Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ghosts



Saturday, 9 p.m. A dark living room. A sofa. A table. A door. There is some yellow light leaking under the door, otherwise we would see nothing. All is silent.

But now someone seems to be trying to open the door from the outside. We hear the key turning once, twice. We look away when the door opens because of the light, which is too bright. The air seems to ignite.

Everything is very white and too bright. We are blind. But, after a while, it gradually fades away and once more we perceive the room. Nobody is there. The room is dark, as it always was. Whoever crossed it did not mind to turn on the lights. He or she left something (a backpack, it seems) on the messy table and ran inside. There is some faint light elsewhere in the house which can be seen reflecting on the walls and on the furniture, from the corridor. We can hear the sound of water pouring, someone pissing. The toilet is flushed, a door is closed, a light is turned off with a click. No one returns to the living room. All is dark once more. All we hear now is a distant violin.

The dark wooden table has four dark wooden chairs. There are books spread over the table, sheets of paper, spilled coffee. We can't make out the details. The room is too dark. It smells like coffee. There is a portrait of a woman on the wall. She looks up but does not smile.

There is no living soul in the room. Some may believe there are two people seated, but that is not true. There is no one in the room. Some may believe those two people are having a conversation, but it's probably just their imagination.

"Can you see it?"
"I can't see anything. It's too dark."
"It smells like wood. It's been a long time since I smelled anything. I forgot I could smell."
"I can't smell anything."
"When we crossed that street, that afternoon, the cars braked very close, very near. I could smell the tires. I could feel the air that was displaced. You didn't stop, you didn't return. You just ran towards it."
"When was that? I remember that."
"It was cold, wasn't it? Did you feel it pulsating? Did it feel like you were falling?"
"I... I still don't understand that."
"You are still too young."

The violin now plays louder. Somewhere, a door has opened. We hear footsteps and some light spreads in the corridor, reflecting on the walls. Someone coughs. "Shit!" says a man's voice. A surface is being scraped. Some one sneezes, inhales loudly and sneezes again. Lights are clicked off. More footsteps. A door slams. Darkness is back and the violin is again, far away.

But it suddenly stops. After a couple of clicks, silence is replaced by the loud sounds of an electric guitar, hammering drums, screaming voices. Seems like some rock band from the seventies. Did you hear voices playing backwards? No? I thought I did.

"Lower that. I don't like it."
"Just don't hear it. You don't need to. Hear the cables instead."
"The cables?"
"Yes. They're good to feel as well. They vibrate. And they are warm."
"I don't know how to feel."

The phone starts ringing. After each ring, the echo fades in the silence. It rings three times. When it ends, the music is lower and we can hear a man's voice. It comes from the room. I would know what he said if the other voices in my head would keep quiet, but they do not.

"Remember when we used to play?"
"What?"
"I mean, I used to climb that cherry tree in our backyard and hide in such a way that mom would not find me even if she looked straight at me."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"It was a Saturday, I think. I don't know what I did wrong. I slipped, I guess. I still remember the movie in my mind, as if it were now. The ground coming my way, slowly, the grass getting darker, the wind, the sunlight. I remember the branches cutting the skin on my arm, the leaves on my face. It suddenly became dark and cold."
"What are you talking about?"
"It's warm and wet when you touch it, but it feels cold when it flows over the skin, pulsating. Now I can remember all of it, the grass, the cherry tree, the smell of rain, the insects. I didn't feel like I was falling. I felt like I was floating. I still can't remember my name, but you knew it."
"Me?"
"Yes. You were there before me. You were the one who called her, and she was so sad. I had done it. I told her before we left I would be able to do it. I told her that, but she didn't believe it. She thought I was kidding."

The music is turned off with a loud click. The man's voice in the room is louder. We can hear "... going there now ... I don't care ... see you soon." and a click.

"I'm not really sure I get it."
"You will after I leave you. It takes a while to make sense."
"Why are going to leave me?"
"I have to."
"Where are you going?"
"Not far. We'll meet again. Someday."
"When?"
"I don't know, but we will."
"Will we remember each other."
"Kind of. Maybe. Maybe not. We might feel that we know each other."
"Won't we recognize each other?"
"Perhaps in our dreams, maybe, in our dreams."

Coughs.

"Is he sick?"
"He's moving. I already told you that."
"Where?"
"Here."
"But, is he not here?"
"Not really. Not yet."

Intense white blinding light takes over the room. In the white darkness we hear footsteps, the door closing, the keys turning. But then it all fades away slowly towards darkness. All is silent again. Not really. We can hear the cables vibrating. If you concentrate you can make out different frequencies, interruptions, like voices.

"Where did he go?"
"Meet her."
"When will he return."
"In a couple of hours, perhaps sooner."
"Sooner."
"And he will be moving here. I hope."
"Here?"
"Yes, here."
"What about the light?"
"There will no longer be any light."
"He might see us!"
"He will."
"But, what will he think of us? What will happen?"
"He'll probably be confused, like when you saw me for the first time."
"What shall we do?"
"You. I won't be here. I'm moving there. I hope."
"Today?"
"Yes."
"But I need you. I can't exist alone."
"You don't. And if you did, you wouldn't be alone. He will be here with you. Ask him if he can smell the rain, if he could taste it, if it was cold. Guide him."
"I don't know how to do it."
"Yes you do. You'll discover."

Cars passing in the streets project their lights inside the dark room. We can no longer hear the cables because of the rain. Hissing like a radio, it tunes my mind into its frequencies, and I hear the voices.

"I have to go."
"But, he didn't arrive yet."
"He is there, lying on the sofa. He will wake up soon."
"Where are you going?"
"Meet her. I'm moving there. I hope."
"And you won't return?"
"No. I hope not."
"You hope?"
"I hope she keeps it."
"What if she doesn't? Will you return?"
"No. I will move elsewhere. I hope."
"I will miss you."
"Me too."

Lightning. Thunder. The cables no longer vibrate.

The room is dark and silent. It smells like coffee. There is a portrait of a woman on the wall. She looks up and does not smile. There is no living soul in the room. Some may believe there is one person sleeping on the sofa and another one seated by the table watching him, but that is not true. There is no one in the room. It's probably just my imagination.

1 comment:

J.M. said...

I like that