HOLLY MIRANDA SMALE

Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.







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Friday, 30 April 2010

Ghosts

Last night I had another dream.

Nobody died in this one, which is comforting because frankly I was getting a little worried about my violent inclinations.

No: in this one, they were already dead.

I was wandering around a big Japanese house. There had been a party – which I didn`t remember but judging from the mess there had definitely been a party – and everybody was cleaning up. As I carried the empty plates into the irrationally large kitchen (it was a dream, so the kitchen was the size of a football pitch and as high as a cathedral), I walked past a tired, sad looking man with a red hat.

“I`ve been waiting for you,” he told me, carrying his dishes in both hands: so weighed down by them that even his hat didn`t look as jaunty as it should.
“Oh,” I said. “I`m sorry. I didn`t know.” I felt uncomfortable, and he frowned at me which just made it worse.
“I`ve been waiting for you for a long time,” he said crossly, and then disappeared around the corner. Then he popped his head back and looked at me with an expression I couldn`t read. “Don`t go anywhere,” he added.
“I won`t,” I said – because that`s what you say when somebody tells you not to go anywhere - and the minute he disappeared I decided that I certainly was going to go somewhere – I wasn`t just going to stand in the corridor with an armful of dishes – so I went into the kitchen and put them down.
“Who were you talking to?” a faceless person in the kitchen asked me.
“The man in the red hat,” I said. “He`s very bossy, isn`t he?”
“What man in a red hat?”
I looked around and saw him glaring at me from across the room. Behind him were lots of other people with red hats on, like a chorus of Butlins workers.
“That man in a red hat,” I said, feeling even more uncomfortable.
There was a silence.
“There`s nobody there, is there,” I eventually said in a small voice. This isn`t the first time it has happened; I often see people who aren`t there. It`s not scary anymore: it`s just a bit boring.
“Mmm,” the faceless person said, raising an eyebrow, and then they took my dishes off me.

I went into a separate room; a room with a big window and a big table, and sat down. There was nobody else in the room - otherwise I wouldn`t have chosen the room – and then I realised that somehow somebody had sat next to me.

Expecting it to be the sad man in the red hat I turned around, and I suddenly had this rush of peace; a warm, calm, sure feeling I`ve never had in real life before, but that I recognised immediately.

“Hello,” a man with green eyes and no hat at all said.
“Hello,” I replied, not feeling uncomfortable in the slightest. And there was a warm, calm, sure kind of silence.
“Don`t feel sad,” he said after a while. “He`ll go away eventually.”
“Who will?”
“The man in the red hat.”
“You can see him too?”
“Of course I can.”
“Oh.” And then I smiled because I couldn`t help it: I was suddenly full of them. “Can everybody see you too?” I asked him.
“I don`t know. There`s nobody else in the room.”
“Good point,” I said.
We looked at each other for a long time, and I felt utterly, utterly happy. And then I did something I didn`t think I would do. I stood up.
“I`m going, now,” I announced quietly.
“I know.” He smiled at me.
“I`ve got an appointment with a ghost in a red hat,” I said, even though I knew I didn`t need to.
“Yes.”
“I`ll come back when he`s gone,” I told him, even though I knew I didn`t need to say that either.
“I know,” he said again.
“You know a lot, don`t you,” I pointed out.
“Yes. And I`ll be here when he`s gone.”
“I know,” I said.

And then I left the room and when I looked behind me it was empty and I didn`t mind at all.

When I woke up this morning, I felt different: as if something inside me had changed. I had felt it, finally – that calm, peaceful happiness that I recognised even though I had never had it before – and I had also been smart enough to walk away from it until I knew that I was ready. Because I knew, without knowing how I knew, that the man with the green eyes – the man who made me feel totally calm – would be there, somewhere, when I had finished dealing with my ghosts. And the man with the green eyes already knew all about them, because he could see them as well.

I don`t know how long the ghosts want to talk for. A long time, judging from the look on the face of the man with the red hat (and the hand gestures the people behind him were making). But however long they need, I`ll be there and I`ll listen and I`ll make them all okay again.

And when I`ve finished, I`ll go back to the empty room with the big table, and the man with the green eyes will be there. And I now know, without a doubt, that he will be waiting for me, and nobody else.