The day was perfect. The sun was shining and the birds singing while the wind had finally settled down. My roommate, Amy, and I were driving to town and singing along to the radio when I rounded a corner and immediately saw a car coming right at me, passing on a curve, and then he swerved to avoid me but hit the car behind him, spinning it around until it hit our car. The impact tossed our car and it rolled three times before coming to a stop off the side of the road.
I've been told that when an accident happens, everything goes in slow motion, but now I was experiencing it. The first thing I heard myself say is, we are in an accident. The other cars were also going in slow motion to me, and before we rolled, I saw the first car go over the hill and into the lake. Even the process of rolling was in slow motion after the impact, and I knew my arm was broken but it came to me slowly, painfully, and for a moment I felt as though I were on a slow moving amusement park ride where the cars are tossed up and then down again.
Items in the vehicle seemed to float in the air and bounce slowly off the roof and then back down. I kept thinking I needed to get control of the car and get it back on the road, but it was getting more hopeless with each passing moment. After the first roll, and going into the second, everything went black. That was when I died, but I didn't go through a tunnel or see my relatives, I just seemed to be in a sort of vacuum, floating around in infinity. Almost instantly I was aware of lying in a bed in the hospital and could hear people talking all around me. Slowly, I opened my eyes, but when I looked at my body I knew something was horribly wrong, because I was in Amy's body, not my own. But, I had died, so how could I possibly be here, in her body?
The next few hours were agonizing. Not only did I have a broken leg and ribs, but I had a large bandage on my head that told me I had head injuries as well. That must be it. I didn't die, I only thought I did, and now I was hallucinating from all the drugs they had given me. I closed my eyes knowing that when I woke again the world would make sense.
For the following three days I was in and out of sleep and the thought of being in Amy's body did not occur to me at all. I continued to sleep and dream of driving down the road and listening to the radio, singing along, Amy's chubby face laughing when I missed the words, and the smell of a bright, spring day.
About a week later I began to wake up and face the reality of who I was and what I looked like. Amy was cute, but a little chubby and not very tall, whereas I had been tall, lanky and lean. I could always lose the weight and work out, that was not a big problem for me. It was the way it felt looking in the mirror and realizing the face looking back had died.
Over the next few months I worked out several times a day and began to drop the weight, and slowly was getting back into shape. I had taken a small studio apartment in town since I couldn't bring myself to continue living where we had shared a home. She was a good roommate and easy to live with, but that is hard to find. Besides, I needed to be alone to figure out what had happened and what it all meant. I began to journal and research the afterlife and spirits, but in the end I still had no answers.
One day as I was walking back to my apartment it began to rain, so I stepped inside an old bookstore to wait it out. The store smelled musty and stale, and a very old woman sat behind the counter reading a book. She never even looked up and I was just as happy that she hadn't noticed me. I stood in the doorway and watched the rain so I could leave the minute it stopped pouring and find a more suitable escape from the storm. The shop was cold, and I felt a scrawny hand touch my shoulder, a hand that felt like death itself. I must have jumped a mile, apologizing when I realized it was the old woman from behind the counter. She was blind, and began to ask me questions about why I was so confused and what was bothering me. I couldn't figure out how she knew unless she was a psychic of some sort, but she sure didn't look like one.
Fifteen minutes later I was joining her in the back room for tea. She had put the closed due to weather sign on the door, locked it, and led me to the back room in spite of her lack of eyesight. Once there, I felt comfortable, maybe because it was warmer in there and the aroma of sweet incense filled the air. Wind chimes rang softly in the distance and I immediately felt right at home. She handed me a hot cup of tea, smiled, and then sat down in the rocker across from me as though she could see it perfectly. Her first words to me were shocking. She said I was a walk-in now, a term that described a situation where the spirit in the living body wants to go home, and another spirit is sent to replace it. She then went on to tell me that Amy was very unhappy inside, and that she longed to be with her brother who had passed on a few years before. I didn't even know Amy had a brother, but it made sense. Some days I know Amy was so down she would stay in her room most of the day, but I never thought it was this horrible.
The old woman had given me an explanation, and hit the nail on the head when it came to how I felt. I wanted to know if I could leave the same way I came, and she told me yes, once I had fulfilled my promises and completed Amy's job here. She reached back and pulled a small book from the shelf behind her with twisted fingers that told me she was very arthritic. It had to be hard running a business with so many things to deal with, but she was managing quite well.
The book was about spirit guides, walk-ins, and other assorted topics that I had been wondering about while doing my research, and I found myself pouring over the information on breaks at work and most of the night. I read the book for five days straight searching for answers. The only thing I couldn't seem to figure out was how to find out what Amy's job was so I could complete it. I decided to go back to the old woman and ask, but when I rounded the corner of the building and started down the block I knew something was very wrong. The place where the bookstore had been was not there, but instead there was a floral shop in its place. That could not have switched in a mere five days, or could it? Maybe I was losing my mind, maybe it was all a bad dream, but neither of those ideas made sense. Besides, I was still holding the book the old woman had given me that day, so obviously I was not losing my mind.
Days have come and gone, and I've lived a fairly normal life, even getting married and having a family, but I have never shared my secret with anybody, not even my husband as fine as he is. I don't know if I really believe what happened, even though I still have the book I was given, because it seems so bizarre. I guess there is more to heaven and earth than we will ever know, and maybe someday I will understand.
Thank you for listening to my story.