He was a man who appeared to be cut from stone. His face was blocky and veined with deep lines. You could almost pick out the cobalt grays that lay just beneath their surfaces. But regardless of his stone-like features his laugh was warm and he seemed to radiate a strange sense of calm. This calm was helpful as I had been sitting in the back seat for quite some time. The old man told me all sorts of stories about wars he had fought in using his bolder-like fists against the seat to imitate tanks crossing over imaginary battle fields. He told me about Russia and Germany, and my father and his brothers and sisters when they were children. We laughed and talked about gophers, and swimming, and all those things only a grandfather and grandson can talk about. The dusk light faded into night and the stars shown in the sky above. At some point I recall my mother waking from her slumber. She leaned back over the seat and asked me what I was talking about and I told her. Her face became a strange mask of concern and confusion, the same kind of face she made the first time I brought up the existence of multiple gods. She cocked her head to one side and asked me where I had heard such things and I pointed to my grandfather. She cast a glance into the empty back seat next to me and said, "sweetheart, your grandfather just passed away. Your father was at his funeral, how can he be sitting in the backseat talking to you?" I remember looking at my grandfather, and his eyes twinkled like deep pin pricks of star light in black pools. He smiled at me, and placed one of his cold hands on my shoulder and said.
“They may never understand boy.” I just shrugged at my mother and watched my grandfather fade into the shadows and starlight.
Childhood had an interesting way of making the adults in my life question what I knew to be real, and they would only allow themselves to accept as fits of fancy or figments of imagination. I have found in my years on this earth that sometimes something as simple as the truth, if presented in a way that may not be accepted as normal or mundane, often gets written off as a lie (or at the least a delusion). In a world where strange people make their livings filming old houses with night vision cameras, is it so unbelievable that a small child had a conversation with his grandfather who was still between worlds?
How many unexplainable events have you dismissed as fits of fancy? Perhaps next time a child tells you there is a monster under their bed, or a ghost in the attic you should check. Even if you see nothing there, that does not necessarily mean it does not lurk just on the edge of your perception.
Until next time, all I ask is that you believe in everything