Thursday, June 04, 2009

            Today I was alone in my house, like every day. It’s a big house to inhabit alone. No matter how old we are, solitude in a big house brings the unknown to the forefront. Especially doors – they loom, mysterious. What’ s behind them. When you’re alone, you can’t ask anyone, “hey, what do you think is behind that door?”

            And then when there’s wind – they open, and shut. Or is it the wind?

            My mom always made me believe in ghosts. “They’re not scary,” she would say, “if my dad came to see me as a ghost I’d be thrilled!” This always scared the shit out of me. Frankly, while I wished that I had known my grandfather, I didn’t want to see him back from the dead.  It didn’t help that, so casually, without the slightest care of scaring out of my mind, my mother asserted that her dad inhabited the house my grandmother currently lived in, and probably watched me sleep at night because he loved me.

            Seriously mom?! Why did you tell that to a little kid?

            So when we visited grandma, on top of it all, my bedroom was in the basement. A large, musty, damp room with no natural light, I slept in the corner, the opposite corner of which was a dark, concrete laundry room. There were noises. And creepy little porcelain figures above my head (that had apparently belonged to my grandfather), random trinkets, black and white photographs of seemingly unhappy ancestors, all staring at me while I slept. Not to mention the gigantic moose antlers that jutted out from the wall across from me.

            Every time I heard a noise, my heart rate skyrocketed. It’s him. He’s finally here. Oh my god. What do I do? What do I say? Go away!! Go away!! I’m not ready to meet a ghost, I don’t care who you are!! And then the noises would stop; I would lay alert for a time, and then gradually drift off into childhood oblivion.

            Now, I await a different ghost.

            And now I finally understood what my mother meant – why she wasn’t afraid of her dad.

            In this big house, my mom lives. Coming home from college was jarring, unexpectedly harsh; for how could I be here, and she isn’t? But living in this space for a week now has, you could say, acquainted me with this supernatural of which my mom was always so cheerfully aware.

            I’m not afraid; I’m excited.

            Today, as I sat at my computer in the dining room, lazing in the sun, I heard doors open and shut in my mom and dad’s bedroom. That’s where she died. Yes, it’s windy here on the water, and yes, the pressure does do strange things to the door. But at the specific time of day when I’m used to hearing my mother primping in the bathroom, the doors always speak.

            I don’t know what’s behind them. But I open them to see, after the noises. And every time, I hope with every part of me that I’ll see her.

            But I suppose feeling her is enough. Now I know why she was never scared.