The Barrier

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The Barrier
Flo stared down at the pencil lines on the sheet of paper before her.  There were two lines tracing the path of the shadows made by her outstretched finger lying beneath the glow from the lamp above.  One line traced the outer edge of the dark shadow or umbra, the other traced the outer edge of the light shadow or penumbra.  She would be completing her experiment by putting on a tight fitting disposable glove and placing the same finger beneath the lamp making sure the umbra line it creates coincides with the umbra pencil line.  Then she would examine the penumbra line to see whether or not it exactly followed the pencil penumbra line.  It mustn’t follow exactly or she would have nothing. 
Her thoughts drifted back to the few seconds where it all began. The few seconds that led to a strenuous mental effort to figure things out, an effort that somehow stretched into the years as ideas formed ever so slowly over time.  

Flo walked out of the college where she worked in downtown Toronto.  It had been a usual kind of day and it was 4:00 pm.  She waited with other people for the streetcar going west along King Street.  The streetcar arrived and out she stepped onto the road.  She hadn't noticed.  She walked right into the path of a speeding cyclist who, unconcerned, came up quickly through the space between the streetcar and the people gathered on the sidewalk.

It was as though a camera flash had gone off, but instead of a yellow light, a black light momentarily filled her vision.  She felt no pain but knew something had happened.  Turning her head to the right she saw, coming out of the right side of her body on an upward trajectory, a miniature version of a man on a bike.  The colors of the whole of it were blue and white. The bike and rider emerged and flung out into the air going west, landing on the road ahead while assuming a normal size and continuing on along King Street.  Flo looked down and raised her right arm.  She could feel it rise as would be expected but she couldn't see it.  Her arm was invisible though she could see through to the road below.   Feeling no fear, but more of a feeling of exaltation, Flo swung her head in both directions to see the reactions of the people around her.  Had they seen this amazing thing?  The man directly behind her was looking at the cyclist riding off.  Other people were moving towards the streetcar door.   They showed no sign of having seeing anything out of the ordinary.  Flo walked on to the streetcar wondering as she sat down if she would go right through the seat.  She didn't.  

Her body invisible, her arm moving as usual, the bike and rider passing though her.
Physical and non-physical at the same time, two states at the same time, two places at the same time.
Flo walked away from her experiment and looked out of the window.  The backyard bushes had turned fall red, the leaves were still floating in the wind down to the lawn.  Her mind was once again attempting to run through all the pieces of the rationale for her experiment.  But it became a blur.  She turned, walked up to her experiment and justified it to herself in broad strokes one last time.
Her own living body had changed from normal to non-physical and back again.  But the same thing had happened to the bike.  It wasn't possible that an inanimate object could behave the same as a person.  Inanimate objects don't live and they don't die.  People could have the potential to be both physical and non-physical.   This is what Flo’s experience at the streetcar stop meant to her:  The possibility of life after death.
She speculated - the environment where we may end up, as she called it, the  ‘after life environment’,  is all around us.  Any physical object is like air to this environment which goes right through it.  But the ‘afterlife environment’ can't go through people.  It stops at people.  It meets a barrier at people.  Otherwise some new space, some new energy would have to be created upon death if there were to be an afterlife and this goes against the laws.  Death simply releases each entity to its own environment – the physical body to the physical, the after-life body to the afterlife.
 "You were dreaming" said someone upon hearing her story.
Not if she could prove the existence of that barrier.   This was her experiment.  Light hitting her bare finger beneath the lamp had met the barrier – the place where the ‘afterlife environment’ collides with the body - a place therefore of some distortion .  This would have influenced the direction of the shadow line moving off of her finger.   With her tightly gloved finger under the lamp, light will meet the material of the glove and move off of it without encountering this distortion.  Thus creating the potential for some difference in the penumbra line.
Flo put on the glove, placed her finger in position under the lamp, and examined closely the direction of the outer edge of the penumbra line. 
She bent closer, she examined it more closely, again.  And became very, very dizzy.


About the Author: 
Edra Bayefsky works as a Library Technician but has taken, out of interest, some chemistry courses.

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