Written by Ken Carman
“You really need to look at things logically…”
I turned my back to him.
I know that seems disrespectful and rude: after all he is my father. But we have had this argument a million times. He knows we’ve had this argument “a million times.” He knows his concept of “logic” and mine are not the same. But he keeps insisting on arguing; slamming his head against the same old, same old, wall: his son.
But he never seems to learn.
Neither do I, for even though I know what will follow if I turn my back to him, I do anyway. At first I feel a cold chill, then he’s in front of me. He passed right through me. Dad continues to argue.
That’s when I said what I shouldn’t have said, “God damned ghosts.”
He looks at me disapprovingly, even though he curses sometimes too.
How do you avoid a knock down, drag out, argument, if some fatherly ghost can pass right through you and stay in your face? I’d close my eyes, but now he’s in my head. Really “in my head.”
Being possessed sucks.
So, once again, I attempt the hopeless: I shake his essence out of my head, then stomp out of my own goddamn house, out onto the sidewalk. Impossible because I know he will eventually follow… be right back in my face. After all, all he has to do is think about being somewhere, and he’s there.
Am I haunted? No more than anyone else.
As I walk the streets I see grandmothers following grandsons praising them: fussing over them so much they run. They have no where to run as the fussing continues. Dead wives harass their husbands, dead husbands harass their wives, dead ex spouses scream in their ex’s faces and keep them from finding love. Saddest of all the dead children crying, following their parents. Usually it’s just one parent or the other. Marriages don’t last long when some dead 12 year old keeps blaming one parent, or the other, for some unfortunate accident.
On the bright side there’s little murder, rape or robbery. Some loud mouth specter is always blabbing. Adultery is still around, but of course marriage is rare and open marriages common. Pretending one’s being faithful is impossible when ghosts are everywhere: even in your head. They tattle. They LOVE to tattle.
We can’t hide.
I know Dad only let me be because he’s hoping I’d cool down and “be more reasonable.” Never has worked before, but we’re both so hard headed you’d think we’re related.
I’d laugh at that, but it’s not funny when no one goes away, even when they die… and punching them, avoiding them, shooting them: nothing works. Ectoplasm is probably one of the few un-destroyable substances in the universe, though I’m sure scientists have worked on that impossibility since humanity first stood up and put on a lab coat.
The problem is there’s always some fucking ghost there to divert attention from positive results, or annoy you out of that, “Eureka!” moment.
We long for a world where when your dead you’re dead: you’re just gone. Or at least most of us can’t hear you, or see you. You need to move on. We need to move on. With ghosts no one moves on.
If we could move on we could make up stories about you, or focus on the supposed good things you did. Tell jokes and stories you told without you “correcting us” all the time, even though we may be right and you just forgot. Live livess where sons and daughters can once again worship gone parents like they did when they were five: become complete adults… standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before. It would even be nice if only our dead dogs didn’t follow us barking, begging to be petted by a master or mistress who can’t even touch them, or dead cats no longer meowed for fresh cat food they can’t eat.
One can only hope, in some alternate reality, death is final, instead of a daily curse for those never truly “left behind.”
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