Thursday, April 16, 2015

Excerpts From A Ghost’s Diary Part 2

For part 1 go here 

January 21st, 2004
     Hi there diary.  I haven’t written in you for a few weeks, what with the New Year and all.  The holidays are a busy time for ghosts.  All the family atmosphere and remembrances of the past really get things stirred up in the ether.  All the ghosts can seem to do during this time is circle the living and blather on about past glories and how much someone misses them or talks about them. 
     Not me.  There were people in my life I loved and cared for, but that part of my existence is over now.  I try not to dwell on my memories, it just makes me nostalgic and melancholy, and I don’t want to turn into one of those wailing, hand-wringing, walking the parapet type of spirits I run into all too often.  They never moved on, never grew, never discovered new and interesting things about the world and themselves.  You can be chained to the past when you’re alive and when you’re dead, and it’s an unfulfilling existence either way. 
     Of course, when I was alive I never really took advantage of all my opportunities.  Often I was held back by laziness, or more often fear of the unknown.  Well, not really so much the unknown, more like fear of looking foolish, or appearing that I didn’t know what I was doing.  Anxiety held me back from doing so much in life.  I missed out on countless adventures, romances, a million little joys I could have experienced but didn’t. 
      I missed out on some injuries, to my body and self esteem, and some heartbreak, I’m sure, but that stuff goes with the territory.  The bad things that happen along the way are lessons you can learn from, or sometimes scars to be proud of.  Some of the emotional pain can be debilitating, but if you learn to let it go and leave it in the past you find you can live with it there.  Rather than keep revisiting the past and reliving the trauma I should have moved on to the next thing to see what that might bring.
     When you’re dead you can really see how much of your life you wasted while you were living.
     That’s why I want to move on and do more interesting things now that I’m dead.  I have nothing to fear, from physical harm or the opinions of other spirits.  Strange though, that I still feel a little uncomfortable for a moment whenever I realize another ghost is watching me or when I float into a new place.  I guess that never completely leaves you.  I suppose that’s because even though I’m not human anymore I’m still not a sociopath.  I still have empathy, even if it manifests itself in negative ways at times. 
     Not like poltergeists.  Some of them are just mischievous, but most of them have lost whatever humanity they may have possessed when they were alive.  They care about no one and no thing, and have no understanding of the consequences their actions have on the world around them.  They just tear through the spirit world, selfishly not caring who they hurt or upset.  In one respect I’m thankful in that ghosts really can’t do too much to affect the living world.  There are some spirits here that would make the worst serial killers in history look like amateurs. 
     Fortunately for people, most ghosts are just sad, self-absorbed wretches wandering for eternity, reliving the past again and again, harmless and no more dead now than when they were alive.

February 2nd, 2004
     I was thinking about what I wrote a couple of weeks ago about doing new things.  I have found something that brings me a little joy, but I admit it’s rather trite. 
     I have taken to messing with parapsychologists.  Ghost hunters, they call themselves.  I hate to break it to you, but no one is really any better than anyone else when it comes to detecting ghosts. In fact, a lot of things you associate with ghost behavior has nothing to do with us. 
      Sure, we can sometimes manifest a faint apparition of ourselves if the conditions are just right and we exert a lot of effort.  Most ghosts either don’t know how or can’t be bothered.  I don’t even know how, but I am trying to figure it out.  I have asked a few other ghosts if they know how to do it, but they all just look at me like I’m crazy.  Be thankful they can’t all appear to humans.  You would live your life in an eldritch fog, everything obscured by all the barely opaque beings crowded everywhere. 
     I really haven’t gotten anywhere with it and I will probably just quit trying.  One thing I have learned to do is manipulate the ether so it produces vibrations in the air that the living interprets as sound.  I can’t make any intelligible words, but that doesn’t matter.  The bozos with their ghost equipment will hear whatever they want to hear. 
     They get so excited! They try to give me commands, things to do to let them know if I can understand them.  The trick is to never do anything exactly the way they request.  That way no one is ever really sure.  That’s the fun of it, at least for me.
     Of course, we probably can’t do what they want. Interacting with the physical world is really hard and takes a lot out of you, and there is no real precision involved.  Besides the faint noises, I have only ever managed to manipulate anything physical once or twice, and even then it was barely noticed.
     Swinging chandeliers, slamming doors, all that stuff is not us.  Once in a while a really determined poltergeist might make something fall off of a table, but that’s about it.  None of us are speaking through anyone, none of us are making tables float or moving Ouija boards.
     In many ways we are just like most of the living, floating through life hardly affecting the world as we pass through.

February 14th, 2004
     Today is Valentine’s Day.  If you think it was depressing when you were alive, imagine how it is when you’re dead.  Anyone you ever loved has moved on.  They are in new relationships and while they may think of you from time to time, they don’t really care anymore.  In that respect, it’s a lot like when you’re alive, I suppose. 
      I see a lot of things in relationships that you people never get to see.  I see how couples act when they are alone together, and then I also see how those people act when that other person isn’t around.  I will tell you this, and I’m not saying it to make you nervous or to feel bad about your relationship, but you never really know another person.
     You think you do.  You tell yourself that you are someone’s soul mate, that they complete you.  You believe everything they tell you because you have to believe it.  You couldn’t be in love if you didn’t.  The majority of it is nothing very devastating.  Everyone wears some different masks for different occasions.  Little white lies to spare someone’s feelings, just keeping quiet because you think the other person couldn’t handle some weird thing you feel. 
     Every single person has someone outside their relationship that they bitch to constantly about their significant other.  You expect that. 
     I see most people deceive their mates on a regular basis though.  I’m not talking about little things.  I see people cheating, lying, sometimes having a whole other life that their partner doesn’t even know about.  Sex, drugs, sometimes even things that are just hobbies or activities that are relatively harmless, but they never let the other person know about.  So many people do these little (or big) things behind their lovers backs just to prove that they can.  I think all lovers carry around a little resentment for each other.  Perhaps it’s because even though they are happy and in love, they had to give up a little of their freedom, a little of themselves to get it.
     It’s a way of making them feel that they aren’t being controlled or told what to do, even in instances where no one is doing those things.  Of course, many times they are.    
     From my invisible vantage point I can see how so many things people say to each other carry undertones of insecurity and suspicion.  Most of the things people talk about are very self-serving, and it’s just them crying out “don’t leave me!” but never really telling the other what they really need to hear. 
     Mostly people don’t want an answer to a direct question.  You want to be reassured while not digging any deeper than you have to lest you learn something you don’t want to know.  I spent much of my life wondering what the people I was with really felt about me and if any of them ever truly loved me.
     Then one day you're a ghost and you realize that you knew the answers all along.

© David Ferraris 2015