True Short Stories from India (A search for the purpose of Life)

By PF Sloan

Story 6: The Secret Message

I was driving home alone after having had lunch with a friend in Venice, Ca.
While waiting in the left lane to make a turn, I saw a large expensive box in the middle of the intersection. It looked like a hat box to me. I made my turn, opened my door, and swooped it in like a hawk its prey.
I pulled over to the curb, shut the motor off, to have us a peek inside. The people in a restaurant, across the street with large glass windows, were watching my every move. So, this film was being shot and the audience was watching and what was this character going to do? What was in the box?
I lifted the top of the box and found inside a spongy and realistic form of a female breast. Being artistic by nature, it hadnít occurred to me this was a prosthesis, but rather a symbol of some kind.
Since breaking apart from my girlfriend, my first reaction was that this was a joke to remind me of how much I missed her physically. But looking at the audience across the street, I realized quickly that wasnít it.
Then I thought, did there have to be a message? Couldnít this just be some random event? Yes, I thought, exactly! This thought sobered me for me the moment, and I realized someone must want this back!
I looked on the box for an address or telephone number but found none.
I thought of taking it home with me and placing it on my pillow, but no, that wasnít the right thing to do.
I placed the box in front of the restaurant, in case whoever lost it decided to backtrack. I placed the mystery in front of the audienceÖ. And that was it, I thought, or rather would like to think.
As I was driving, I thought, what kind of person loses a breast like that? Oh, Betty, do you remember what I did with that breast I bought the other day? I found it comical, I didnít see the pain or the obvious.

It wasnít more than a couple of months later I found myself back in India with Sai Baba. The ashram rooms were completely filled up and that meant having to take a small hotel room in the town. Rooms there at the time were expensive and not as clean. Not to mention the endless noise of the traffic and cars that honked their horns in Indian tradition day and night!

I hesitated in making any decision and sat and waited for something to propel me into action. It came in the form of a woman. My on-again, off-again female love was at the ashram and says, "I have to talk to you". I told her of my situation, being without a room, that is and she said to me, "There is one room here that is locked up tight, but I have a friend who has the key. It seems the woman whose room it is went back to the States to have a cancerous breast removed!