Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spoon River Middle School: 38

Candace Geist

Free Writing

So I told you last time that I talk with ghosts in my old house?  And do you remember what you wrote on the top of that paper before you returned it to me?  You have a very impressive imagination, Candace!  Well, maybe I do (and maybe I don’t), but I really have talked with the ghosts in our house—lots of times.
So you’re probably thinking, Well, if that’s true,  why doesn’t she prove it by recording one of them on her phone?
You think I haven’t thought of that?  I tried it once, and when I looked at my cell afterwards, it was totally dead.  Battery fried.  And have you ever tried to get a new battery out of a dad who doesn’t want you to have a smart phone in the first place?  Let’s just say that it took awhile.
So what I’ve been doing lately?  Trying to memorize the ghost conversations, then, later, writing them all down as fast as I can.  Oh, and I found out, too, that I couldn’t write the ghost conversations in the house.  First time I did it, I woke up the next day, and the pages were blank.  Started doing them somewhere else, and that worked.
Anyway, here’s one from just last weekend.  I’ve written it in the form of a skit to make it easier to follow because as you know I’m not too good with quotes.  I just can’t figure out where to put all these dumb scratch marks in English.  Who cares?  (BTW: “G” = Ghost; “M” = Me)  The ghost’s voice did not sound all spooky and creepy like you hear in the movies.  It was more like … like … like an adult’s voice (somewhere between man and woman), and adult that is very deeply sad.  I was alone in my bedroom when it all started …

G: Why are you still here?
M: Shouldn’t I be?
G: This is my house [pause] … our house.  No one else belongs here.
M: Who are you?
G: I’m … I’m … [voice trails off; I wait] … I forget things now—every day.  Though “day” and “night” are terms that don’t mean anything to me anymore.
M: Why not?
G: Because I’m never awake, never asleep.  I’m somewhere in between, all the time.
M: That must be awful.  [long pause]
G: Yes.  I hadn’t thought of it that way, but “awful” it is.  Like being everything and nothing at the same time.  [Pause.]  Who are you?
M: I’m Candy.
G: I always liked candy.
M: I’ve heard that joke about a ga-jillion times in my life and I’m only 13.
G: 13.  [pause]  What does that mean?
M: Thirteen years.  I’m thirteen years old.  [pause]  I’ve lived for thirteen years.
G: I think I knew what that meant.  Once.  A year … the number thirteen.  Measurements no longer mean anything, anyway.
M [after long pause]: Why are you still here?
G: Where else would I be?
M: Heaven.  Or, you know … ?  [long pause]
G: Heaven.  What is that?
M: I don’t know.  A nice place for … well, for dead people.  Just good ones, though.  [Pause.]  I used to believe in it.
G: And … ?
M: When my mom died last year?  Only in her forties.  Breast cancer.  Anyway, when that happened, I sort of stopped believing that good things happen.  I wasn’t like a lot of other kids.  I loved my mom.  And I liked her too.  I liked being with her.  [Pause]  Do you remember your mother?
G: I’m not sure I know what a mother is.
M: That’s awful.
G: Yes.  Many things are awful.  Forgetting, though?  I’m starting to like forgetting.  As each memory goes away, I feel myself getting—I don’t know—lighter?   As if I’m fading away or something.  [pause]  Can you see me?
M: I don’t think so.  Where are you?
G: I don’t know.  Where is one of the things I’ve been forgetting lately, too.  Forgetting what it means.
M: I wish I could see you.
G: I can see you.  You look … sad?  Is that the word?
M: That’s the word.
G: Because of your … mother?
M: Yes.  [pause]
G: What was her name?
M: Mom.  I mean … Gloria.
G: Gloria.  Gloria.  It sounds familiar.  I think … [G’s voice fades away]
M: Are you there?  Are you there? … Please …

Well, what do you think, Mr. Stratford?  Could I have made that all up?  Am I crazy?  hearing things?  What?  I think I need help …

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