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Friday, February 19, 2016

Compassionate Man and the Extraordinary Day

Transcendent day regarding Asha's story. I spent the late morning talking to a very kind person related to her case (I will not reveal the connection or who he is, but I am going to call him Compassionate Man her).  It was, I must say, an extraordinary discussion and I am again amazed at all the connections between Asha and the people involved with the case here in Santa Cruz, who knew her in life, or just feel drawn to her story: shared birth dates, names, an amazing cornucopia of serendipity. Why are people so drawn to this young woman's story, drawn to the light that was, and is, the essence of her, and the innocent child she carried? That is her exquisite cipher, one I keep following.

After speaking with Compassionate Man (whom I hope to meet and speak with again, deeply appreciative of his patience, kindness, and willingness to meet with me), I walked around downtown Santa Cruz for about an hour.  The day was transcendentally beautiful, rinsed clean by last night's intense rain. I decided to go to Bookshop Santa Cruz, my eternal refuge.

Just before I walked in, I looked down at my feet and saw a bright penny, brand new.  I picked it up as I always do when I find one, and tried to look at the date on it.  I  had no reading glasses on and the sun shone so bright that I could not see the date.  I put in in my satchel's pocket, the satchel full of court papers related to McClish's trial.

In Bookshop Santa Cruz, I bought reading glasses and, after browsing a while, a sewing kit.  I own more sewing supplies than I will ever need in several lifetimes, yet I wanted this one, drawn to its ornate green and silver box.

I realized as I stood in line to pay that I was aldo buying it because my deep heart wanted to do what I never can: repair somehow the unconscionable rent in the universe left by Asha and little Anina's murder.

After paying for the reading glasses and the sewing kit, I stayed in the bookstore, feeling like I needed the cocoon for a bit more.  I browsed the used books, not really seeing their titles, thinking about the conversation I had just left.

Then Asha Veil walked through the door of Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Shock hit me like a burst of electricity and I truly thought I was seeing her ghost. The woman was Asha's height; she looked exactly like her, and she was visibly pregnant.  For years, I have only seen flat pictures of Asha, and suddenly seeing a real-life, 3-D image again was almost too much for me.  It dawned on me after a heart-pounding minute that this was not Asha's ghost, but a woman who resembled Asha so much that she could have been her twin sister.  She talked to a male companion as she walked through the bookstore and I had a bizarre urge to follow them. Of course I didn't, but it was a compelling, outrageously strange experience.

Freaked out, I went down to a local ice cream store which has wonderful handcrafted treats.  I figured that the diet could just go to hell today, so I ordered an affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso) and sat down to think and write.  I remembered the penny I'd found just before seeing Asha's doppelganger.  It had fallen down into the folders of legal papers, but I found it at the bottom. When I saw the penny's date, I gasped, causing the two people at the table beside me to turn their heads in my direction.

The date on the penny (nestled in a folder of legal papers related to Asha's case) was 2011, the year Michael McClish was brought to trial for Asha and Anina's murder.