Bless,
BigPatti 😉
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-04-18)
Chris hi, I got your email but haven't read it yet. I'm still in class. Thanks and talk to you soon.
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-04-18)
Tammy I sent you an e-mail but I don't know if you got it. Let me know if you did. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-04-16)
Hi Tammy. I wonder? How on earth could I have missed so much of your stories? I don't know what happened. MAybe you wrote them when I wasn't here fro a while. I'm realy sorry that I haven't written anything about it but I will now. I hope you get it 😁.

i found this story to be great. I could imagine myself being in that resteraunt while I was reading it. I think that the previous owners felt like there father was alive. That he had come back and fixed everything up. But you were the one who did everthing, but you did have help from this man. I have to agree with you that he might have talked to you and you did what he seemed was right. I Think he was a peacfull person just like you are so, I don't think he is the only one there. I am going to read your other stories now and post something. I hope to hear from you soon my friend and take care 😁
Pixiemel (20 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-04-07)
Yes I am greek:)! From athens! Oh my encounters won't addup to something that makes sense, I have to find a way to make it be nice for the reader! When I'm done "story weaving" I will certainly post I promise!
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-04-04)
Hi Pixiemel 😊 and thank you for your comment. You caught me off guard, should I assume you're Greek?

Although you claim your experiences are small, it would be interesting to share them with us. I'll be looking forward to reading them.

Se efharisto gia ta evgenika sou sxolia. (Thanks for your kind comments).
Pixiemel (20 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-04-04)
poly kali istoria! Ego eimai atyxi den mou tyxainei kanena kalo mono psilopragmata (=very nice story! I am not that lucky, I only get small encounters, no good stuff!) thank you for sharing! Your english is perfect by the way!
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-06)
Thank you nich for your kind words. You know, up to this day and after all the things that have happened there, I still have so many questions unanswered. 😊
nich (4 stories) (30 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-06)
Hi rhodes! What a lovely story, it really touches my heart. For sure the old man was happy seing his favorite place fixed.
Good luck!
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Hi Kim. It's so nice to hear your voice 😊... Wasn't that a weird thing to say?! I'm not going to correct it though as it came out quite natural.

My hair isn't black but guess what, it's the colour of honey with a tint of gold(it's the natural color) and, yes, I usually wear it up...

I want to say thank you for the beautiful words. You have really moved me!

I must admit I feel blessed for being given the chance to be part of that place, my Anima, but, more significantly, for being given the chance to see, trully see, and believe in the multiplicity of a world we so egotistically consider our own.

Thank you again for being here tonight

Take care 😊 ❤
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
No problem Tammy! I hope that will help. It is a great show. I watch it quite often.

Jennifer ❤
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Jennifer, I can't thank you enough for your help. I will remember that.

Thank you very much ❤
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Tammy,
I am going to comment before reading any other comments. I have been delayed in reading this story as my job has gotten in the way of life here lately, so I apologize and wanted to give this story my full attention.

First of all, I LOVED the story! I felt like I was sitting right there with you while reading your details! Very warm and invtiting m it felt as if I could step into the room with you. By the way, do you have black hair with a tint of gray ususally worn swept up? Just curious.

Anyway, from what I have read in this story, not only where you able to out the former owner at some peace with your care and restorations, but his family as well! I think the daughter had such a profound reaction because she was so touched.

I am sure most of the renovations were your idea, but being as perceptive as you are, 'he' may have had some input into how the touches should be laid and carried out.

I must admire you, Tammy. You have had some very significant encounters and have handled them with a great deal of respect and pride.

I look forward to reading more stories from you, God Bless!
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Hi Rhodes,
I just went to their website to see if they might sell some DVDs on the show. Here is the closest I got:

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/shows_wct

I love seeing the old stuff they find and hearing the history of the old houses.

I hope that is helpful!
Jennifer ❤
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Thank you Jennifer for your comment. You've caught my attention with what you said about that episode. That is quite similar! I'm afraid we don't have this channel. Do you know if I can find the particular episode somehow. I'd really want to watch it!

Thank you again. 😊
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Yes,thank you for the info Whitebuffalo and as for the misunderstanding, it was my fault. I tend to stubbornly use some words as they are used in my culture forgetting that it doesn't necessarily mean the same thing to the other person. It's going to take a lot of courage on my part to attempt what you suggested but I think I owe it to him to try it.

