Sunday, August 3, 2014

Ghost Part Dos

Ghosts are made of regret, hope, rage, joy, sadness, and confusion, the same as everyone else.  The living have a constant barrage of physical sensations and the blissful ignorance of a doubtless existence to shield them from the near constant metaphysical breakdown a lonely soul like Grace Kinder faced every second.  Feeling needed can be a powerful addiction, it's even more powerful to the dead who only have emotional pursuits with which to occupy their time.  For the first time since her icy crash, and maybe for a long while before that, Grace felt needed.

She resented this shift at first, no addiction comes without the price of the life lived before.  So for that reason alone she resisted the kinship that had accidentally arisen between herself and the very small Tim.

The boy's father spent more and more time away, and his mother spent more and more time away in her own way.  Either asleep on her bed or staring silently at the treeline from the porch swing while the busy ghost lured the curious strong baby away from this or that danger, Grace's rage at the usurper subsided every day.  There was no point in hanging on to any of it, she had no target for her rage and jealousy and without a target it spiraled out and away.  The young wife and mother just wasn't home anymore. 

Grace was too busy with her tiny fat friend to wonder if she'd had anything to do with the mother slipping away.  Maybe if she had thought about that, she'd feel more guilt than pride.

Tim's father didn't last through the boy's third summer, he ran off with a mistress and seldom sent for his son.  Grace hardly noticed his leaving, he'd been an absentee so long and she was very busy with the care of both her sweet boy and his sad mother. 

She could remember the moment her feelings had shifted in the latter respect.  Grace had long since ceased feeling rage towards the woman, the sad creature appeared to have given up her own ghost and Grace was not a cruel enough spirit to batter the nearly dead.  On one particular night shortly before the boy's father left, this young mother had almost met her son's ghostly nanny in person.

Grace had been sitting with Tim in his room watching the television show that lulled the boy to sleep generally and realized that her young charge's mother hadn't checked on the boy in hours.  The woman appeared mostly bereft of maternal instincts but she wasn't an altogether terrible mother, she made sure her son was cleaned and fed and generally saw to his well being.  She cared enough that her prolonged absence was noted by the ghost.

When Grace glided into the sleeping woman's room nothing appeared amiss at first, Tim's mother was sleeping on her side in bed and Grace thought she must have lost track of the time.  This was something the novice parent was prone to from time to time.  Grace felt something, though, what we might recognize as a live presence.  A live presence was impossible for Grace, she knew then that the young mother's spirit was separating itself.  And then she saw the pills. 

Grace employed every ghostly trick at her disposal to get the young woman to vomit the contents of her stomach onto her pillow, a macabre impressionist clump of hopelessness.  When she was through she used all of her strength to pull the covers up around the sleeping woman and turn the light off.  As she slipped out, she felt the woman's lost eyes on her in that expressionless understanding and acceptance that only the nearly dead or already gone can have.  In the morning the woman arose and cleaned up and made breakfast for little Tim with renewed vigor.

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