Fairytales Our Mother Told Us; Only These Weren’t Meant for Bedtime
The Art of Knowing a Ghost
Caroline and Marjorie both grew up with a flair for theatrics and art. In art whether performance based or a sculpture; the art can be inspired by or instinctually lead to imitation. For instance in poetry you can use harmony, language and rhythm to decipher between comedy and drama. This was not the case for Caroline and Marjorie because their mother Francine did not distinguish between comedy and tragedy.
The girls had lost three of their grandparents early in life and death was not unfamiliar concept to them. When Caroline was in Junior High School she had a crush on a boy Mathew whom she would speak feverishly about to her mother. Mathew unfortunately became ill and passed at a very young age. This was sad for an entire community. Caroline was upset by his passing and had a hard time understanding how a person so young could die. “Mom I know there is Heaven but it’s scary because we don’t know what it’s going to be like when we get there. If I die will I be able to come back and visit you and see the people I love here on earth?” Caroline asked Francine.
“Yes Caroline. The dead can visit and they can look after us too.” Francine said comfortingly.
“Like ghosts Mom? That sounds really scary”, Caroline responded. Just then Marjorie came bursting into the room.
“Mom I am so hungry what is taking so long?” asked Marjorie.
“Marjorie I am talking to your sister, you are going to need to wait. Actually, this is important please stay and listen.” Marjorie rolled her eyes and squeezed in next to her sister.
“Marjorie your sister is worried about death and what happens after you die.”
“Duh Mom you go to Heaven. We know that! Now can I eat lunch? Geesh.” Marjorie squealed.
“Stop it Marjorie or you are going to be in trouble. What I am telling your sister is important. Got it?” Both girls nodded their heads. “I saw your friend Mathew from your school after he died here in our house.” In awe and intrigue both Caroline and Marjorie stiffened and sat straight up. “I had just turned the lights off and crawled in bed. That’s when he appeared right there”, Francine pointed to the door way of her room and Marjorie’s mouth dropped while Caroline’s mouth straightened into a line. “He was floating about two feet of the ground. He was wearing baggy jeans and a backwards cap. I couldn’t see his eyes but he just floated there for a minute. He turned his head to the front door and disappeared.”
“That is so freaky Mom,” Caroline said. “Why would he visit you?”
“Well I think he was just passing by since he lived down the street. Maybe he was looking for you Caroline.” Caroline questioned in her mind why he would visit their family, as there was no real special connection between them. Marjorie didn’t question her mother as she turned her mind back to lunch.
There were many more occasions that Francine spoke of the dead visiting her. Some stories the girls believed and others they did not. Years later, the girls had grown into young women when they were devastated by the loss of their father. It was no secret that Francine and her children’s father never got along but on no account in Caroline’s or Marjorie’s wildest imaginations could they create the subsequent ghost story.
One evening months after the passing of her father Caroline called her mother, “Hi Mom, how are you?”
“I am doing fine. You sound upset dear.”
“Yes. I am feeling angry right now about dad and his death. I wish things could have been different,” Caroline started to prepare herself to open up to her mom when she was abruptly interrupted.
“Caroline your father was an angry man even at death.” Francine’s voice became soft and serious. “I never told you but you dad came to me after he died. “
There was a long pause of silence, “Go on mom tell me.”
“Well he awoke me in the middle of the night. I could sense his presence. It was too dark to see anything but I could feel him approaching me. I tried to talk to him and tell him to go in peace but he began choking me and he had me pinned down so I could not move.” A quick flash of illustration in Caroline’s mind formulated her father the ghost choking her mother in bed into an image that was out of a 1970’s horror film. Normally, one might respond with alarm to such a story but Caroline was calm.
“What? That really happened?” Caroline quizzed her mother. As Francine answered, Caroline began to feel no need for answers and her mother’s words fell deaf on her ears. Upon hanging up the phone Caroline took a big sip of her water. She thought about what her mom said and as she pictured the ghostly image of some foggy figure choking her, she spit the water out and began laughing hysterically. She laughed so hard tears poured from her eyes and her cheeks ached in pain. Surprisingly she felt better after the conversation and got herself ready for bed. She continued to laugh to herself as she crawled into bed and with a very big and wide smile she thought, “I hope I don’t get chocked in my sleep tonight by a ghost.” This was her comic tragedy and she was happy to be laughing now more than ever.