The room grew very quiet, and all eyes were on the man who seemed to be waking from a very deep slumber. Sighs could be heard and some shifting of the bedclothes. I watched as one arm lifted and now rested behind my grandfather’s head. He rubbed his nose, but his eyes remained closed.
I was looking across the room at a man who died in his 30’s. I’ve already lived 3 decades beyond that, yet, this man very much felt like and had the energy of, a grandfather even in his young body. He looked like Rudolph, too. My memory of the single surviving photograph of him came to sleepy life on the bed.
I turned to look at Dolores. She quietly gestured to the brown suitcase still closed in front of me. Gently, she said, “It’s time to open that one.”
I glanced at the man in the bed. He was still snoozing, and his eyes remained closed. I opened the brown suitcase and surveyed the contents. This suitcase had much of what the blue suitcase had, but more of it, and also books. There were several books in the bottom of the case. No wonder it was heavier.
Dolores said, “Find a photograph Candace, and we’ll get started.”
Suppressing my curiosity about this directive, I simply did what I was told. There were several loose black and white photographs in the mix and my hand landed upon one.
A first glance revealed nothing posed or staged in this photograph, curious enough for a capture of that time in history, but the image itself was also uncommon. It was of a woman, in a garden, hanging up sheets on a line. She was wearing a long, light-colored dress. Her hair was dark and curly, but her eyes not so much. The photo was grainy and aged and somewhat blurry, as the subject was obviously in motion.
I brought the photo closer to my face, attempting to peer closer and identify the face of this laundress. I did not know who she was.
“Rosita” The man whispered from his bed, eyes still closed. “Her name was Rosa, but I called her Rosita.”
I looked at Dolores. “Just hold the photo, Candace. Keep your concentration on it and on Rudolph.”
I had so many questions for Dolores, and Rudolph, and was eager to find out what exactly was happening here. I felt them all flood into my mind and wanted to have Dolores explain. Didn’t she say a “solid foundation” was in order? What was solid about what was happening now?
“I’ll get to that,” Dolores said out loud. “Let’s let Rudolph speak just a bit.” She leaned a bit forward in her chair and looked at me strongly and directly as if we were the only two in the room. “Just think of this as another session. That’s all you have to do. Then it will all unfold naturally.”
I realized I stopped breathing right at that moment. It was one of those times where one knows, just knows to the very core of their being, that everything about life was about to change.
Dolores just nodded and smiled.