Driving and Biking in the Big City

Ghost road

with 5 comments

It’s at this time of evening and this time of the year that I most like to go biking on a path near my original Kingwood neighborhood. It is a straightaway that leads me through the concrete caverns of the North Park underpass before the greenbelt opens up in two directions. This is where the path becomes a trellis of the lushest, most honeysuckle-laden greenery of “the Livable Forest.” 

If I time the last leg of my ride just right, it is likely I will see lightning bugs popping out like fairy lights from the hedges. And, if I let my imagination escape with the fleeting sunlight, I see more than natural wonders.  

It is on this path a few years ago that I started seeing an old girlfriend of mine. My friend had died unexpectedly and too young.  We raised our kids together. We went to parks together, the neighborhood pools and out for Happy Meals when the kids were young. When I left Texas for Detroit, we talked for hours on the phone, comparing the loneliness and exhaustion of young motherhood, giving each other advice and talking about the long away future.

Her visitations always happen near our old neighborhood when we lived near each other. I had not lived there in years, but she had been part of our neighborhood babysitting co-op.

The first time it happened, it was sudden and out of the blue. Nothing I had been thinking on or worrying about. Of course, I missed my friend, had been saddened by her untimely death but I hadn’t thought of her in a long while.

She appeared several yards away, moving perpendicular from me at the crossroad. She looked straight ahead and not at me, so that we never made eye contact.

As I describe the experience of her visitations, it dawns on me that I never see her face. How did I know who it was?  And, when I hyper-analyzed the experience, I realize that it was more of a feeling and a knowing. It is so other-worldly as to defy specifics and explanations.

And so the sightings went for quite some time. It came to happen with such frequency that I seldom took a bike ride in that area without seeing her. The feeling of her presence would come first, then the sighting. Never close or clear but always sensational and true. She was an image up ahead, moving just beyond my true vision.

I took to avoiding the path, especially as darkness approached.  It would have been comical had it not felt so intense.

One hectic evening ride, I felt forced to head that way just at the wrong time of day. I’d tied my sweatshirt around my waist and was pedaling as fast as I could. Bizarrely and like some contrived scene from a teen slasher movie, the sweatshirt began to unravel. I saw it move in slow motion, much because I was pumping for dear life. Then, just at the spot where I was visited most often, my sweatshirt fell loose and onto the pavement. I was forced to stop and regroup. My heart was pumping and my nerve shattering as I resumed my ride, hitting the underpass toward home at breakneck speed.

Finally, I decided to face the problem head on. On my next bike ride, I went down Ghost Road intentionally (and in full daylight.) I sat on the bench at the crossroads and invited the memories and the feelings, breaking the barrier between me and whatever was waiting for me just out of sight.

In the end, it was a simple talk to myself. I promised myself that I would stay in touch with her boys and that, given the chance, I would tell them stories of her deep and overwhelming love for them. We would talk about how she tried hard every day to do right by them and to make them happy.  How proud she was of them.

I still see her on occasion. It doesn’t happen as often and has never again been overwhelming or scary. I’m glad we talked about it and faced it.  Now, it feels simply like a visit from an old friend.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

September 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Once again, an excellent read. I was on that bike ride with you and I know that feeling of having that loved one nearby. My Angels are how I describe them.

    Loved the article. Hugs!

    Victoria Allen

    September 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    • I’m so glad you are reading and relating. My pragmatic family members can be skeptical. I’m a bit more vigilant on that path and always try to invite heavenly visitors. Hugs back to you.


      September 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

  2. Denise, this is such a cool story. You write for a living. I read for pleasure. My measuring stick for good writing is, “Am I transported? Do I have visual images of what the writer is trying to convey?” That is always the case where you are concerned, however I usually shy away from supernatural stuff. Thinking, oh my, we don’t want to go there. This post is an exception. I been listening to you talk about metaphysical stuff for as long as I’ve known you, but this time your post is one of comfort. We’ve always known that you were extra special. What if your ability to see and understand things that the rest of us can’t is a gift from God? Do you think that is the case? Some nice person, probably a writer said, “This world is the confusing one, the next one is much clearer.” I hope that is the case and that maybe you have a glimpse of the other side.


    September 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    • I decided a while ago to embrace my differences. I certainly embrace them in others. This happens often enough I can’t pretend it doesn’t and still feel true to myself. These days when I take that path, I pray. Even if it’s a simple “Our Father.” I look forward to being there.


      September 21, 2012 at 3:58 am

  3. Denise, this is an excellent story – love all your writings! and YOU!


    September 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm

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