February 4, 2012: I am up on the catwalk, getting an overview of the action when the Phantom of My Blog comes up behind me and nudges me over the edge. I grab hold of a rope in the fly system. I slide rapidly down to the knot at the end and get rope burn on the palms of my hands. At the end of my rope, I have to let go and fall where I may….
I seem to have landed amidst of a heap of backdrops. It’s hard to know which scene I’m in, what my role is; moreover, when I recite my lines, my audience does not comprehend. I think I am speaking English to an English-speaking audience. I recognize the futility of becoming the director of my own play.
“Oh, didn’t anybody tell you?” they say when I call the healthcare agency to find out where the scheduled aide is. “She can’t make it today.”
“Well, who’s coming in her place?”
“Oh, we don’t have anybody.”
In May 2011 a hospice volunteer suggested I write a blog about my mother’s and my journey through her dementia. I told her I had been wanting to but that I didn’t want to compromise my mother’s privacy and dignity by doing so. The volunteer said, “Then use fake names.” I ran for my computer. I became Samantha Mozart, and my mother, Emma. I continue to write my blog, as you can see.
Early on, it occurred to me that you may be padding around in the alcoves, chambers, catwalks and labyrinths of my blog and I do not know you are here. You are here watching me, somewhere inside, lurking. I sing for you. You are here, reading all my stuff, but you don’t leave a comment. You are The Phantom of My Blog.
Seven weeks after Emma’s passing I have a house clearing party. My hospice chaplain suggested it. Everybody comes — my hospice team and all my close friends, the ones who had known Emma through her decline. The loving embrace feels warm and good. And afterwards, all leave. The house is clear, the dark cloud of long suffering has dissipated.
The empty house.
I get hungry, so I venture downstairs to the kitchen to see what I can fire up to eat from the refrigerator. On the way, out of the corner of my imagination as I pass by the ballroom of my blog, I see the Phantom manning a push broom with a long flat head (the broom, not the Phantom, although sometimes I wonder).
“What are you doing?” I ask him.
He is sweeping party hats, crepe paper streamers, confetti, paper cups and cracker crumbs into a pile.
“The party’s over,” he says, not looking up from his work.
Who is this Phantom of My Blog? A narrative device? A fall guy? Is he diabolical? He seems to have a penchant for organizing accidents. Or is he a subtle mastermind working for the good of it all?
O magical Moriarty, like Mercury with winged feet, here and there and everywhere! Thank you for being a friend and guide to Samantha and, importantly, such a creative muse for her! You’re welcome in my home too … maybe we can ALL meet and muse, sip wine and share much …
You should have seen Moriarty this morning, Susan, when he read your comment calling him magical. He was so lit up and excited he was dancing a jig and singing a song in Afrikaans, but quickly realized he doesn’t know the language. However, he has now added a visit to you in his travel plans. Will come down to J’burg (or Plett — he likes the beach) right after visiting the Prophet and Child and their kind and wise friend in Germany. I will be coming with him, of course.
He is amused at being called a muse. He is Samantha’s muse, of course.
I wondered if we would ever hear from Moriarty again, yet I somehow knew he was there to assist you emotionally. Who could boost you and keep you sane during such heartbreaking, difficult times? Thanks for bringing back.
He comes and goes as he pleases, Marsha; he has a mind of his own. And, you know, he did nudge me over the edge of the catwalk. Thankfully, it was a soft landing.
Needless to say, Moriarty has stolen the spotlight — to my great delight.
This really felt like Alice in Wonderland to me . . . and I thought it was incredibly creative and interesting. I think that the Phantom should stick around – especially if he’s willing to clean up after a party.
He doesn’t dust, though. And last winter he misplaced the blog’s snow shovels. 🙂 He comes and goes here at the blog. He’ll be in my next A-Z post or two. He is a favorite among my readers. I think they like him better than me.
Thank you, Tyrean, for visiting the Phantom and me and for your kind and encouraging compliment. Nice to meet you.
I’m laughing with you at your conversation with Patricia. I fully agree with her comments about Moriarty. He definitely is an expert Director and backstage hand. Now, I recommend that you convince him to pay you at least minimum wage for what you have done to help out. Here in Washington State they are pushing for a $15 per hour minimum wage… go for it. Don’t let him sweep you under the rug.
I thought it was the other way around, Gwynn — Moriarty helping me. He may have other ideas, though. Who knows what he thinks. In any case, we’ll have to set up our Scheherazade Chronicles nonprofit in Washington State so that one of us, at least, will be paid that high minimum wage, if it goes through. Btw, we do have a nice antique Persian rug up in the blog cupola.
Yes, Patricia, the Profit and Moriarty are masterminding plans. I’m packing my suitcase. 🙂
I think your Moriarty is genial and fits to your person. He’s there, invisible but yet presence because he challenges you. From reading your blog, I’ve always thought he is the mastermind working for your good.
Moriarty appreciates your compliments, Patricia. He has masterminded travel plans to Paris to the Palais Garnier to visit the Phantom of the Opera soon, now that the weather is warmer and it won’t be so dank down there on that lake where that phantom lives, and he tells me this morning that while he is over there in Europe he might just stop by and have a chat with the Prophet and the Child.
Please let him know that he’s very welcome. The Prophet will bring out a bottle of his best red wine, and The Child will drink out hot chocolate and overwhelm Moriarty with her endless questions.
In that case, I think I’ll come, too. 🙂