I hear that some people don’t believe in ghosts. That’s alright. When they were tiny children, they had orange nightlights glowing in their bedrooms after dark, reflecting little moons and stars on the ceiling. And their mothers tucked their blankets in cozily around them while they drank hot chocolate to the whispered tales of Beatrix Potter.
They didn’t have ancient slaves living inside their bedroom walls who cried to escape and cracked their knuckles in the night like giant walnuts. And they didn’t hear the funeral music booming on the bellows organ, louder, louder until their beds shook in the dreadful violence of the night.
And they didn’t know of the man who hanged himself in their toilet. A man whose eyes bulged out like giant green marbles, swinging there by his neck from the water pipes.
And they didn’t have a sister who locked them in the cellar where it was so black they wouldn’t know if their eyes were open or closed. Counting up to a thousand and saying the Lord’s Prayer, rocking back and forth in that silent breathless prison.
Nor did they hear that girl who screamed in the attic, abandoned by the gypsies who fled in the night. Or a sister who painted a picture of the thing that came into her bedroom time and again and told her to kill herself. A picture so utterly terrible, they had to burn it, like it was alive. But it never died.
I can close my eyes to things I do not want to see. But I cannot blank the images of things I have already seen. I can press my hands tightly over my ears. But I cannot erase the sounds of those endless screams.
I am glad for you if you do not believe in ghosts. Some of us live with them. They are inside our heads and they are real.