The Dead.

November 15, 2010 at 11:52 pm (crossroads, fishmongering, the ancestors)

For Halloween, which happens to be the anniversary of my lovely roommate’s birth and of my conception, we covered the house in dead leaves, cobwebs, feathers, and bones. We filled apothecary jars with a cocktail made from rye whiskey, applejack, and cider, and an ornate punchbowl with a champagne cocktail made with creme de cassis and chambord and fresh blackberries. Dressing up, as one must, I did what I could to represent the god Pan. I wore a flesh coloured nothing of a dress, a vintage fox fur stole, pheasant feathers in my hair and a jutting folly of a broach made of oak leaves and dangerously long pheasant tail feathers across my clavicle and over my shoulder. I went barefoot, and had gold dust on my face and on my hands. We had food, drink, and sweets to offer to friends, strangers, and any ghosts who might arrive, but, for the most part, only the living seemed to have been very thirsty.

The house in which I live does, however, have its ghosts. At times I hear the sounds of neighbours moving about, the dragging of a chair on a hardwood floor, the opening and closing of drawers next door, in the master bedroom of a house that was torn down years ago. My roommate hears a woman weeping sometimes when I’m not home, and I feel a strange sense of apprehension at the space at the top of the stairs, just in front of her bedroom door. I only think it strange how mundane living with a haunting seems. I think of them less than my other neighbours, certainly. The dead are quieter; more civilised, too.

I’d seem to have received a promotion. I’ll be moving soon, as a result, to the store farthest away from the city. I found a big, spooky house across the street from a pretty church and a swamp. It’s all white walls, hardwood floors, interesting architectural details, odd angles, old glass, and strange closets. It feels like it has its ghosts, too.

And today, in preparing for the move, I opened the box of letters, photographs, and art sent to me by the people who have read the various incarnations of this blog in the last dozen years. I found a stack from the charming young lady with whom I’d been in correspondence for years before finally luring her to Philadelphia and making her my roommate. There were postcards and trinkets and envelopes filled with glitter from old, lost friends, and from people I barely remember. There were odd, rambling things sent from London in curling script so pretty that I can barely read it. I found pictures of me kissing the sender. Most of these things I discarded. I’ve kept a small pile, a stack of beloved paper ghosts.

1 Comment

  1. Annabel said,

    Share more of your ghost stories with me, please? Even the ones you’ve already told me, as ghost stories are perfect for retelling.

    I keep the ghosts in an old lunch box. It isn’t a children’s lunch box. I think it may have been my father’s or grandfather’s. It is the kind I associate with hard-labor jobs, construction or mill work.

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