The Cross - A True Story
It was May 1970. The exact day I don't remember. I lived in a little dilapidated house across the street from the railroad tracks on 1st Street in Laramie Wyoming. My friend Ray R. was visiting me. He had some good smoke so we sat rapping and getting high. As dusk approached Ray went home and I went out for a walk. As usual I was locked into some philosophical dialogue in my head. I was contemplating the concept of love.
It was toward the end of the month, and although spring in Laramie is still rather cool, it was exceptionally warm that day. So when I went for my walk I was scantily clad only in my Levis. No shoes or shirt but then I expected to be gone only for a short time. I didn't plan on stopping into any stores or restaurants. In fact I was so distracted by my internal dialogue I really didn't watch where I was going. A short time later I was walking east on Ivinson street.
On Ivinson street between 6th and 7th streets there is a large multistory house that occupies the entire block, along with the carriage house and servants quarters. As I walked past the house I was distracted by the sound of quiet weeping. A woman's weeping.
I stopped. I looked around and saw no one. Then I noticed that I didn't hear the weeping as much as I felt it. I looked up. It was the house. The house was weeping. Standing there in broad daylight I proceeded to “talk'” to the “house”.
“Why do you cry?” I asked “I'm going to die.” the house said. “Die? Why?” How can a house die?” I asked. It never occurred to me that I was talking to a house. To me I was talking to a person. A person whose pain made my own heart ache. I only wanted to help. To comfort.
“I can die because I have known life. I have the memories of all those who lived in me and of those who have lived in this town. I have watched them live their lives from birth to death. I have watched this town grow. Now I am empty. No one walks through my rooms or looks through my windows. There are no voices, no laughter, no life. Yet I remember every soul who ever walked through my doors. Now they have forgotten me. In a month I will be destroyed. I am afraid. I do not want to die.”
Never had I felt such sadness from another. I really didn't know what to say. Feebly I said. “But all creatures die. We must die.”
“Yes, but you are a living soul. I am only a living house. You are a fragment of life itself. That fragment is the Will. The Will of all creation. You are a creature. Life is contained within you. It's part of you. It comes directly from God. My life is merely the residue of yours. In my walls, floors and ceilings, in every board, wire and pipe, in every fiber of my structure I have absorbed the radiance of that soul that lives in you. All the emotions, the love, the hate, the ideas. All those feelings and thoughts are in every atom of my structure. And as long as I am a structure... I am. But if the structure is destroyed... I am not. For I do not have a soul. I draw my life from you. From people. From love. You have a soul. For you life is eternal...regardless of form. However I thank you for your concern.