Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Sunday, 24 March 2013

O.B.E.*


It was still light outside on a warm June evening, and as she drowsed, she had an awareness of a waking-world soundscape: older children playing in the street; a radio orchestra, her parents’ hushed conversation rising and falling, rising and falling; a lazy fly uselessly attempting an escape against the fluttering window blind, buzzing, droning, resting, buzzing; the mantel clock ticking away the minutes towards reluctant sleep. The sounds began to merge into one lullaby: music, chat, laughter, tick-tock-tick, buzz, buzz, buzzzz, until her book fell from her hands onto the bed.

Then came a different, discordant sound; the street door beneath her window echoed to a sharp, insistent rapping, reverberating through the house and jolting her awake. At that moment it seemed to her, the fly gave up its futile and half-hearted escape bid, the cosy summer parlour chat and music ceased and even the clock halted, poised between ‘tick’ and ‘tock’.

A new, deeper, unfamiliar voice rose between the carpet-muffled floorboards. Occasional words drifted up to her: sorry, inform, son, accident, dead, sorry, sorry, sorry. She strained to make sense of the broken string of sounds as she clambered from the bed, her book falling to the floor. A second’s silence followed in which she heard her own heart thudding and the blood rushing in her ears; and then her mother’s cry, her father’s sobs.

She fumbled the bedroom doorknob with numb and useless fingers as the sounds of anguish overtook reality. Standing at the top of the stairs, she watched her girlish self descend. No feet trod on the steps. No hands gripped the polished rail. She could almost reach out and touch her own pillow-tangled curls, falling down her back. She saw her thin cotton nightgown, clinging to her tiny frame. Almost at once she felt the carpeted tread of the last step beneath her bare feet as she stumbled into the room of blinding grief and despair.

©Marilyn Brindley

 *O.B.E. here stands for 'Out of Body Experience'. The description above records the one and only time my mother had an O.B.E. Her beloved brother, only a little older than herself, had gone out for the evening to his Boys Brigade meeting. His last words as he left the house, my grandmother would often tell me, were, "Goodnight my dears." A policeman brought the news that he had died in a tragic and freak accident. My mother, aged thirteen must have sensed something awful had happened and the sheer stress and sense of impending doom must have brought on this strange phenomenon. You can read more about this here

I'm linking this to Tess Kincaid's The Mag where the image below reminded me of of my mother's vivid description of seeing the back of her young self almost 'floating' downstairs.


Rene Magritte. 'Not to Be Reproduced' 1937
Why not see what other surreal experiences this image has evoked in other contributors.

17 comments:

  1. Very sad- instincts and intuition sometimes ease our way, other times
    not...

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  2. You wrote your mother's experience very beautifully, Marilyn. What a tragic time for her little family. I have never experienced an OBE, but they fascinate me. I have had my life flash before my eyes when a car ran a red light as I was getting ready to cross in a crosswalk years ago. Until thst hsppened I just thought that was an old saying.

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  3. There is more between heaven and earth than we can understand. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

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  4. It's that very fine we walk every minute of our existence.

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  5. A powerful piece of writing Marilyn. I can't claim to have had an out of body experience myself but I have had others tell me stories similar to this. It does seem that we have an ability to absorb atmosphere - as to whether that is due to our ability to read unwritten emotional signs or something more mysterious - I have no idea.

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  6. Peter has said it all - not everything can have a rational explanation so beloved by scientists! Great story, thanks.

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  7. This is beautifully written, you describe so well the slipping in and out of sleep where in dreams we reach the astral. Metaphysics explains that strong emotion reaches other planes of reality beyond the physical. OBEs are well documented and real. What a tragedy. Tigerbrite

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  8. Chilling .. and beautifully done!!!

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  9. impossible to read without a chill forming...Time has so many tricks...as for astral projection, I've flown into clouds. Thank goodness we don't have to prove everything...I'll remember this one a long time.

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  10. Piercing, powerful - and very moving...

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  11. so very very sad and so poignantly told.

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  12. Took me straight back to when I was young and I thought I'd 'floated' down the stairs rather than walked. No one believed me and I brushed it off as being confused and never mentioned it again. Twenty-five years later my wee sister said she'd heard the same thing coming from our older brother when he was a kid. I'm reluctant to acknowledge it might have been a floaty but child-related experience.

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  13. I am a believer that those we love or think deeply of are often picked up in our thoughts, especially such a heart-breaking, life taking event as such. My heart is saddened. I know this may be odd, but often I think about those last words when we bid farewell. There are those that won't say good-bye and think of it as death be knocking. I still remember my father's last words to a fellow friend and employee, as he walked out the door "When it rains its pours." Minutes later my father crashed his car suffering a heart attack. I haven't been able to forget those words or ever speak them.

    Thank you Marilyn for sharing such a heartfelt piece. Although it was a sad story, your writing if I may say so, is visionary.

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  14. You wrote this so well that I am still feeling it in my stomach. What a sadness for all of you that such a loving family member was lost so early and unexpectedly.

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  15. An interesting experience, well written. So sad...

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  16. Whole universes were born evolved and decayed between the stroke of each second , thanks Nell

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  17. Specially like the sounds echoing from your words ~

    I remember when I was very young that I had an OBE too ~ Thanks for sharing your story ~

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