Thursday, January 24, 2019

The empty drift

In the elevator, the silence made her arms itch and she was relieved when the foreman broke it, until he informed her that he had just observed her soul leaving her body. Apparently souls left bodies all the time — what entity didn't need a break every now and again? He believed this was only a problem if the soul in question lacked a reason to return. He explained that he had seen her soul climb right out of her chest — he stepped forward and pressed a freckled hand against her clavicle — and perch like a gargoyle on her shoulders, and when it was clear that she was utterly oblivious to what was transpiring, well —

The foreman sighed and shrugged, as though the departure of a soul was a terrible shame, but a situation for which there was little recourse. She told him she was under the assumption that souls only left bodies when people died, and he began to laugh and — his tone pivoting to indicate this was among the more idiotic things he'd heard in his life — said, You thing that's what happens when people die? [. . .]

The foreman had been possessed by a completely different notions of how the spiritual realm operated and he had spoken about it with a confidence that seemed preposterous in the moment, but who could say for sure that he was wrong, that the empty drift that gripped some people at certain moments in life was not in fact due to their souls — perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently — abandoning their bodies.
— from The Third Hotel, by Laura van den Berg.

How often does your soul leave your body? (What if another soul crept in while your body was "empty"?)

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