Not Talking With Ghosts

It’s presumptuous of me to say I talk to ghosts, so I won’t. You don’t really “talk” to ghosts, anyway. It’s my experience, which is very, very limited, that it’s all unspoken. Nothing audible passes, though you do hear words, not through ears, more like in the chest, that juncture in the upper thorax, slightly above where the heart lies. It seems, for me at least, that these spirits (Dare I call them friends?), prefer to stop by in the deep of night when I’m so conked out that there are times my lungs forget to inhale, linger in the exhale long enough that my body must surely figure it’s been forsaken.
Last night, for example, this man I knew, his wife being a best friend during my forties, showed up, dressed all in white and I casually say to him, “We’re both dead, aren’t we?” He nods and we stand in silence and it doesn’t feel odd at all—a friendly conversation, like we’re talking about when we expect the tomatoes to ripen this summer or how our children now have their own grown children.
And, my grandmother, a couple of hours and a couple of dreams later, sitting next to me on a school bus, with blurred people in the seats behind us, as we slowly chug up a graveled mountain road. She’s exhausted, so tired, as she often was, her tiny, compact body (wearing her apron, braids twining her head, a breeze of roses and soil), leaning against me, both of us crooning into the comfort of each other’s affection. She slips back and down between the seat cushion onto the floor, turned two-dimensional, spent from all she has cooked, cleaned, loved and held fast to for her sixty-some years. I want to lift her up, but the bus pulls to a stop and I get out.
That’s what I mean, you can’t control a dream or the dead or what happens when you’re with them. I’m okay with that now, wouldn’t have been even a few weeks ago. I’m definitely not ready to join them, but, Aaah, those visitations, the tenderness, the velvety veil of serenity, of the disembodied. I write about them now, here on a Saturday, in broad daylight, without a clue about where they go when the sun is high. When time comes for me, I suppose I’ll find out then.

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