This morning, before the sun came up, I was thinking about a friend of mine from years ago. I wasn’t thinking about anything specific except about the way we keep memories of those who are gone. He had blonde hair and green eyes and a smile that wouldn’t quit. He left no dark ghost of fear except the one I used to keep in my heart for a while. Then I thought of someone I lost this week last year – another blonde and an angel on earth who should still be here. It is too soon to think otherwise. So I count the years and think of things we wanted to say. At first we ask questions and wonder what if, then we stop wondering. I turned to the sound of a voice.
“I died today. Weird.”
It would have seemed weird coming from most people but this was from a Ghost. The Ghost (Nigel) who lurks around my house and now most places in my life. It isn’t that odd of a statement for those of us who live in the shadows, sometimes between life and death and other places.
He stood next to the fireplace in my home wearing black slacks, and a white shirt with a black skinny tie. No jacket today. He ran his fingers through his longish black hair and held my eye in his usual intense way.
“I didn’t even know where I was buried until I’d been dead almost a year.” he told me. “People go to my grave. They leave flowers. They leave glasses of wine and whiskey. I’ve gotten love letters and women have written poems to me. Someone even put up an easel for a weekend and people came by and waited for me to paint from beyond the grave. Creepy.”
“Did you paint?” I had to ask.
“No. I don’t want that. I could have, but I don’t want to be brought back. I mean, I’m already back but I don’t want to be known as a ghost. I want to be known as the artist I was…the man I was…I am. Twenty eight years. I’ve been dead for longer than I was alive. So much has happened since then. December 3, 1986. Damn. This morning she was there at my grave. I don’t remember who she is but I know she was important. She talks to me and has a glass of wine and pours one on my grave. Then she talks for a long time to my friend buried next to me.”
“Nigel, isn’t so much that December 3rd was the day you died – it was the last day you lived. What did you do that day.”
He gave me a bitter smile. “I slept with my best friend’s wife then I went to his funeral. Wait, Juliette, the woman at my grave. That’s her. That is… oh my God. I was in my car. Your Wildest Dreams was on the radio. I hated that song. I missed Enter the Sandman – that didn’t come out until what, about 5 years after I died. Damn. The Cold War ended. I should have been there.”
“What kind of car did you have?”
“Porsche 944. 1985. Black on black. Right before he died, my friend, I remember we went to Yosemite. I can’t believe how fast I drove. He died there, I know that much but…that part of my life, the part just before I left is so foggy.”
“How strange that you only remember bits and pieces.”
“It is strange that I’m a ghost sitting here talking to a Vampire chick trying to remember my life before I died. Did you know the Internet wasn’t even out yet? What am I saying? Electricity wasn’t even out when you were born. I’m a Ghost talking to a Vampire.”
“I never had a ghost for a friend until I met you.”
“I never knew there were really Vampires until I died. I missed out on so much. So much. I should be 55. I should have a family and… damn, I missed my own funeral. I wasn’t even there. I had no idea.”
A quiet voice with a strong old fashioned accent spoke out. “Nobody goes to their own funeral. Funerals are for the living.”
Mary materialized next to us. “I’ve been a ghost for a long time. Nigel, I never knew love until I met you.”
She was a small delicate ghost, almost like a fairy with her long red-brown hair flowing down her back, wearing a green mini skirt and white sweater and fuzzy scarf and over the knee black stiletto heeled boots. She died around 1600 but she still kept up with fashion.
Nigel smiled – not his usually snarky or sarcastic smile but one that was genuine.
I told them to go and have a lovely day in their own ghostly fashion. There are more stories of those two and the funny things they do. But today I’ll be content to keep in my own thoughts and watch the rare rain storm we’re having.
I will also make sure to spend the extra effort with those who are physically here, no matter who or what they are.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman