I want to write of ghosts, real ghosts or imagined, the kind who gently bump your backside as you brush your teeth. That happened to me in my bathroom, weeks ago now, and Jim had already shared his suspicions that a ghost lived in our house. “She’s not evil or bad,” he said as I pictured myself with fingers plugged in ears screaming so as not to hear him.
I like to believe the noise we hear most days, of the toilet flushing on its own, can be explained by pressure building up in pipes. And the times a shoe dropped from the shelf in the closet it was only because I left it perched precariously the night before.
Jim’s not afraid of the things he senses. Once he told me a bird was his brother, another his dog Roger, and now he insists she’s not anything to be afraid of, this woman who lives with us.
I try hard when I go into the bathroom to pretend she’s not real, clear my mind of any notion she might be there. But of course I always land on the fear that she’s somewhere, and I peek for her in the reflections from the heat lamp in the ceiling or try to catch her image in the mirror as my head rises from spitting water in the sink.
Or I am firm, enter the bathroom with a conciliatory tone on the brain, OK Ghost, you and me, we’re going to work this out, but I’m the new mistress of this house. You’re going to have to step aside, play a new role. You can help me keep intruders at bay or make sure I never leave the bathtub overflowing. Got it?
Even so, even when I am my most courageous, I’m not really brave. Jim can tell me all he wants that we have a good ghost, a female Casper, and still I will fear. I will worry about good and evil, about Satan and God, or worse, be flooded by all the horror flick gimmicks that still haunt me today.
Intellectually I believe this ghost of ours might be all Jim’s making, he said he once walked into the laundry room and saw a woman wearing an old-fashioned dress, or well, he saw the dress, maybe not the woman, and then he shook his head and she was gone. Intellectually, I am calmed by the knowledge that Jim’s eyesight is poor, by all the times we’ve been out driving and he’s said, Oh, there’s Mike (or Matt or whoever), but it’s not Mike, it’s not even close to Mike.
But in my heart I feel her too, and if I really open up my sensitivities, I know the truth. (Mom always said I was a sensitive girl, and now being mother to a sensitive child myself, I realize that “sensitive” really means sensing your surroundings, being able to see hurt, see pain, feel what’s happening around you even if it’s not evident at the surface.)
So what now? Does she haunt me? No, not really. I’ve spent nights alone, and besides wanting Otis and Rafael to sleep in my bedroom I’ve been calm.
I might let her stay. I say it as if I have choices in the matter. I might consult with friends who are better at this than I am. Have them talk to her. Tell her it’s time to move on. It can’t be fun being stranded on this side when surely there are people asking for her on the other side. Maybe that’s it. Figuring out a way to get her to move on. I can do that. I’m convincing when I want to be.
-related to post, WRITING TOPIC – HAUNTED