Dia de Muertos Overload (and ghosts with banjos in my kitchen)

I swear sometimes it feels like…

Halloween is just around the corner. Day of the Dead. Día de Muertos.

Sometimes the dead get too excited about the Day of the Dead. Sometimes the dead can’t wait.

As a Vampire I can see ghosts. I can see them almost all of the time. They’re everywhere, but they generally respect the space of others – especially those who are on the edge of the shadows.

But not this October.

I’ve got things crawling up my walls. Small hominoid weirdness in the form of shadows crawl up the walls and around the ceilings of my breakfast nook. I have no idea who they were or where they came from.

Then there are the 49ers, not football players but the ghosts of old gold miners camped out in my living room playing guitars and things that look like banjos. My house is built right next to a major gold mining area. People who mined gold tended to die young and away from home. Their ghosts linger around looking for comfort. I just wish they’d find comfort somewhere else.

For anyone else, anyone who can’t see ghosts it isn’t a problem. OK it usually isn’t a problem but I want my space back.

I’ve tried to shoo the gold miners away. They just look at me with sad faces and fade away for an hour or two, then I hear the music again. The music is horrible too. They’re going to make my ears explode.

As for the nasty little crawlers, They disgusted and frustrated me beyond just about everything I have ever known.

For the past week I’ve been seeing every ghost except my ghost. That would be Nigel the Ghost. And I can’t forget his charming girlfriend Mary. Nigel isn’t always that charming. In fact he’s a major asshole most of the time, but he is my asshole ghost.

Nigel didn’t come with the house. Neither did Mary but they’re here. We don’t know why, but look up the old blog posts about them.

Anyway, I’ve got a woman with her head in her hands walking up and down my stairs. I’ve got some musicians from the 1920’s hanging out in the kitchen. More just come and go. It’s a mess.

I was at my wit’s end but I had things to do, places to go, people to meet.

When I came home from a couple of meetings I had today the ghoulish gold miners were still playing their mournful songs.

“You guys are worse than leaf blowers,” I yelled at the. “You need to go away NOW.” I showed them my fangs, like that would do any good.

A small dark shadow sat in my kitchen window watching me with dark mournful eyes. I wondered if ghosts could get pink eye because this guy sure did have it.

The woman on the stairs had put her head back on, and she was now sitting on my stairs alongside another woman who had a huge knife sticking out of her chest. Their large skirts covered about half of the stairwell. I walked right through them on the way up to my bedroom. I thought about changing clothes but I had no idea who would suddenly appear.

This is ridiculous I thought. And it was. I mean, who likes a house full of ghosts? Nobody.

Then just about the time I almost felt like screaming in frustration I smelled a hint of red wine, gardenia, and oil paint. Turning around I saw Nigel, The Ghost.

“They’re all gone,” he said, as he rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt. Then he shook his head and let his shaggy black hair fall into place around his pretty but very male face.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Anything for my favorite vampire,” he said with a slight smile. “They think you’re safe, the ghosts do. They think you’ll like them and blog about them. Like all ghosts they’re just a little confused and posts. They just don’t want to be forgotten.”

“That isn’t my problem,” I said.

“Obviously it IS your problem. But I took care of it Juliette. You owe me.”

“Yes, I do,” I said. I also regretted saying that as soon as the words left my mouth.

Nigel came close and I could feel him put his cold ghostly hands on my cold vampire shoulders. He put his face close to mine and whispered in my ear, “Even the most tormented souls long for a champion. Even those who live in the land of nowhere, in the perpetual hell of a tortured soul, and a fractured reality need love and a sense of safety. That is why they seek you out. Don’t be a bitch Juliette.”

Then he kissed my cheek with lips so warm it surprised me, then he stepped back and vanished with a wisp of blue smoke and the scent of pumpkin spice.

I stood for a minute, my mind full of ghosts, and my meetings, my family coming home in a few hours, and everything I needed to do in the next few hours. But I thought before I left home again that I’d share this.

October is here. As usual my brain is full.

And Nigel, if you’re reading this… don’t get too full of yourself.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Alters of Love

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In honor of Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) my brother Andy builds shrines for people he has known, especially for Isadora, a woman he loved for almost 40 years. He puts out photographs, small items that were hers – a pair of lace gloves, her fan, earrings, a poem, a perfume bottle that has long lost it’s scent. The shrine is sprinkled with marigolds and always two glasses of wine so he can drink to her happiness on the other side. And on November 3 he’ll put it all away.

Isadora was offered the chance to live beyond the normal human lifespan. She loved my brother and lived with him as his wife. They hobnobbed with robber barons, welcomed in the 20th century, made music together, traveled the world and he stayed with her and loved her as she grew old. But she always said no to his offers of becoming like him.  Honestly, I’ve told him, most people don’t want to become Vampires, even when they love one of us with all of their heart and soul.

But Andy never gives up hope.

My children and I went to a Day of the Dead display in Sacramento. It was a festive event in a midtown parking lot. Families had set up ofrendas (alters) to honor loved ones. It was not a sad occasion but a place to celebrate and remember. The sugar skulls and skeleton images mixed with photographs and flowers was so matter of fact and well, nice.

On the way home we talked about school mostly. There here and now is on the minds of teens. Relationships and jealously was on the agenda. Why do girls get mad if another girl talks to their boyfriends and why do the boys put up with it. No self-confidence, no self-control, no self-worth, they had their theories and opinions. High School relationships are complex and fleeting. My son was always a flirt and more of the romantic so I worried more. My daughter is more pragmatic and not looking for the drama of love right now.

They asked if I minded if they played their music. Of course not.

I wonder if they’ll question their loves or mourn them the way my brother does, or if they’ll fall in love with anyone they can’t be with forever, or even fall in love forever. For some loves do last forever, even with we can see it or feel it anymore.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman