As my experiences grow and increase, I learn a lot about the spirits in my home. Especially the one who is with me constantly. Charlie. (As with my other posts, I do not use real names, for people past or present).
This past Saturday, 3 November 2012, we had a few people over for a braai (barbeque in American terms) so friends could have some time with my dad. He has been living in Mozambique for the last 3 months, having found his dream job there. He makes a point of coming home every few weeks, but that does not necessarily mean that everyone gets to see him.
One of the people I was particularly happy I was going to see was Uncle James, Charles "dad". He adopted Charles when he was in his teens and raised him as his own. They had a very special bond. Since learning that Charles was by my side, I will be honest; I still had days where I doubted that it really was him. Therefore, I sent his dad an e-mail and asked him if he had any pictures of Charlie that he would not mind parting with. The entire time that I knew him, he was exceptionally camera shy and never wanted to pose for me, it was frustrating. His dad kindly obliged and we then decided to arrange the braai so he would have reason to come through and bring me the pictures.
Since Friday, 2 November 2012, I have had a constant knot in my stomach, like I was scared to death of something happening, really nervous, but I just couldn't put my finger on what it was. My hands were shaky at times; every now and then I'd have to stop what I was doing just to take a deep breath, because the feeling was so overwhelming. I did not understand it. When Charlies dad arrived on Saturday afternoon, around 4:00PM, I went to open the gate for him and let him in. When he got out of the car, he gave me the tightest hug, as if he had not seen me in ages and really missed me. My nervousness was ratcheted quite high and I was really starting to wonder what the heck was going on with me. We went into the house, through the TV room and out to the pool. Everyone was sitting under the lapa and, as always, Uncle James got a warm welcome. Everybody loves him.
He opened his bag and handed me a paper envelope, giving me what I had asked for. Four pictures of Charlie. I thanked him and gave him another hug, then went into the house with the pictures. I immediately took my phone and took pictures of the photos and sent it off to Tim, my friend who is a medium. I sent two pictures, one of Charlie wearing a cap (his hair seemed very short there, but you could see his face very clearly), and one with him sitting on a chair, holding a beautiful grey cat. In this picture his hair was longer, just like I remembered him. I sent the picture with the cat first, then the one with the cap, and Tim only downloaded the second picture. He sent me a message and said, "Thats Charlie." My heart leapt, it really was him. So I asked Tim if that was how he saw Charlie, and he said "When I see him his hair is longer", I then told him to check his messages because I had sent him two pictures, and he responded that the picture with the cat was exactly how he saw Charlie. Now I had absolute confirmation that it was him, no more doubts. However, from then on, Tim would send me messages, asking me questions.
The men had started to braai the meat, when Tim sent a message and asked me if Uncle James had a sort of a nervous tic. He asked if he was constantly twirling a bit of his hair around his finger. I thought about it, and then answered, "Yes, above his left ear". I had noticed it but did not really think much of it at the time; after all, I have a tendency to twitch my knees, force of habit. Now I became intrigued, because Charlie had shown this to Tim and I wanted to know why. Keep in mind my nervousness seemed to be full force whenever Uncle James was around me. I started watching him. He did not seem to know what to do with his left hand, so he shoved it into his pocket. Then he started swaying on his legs. He seemed genuinely uncomfortable. In addition, every now and then he would look at me, when he thought I would not notice. He had the strangest look on his face. So I sent Tim a message and told this to him, and his reply had me stunned. He said, "He's not looking at you, he senses Charles around you." Whoa, I did not expect that. Now, when I told Tim on Thursday night that Charles dad was coming to visit, I asked him how Charles felt about it and Tim had answered that Charles was on the fence, he did not know how he should feel about this, but he was definitely nervous.
Tim also told me that Charlie was hiding behind me the entire time. He said he never left my immediate area, and the analogy he used was "like a little boy clinging to his mother's skirt, or like Kiddo clings to his room". He then asked me if I knew what happened prior to his death. I had asked his dad a bit about it, but never pried too deeply, it is a painful subject after all. His dad had expected his death, knew it was coming, but he did not tell me more than that. So I told Tim what I knew, and he responded asking if Charlie and his dad had come to blows before his death. I did not know, and felt I would be prying if I asked something like that. Now something made sense to me. I asked Tim if there was any way that I could be channelling Charlie's feelings, because I was so nervous my stomach was in knots but I knew on some level that it was not my feelings. He answered saying, "you know why you feel this way, it isn't you, and Charlie's emotions are coming through you. He's afraid." After learning on Thursday that Charles was nervous about his dad coming to visit, I promised him I would not mention anything about his being there to his dad. I said as much to Tim, and he just said, "Stick to your promise". When I left the area where Uncle James was, the nervousness died down and the knot in my stomach relaxed. I had gone to the kitchen to get something to drink, and in walked Uncle James. He was alone with me for less than 30 seconds and made an excuse to leave the room. When I asked Tim about this, he said it was simply because he could sense Charlie around me and he did not know how to handle it.
He got a reading off Uncle James and said that he wanted his son around; he wanted to know he was ok, but what happened before his death was a wall he could not get over. So I asked how they would fix things, given that one was alive and one was not. And even more to the point, Charlie does not want his dad to know that he is around. Tim simply said, "It's not my or your place to interfere."
As the evening wore on, I knew when Uncle James would enter my vicinity simply by the knots in my stomach "pulling tighter". I could anticipate exactly when he would enter a room. He curiously looked at me with questioning eyes, but he hardly ever came close to me the whole evening. The only time he came close to me was when he said hallo and goodbye to me. The funny thing is he said goodbye to me twice. Once in the house, and once when I was standing outside with everyone else.
After everyone left we went to bed. It wasn't really late, about 10:30PM. One of my sons had decided he wanted to sleep in mommy's room (he usually comes creeping in each and every night) and he was fast asleep within a few minutes. I watched a bit of TV and fell asleep not long after. I was woken up at 1:20 AM to knocking on my window. My heart just about stopped. I asked "whose there?" and was answered by the guy renting the apartment attached to my house. We call it a granny flat. He said his girlfriend was going ballistic and he needed help. When I opened my bedroom door my mom stood in her doorway, and told me she had been listening to the fight for well over an hour at that point. I was very apprehensive going out to the flat with this commotion going on, and could feel that Charlie hated that I was going there. This girl was drunk and had turned violent. She had slapped her boyfriend repeatedly, she had thrown him with cups and glasses etc., had even attempted to slash her own wrists. She was in such a state no one could reason with her. She cried in a high pitched voice the entire time and nothing was coherent. Through all of this, I constantly had the sense that Charlie was right there, but he wanted me to stay quiet. He did not want me to talk. Perhaps he was afraid I would say something to provoke her. I was so mad I wanted to call the police. It took us an hour to get her calm enough to get her to bed. My mom spoke her down from her frenzy and eventually got her to agree to go to bed.
When mom and I went back to the house, it was 2:30AM. She came to my room with me and we sat there talking for a while, then she went back to bed. I was drained. Yet, I was so awake I could not sleep. The stress and adrenaline of everything that happened really messed with my sleeping pattern. I tried to will myself to sleep around 4:00AM and as I lay there and tried to calm myself, I could hear Charlie pacing in my room. From one side of the bed to the other, and back, repeatedly. This comforted me, even when he had his own issues to work through; he still felt the need to protect me. On Sunday morning she came into the house to apologize for her behaviour, she claimed that she had no recollection whatsoever of a single thing that happened the night before.
Its Monday now and I can still feel that Charlie is stressed; the knot in my stomach comes and goes every so often. I will not go back on a promise. Unless he wants it to happen, I will never tell his dad about what is really going on.