Thank you.
whitebuffalo (guest)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
OOOOh, OK. Sorry about that. I should have read more into it than what was there as the comment threw me, it SOUNDED so out of character! I got you now. Sorry about the misunderstanding.
I do not think (then again, I am not a ghost) that he would feel that you are rejecting him. The reason being is that you have never shown any signs of that kind of nature, You have always been caring, and tried to be understanding, so I do not see how he would think you are PUSHING him away.
Also, I do not think that a ghost can be stuck in a limbo land. I think once they hit the light, it is a choice. Earth or beyond. I do not think once they get that far there is an in between (like in the windows that have two panes of glass). Now, I HAVE heard stories of them being LED to the light and they turn away from it for whatever reason. In THAT case, I would think they would be stuck HERE until they are ready to pass.
That is why I suggested that maybe if you told him you would stand right there and watch his passage, maybe he would feel a bit more secure.
HOWEVER, I DO believe that there is a difference between a ghost and a spirit (Thank you, Sylvia Browne). A ghost is a being who has passed away, but for some reason is still here on earth. A spirit is a being which has Crossed Over and is free to go wherever it chooses.
Like... Back to that room. They are NOT stuck. They choose to come back.
Did I clear that up? I am sorry that I misunderstood.
Thank you.
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Rhodes, what a beautiful story! It reminded me of an episode of "If These Walls Could Talk" on the Home and Garden channel where folks restore old homes and find antiques and things in the walls. In one episode this gentleman had restored a Queen Anne Victorian house and filled it with period furniture. He invited the original owner's son over and was shocked to learn that the furniture had belonged to the son's mother. It was quite amazing! It really makes one wonder about these "coincidences..."

Thanks for sharing. I had a beautiful picture in my mind of this room.

Jennifer ❤
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
I have just read your last message. I will gladly help him cross if you think that I can do that. I will surely try. Yes, I did mean I will miss him but I would rather know that he's where he's supposed to be and with the rest of his family than stuck in a room in a world he should have transcended
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Oh, I think I've read your last paragraph too fast. No,no, I may have improperly used the word "obligation" as my mind was concentrating on the Greek connotations of the word. For me, moral duty towards a friend is not something you're forced to do but something your conscience combined with the feeling of love urges you to do. The only problem I was facing here and that is what I should have communicated more effectively is that I wasn't sure of what is the right thing to do for him. Does he want to go so I may assist him or does he want to stay and, by helping him cross over, it will be perceived as rejecting him. And then I'm still not sure about another thing. Could a spirit pass from one realm to another when they wish and by "helping" him cross, I'm actually trapping him? I hope that I was more accurate now.

Thanks again
whitebuffalo (guest)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Help for what? Seeing him again or in helping him to Cross Over?
If it is the latter, I would think that the ground work has already begun. He trusts you, (He allows you the feeling of peace, and you have so much in common) and has in no way tried to run you out of what he seems to still consider his place.
Sometimes all you have to do is to let him know that all of his loved ones who have gone before him are waiting on the Other Side with their arms outstretched, just waiting for him to come into a loving embrace. Tell him whenever he sees the white light, to just walk towards it. (My son actually told a little boy once that the light was from all of the smiles from his family in seeing him again.) If he is frightened, tell him you will stand right there, in whatever spot you are standing in and will watch ta make sure all is alright. A little nudge seems to work at times, and maybe the added help that you will be looking on from this side will help him go to the Other Side.
I suppose this would be the ultimate test in friendship. With friendship, and kindred spirits, comes a form of love. If you love someone, you HAVE to love them enough to let them go. You HAVE to help them be free. For in staying here, he is bound to that place.
Who knows? He may leave here a ghost to safely make it to the Other Side and then return to you as a Spirit. How wonderful would THAT be?
Thank you.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Thank you so much Whitebuffalo for your thoughts and especially your advice. I will do whatever it takes to return this feeling of peace that he has offered me and just hope that some day if I'm lucky enough I will meet him again in whatever form that may be. I guess I will have to get some help for that as I don't really know how myself.
whitebuffalo (guest)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Oh, but you HAVE seen him, Rhodes. You have SEEN him in the beauty in which you chose to decorate the study. You have SEEN him in the not so graceful vine outside the window (that you brought INSIDE I might add with the painting). You SEE him in the peacefulness of the room, itself.
I can vividly see why you are drawn to this man. He symbolizes all that people are meant to be to one another. He gave to those less fortunate, even though he was NOT that much better off. He cared for those that others overlooked (even in the face of ridicule by those who were closest to him) and he personified GOOD.
I think the feelings of being uncomfortable in the room, and of guilt you are experiencing has to do with the HUMAN reaction to moving on in life. We tend to distance ourselves from relationships when we KNOW they are about to end. We tend to imagine that the other person involved in that relationship is alienating US, or blaming us for the sense of loss. Regrettably, I do that myself.
I do not think that his reaction to the fact that you must move on will be shown to you in anger. That would be totally out of his character. He may respond in sadness, after all, kindred spirits are few and far between. Most PEOPLE do not even experience it ONCE in a lifetime, let alone after that time line is done.
The last question I saved for last as that is one that has a strong reaction from me.
I do NOT believe that being a kindred spirit to ANYone puts you under ANY obligation to them. To be a kindred spirit, you do not have to pay someone, give them gifts or help them cross over. You do not have to do ANYTHING aside from just BEING.
I DO believe that ANYone who has it within their power to help ANY ghost to Cross Over IS under the obligation to help them. To be completely honest, I would not see why someone would not WANT to help a ghost to Cross Over. The Other Side is EVERYTHING that this world is not.
It is perfect. I can not understand why ANYone would not want to help a ghost who is stuck here to achieve eternal peace. Being his kindred spirit does not hold you responsible. Being HUMAN in my belief system, should have you wanting to help him to The Other Side. Especially if YOU are about to move on. Who is to say that the next person to be in that place would be so kind?
Thank you.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Ok, I'm not being quite honest here! I'm attouched not only to the room but to the old man as well. His daughter has spoken to me about him, I have heard stories about him from elders and I know that he was deeply touched by the misfortune and poverty of the people around him. He would offer food to the poor and do what it takes to help those in need.

There's also another thing puzzling me. I have never spoken about my meeting with his daughter that day to the people that worked for me so there's no way they could know that this was the old man's room and things. And yet, one of the waitresses has claimed to have seen a man of medium height(no other description was offered) looking from behind that window into the garden. If it's him, why others see him and I don't? I have once seen a shadow but that was in the inner bar.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
Hi Autumn! There's got to be something wrong with me. I could swear I had replied to your comment but I cannot find my post now. Oh, I must be VERY tired! I've been meaning to ask you if being kindred spirits with someone implies some form of obligation. What I need to know, that is, is whether I should do something for him, like assist his spirit to cross. I want to finally open up about this "bondness" I feel to this place. I have already said that we're trying to sell the business but I'm not happy about losing this place and especially that particular room. And yet, I haven't been spending much time in there lately, especially when nobody else is with me. It makes me feel a little shaken but at the same time I feel guilt. Guilt for not spending time there and guilt for putting it on the market. Maybe I'm just uncertain as to whether I should trust this "presence" or accept that he will remain kind to me as long as I don't change anything. I will appreciate your insight on this one.

Thank you
whitebuffalo (guest)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-03)
You know what, though Rhodes, I think you DID get your answer. At least I would think you did. You said " I had never, in the 3 years I stayed in that place, felt threatened... I could even swear I caught a glimpse of the rocking chair slightly moving... I know that whoever was there had come in peace to keep me company..."
If he truly did not enjoy your renovations and your decorations, I do not think you would have had such a peaceful feeling about the place. I would think that you would have felt a compulsion to keep changing things to "get it right".
I think that when the coincidences STOPPED and the kindred spirit in you BOTH began, (and who is to tell when that really started?) you BOTH saw the similarities and a form of friendsip began. You are comfortable TOGETHER, or he would not be sharing the room with you.
Sometimes the silent communications are the most telling.
Thank you.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
 
10 years ago (2008-03-02)
Hi Oglegen and thank you for your kind comment. I didn't receive an answer or at least none that I heard and yet, this intense feeling that I was being watched silently, not threateningly was quite there. I still spend some time there, not as much as before as the bar has been closed and is on the market but I cannot say I feel absolutely comfortable being in that room. I guess it's just in the human nature to fear the unknown 😊

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