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The Ghost-Girl’s Tale …
Like, so far, I talked about fathers and sons, their stories, you know, being told through the mouths of girls. [twirling hair with finger, looking down at you]
A little pony with a brown, uhm, mane, little girls playing puffy doggies, and hugging good-bad daddies. Oh, yeah, uhm, like ghosts, you know, they are around us, whether our ghosts are memories or haunting spirits, like. Or could God be a ghost-girl? [jumps up, eyes widen, looking at you]
I mean, OMG, we cannot see God no more than we can see a ghost, and not many can see those. You’re too busy texting and worrying about things you cannot do anything about. You are such buttholes, as that silly man, Ernest Becker once wrote. You are shitting gods, and that scares the poop out of you! [makes farting sound with mouth]
[Reflects, seems to be talking to herself for a moment] Like, you silly little humans will always be emotional first. Facts and science? Well, you don’t believe that until you emotionally do. If you want to see ghosts or ghost-girl-devil-gods, you have to believe it and feel it. Sad and depressed people, you know, die faster than happy ones in this world, and that [sitting upright, proud] is science. Feeling matters first but not judgment. Judgment, you know, like that silly little human ex-president once said, “War may be necessary, but war is always evil.” Something like that because, like really, words are too inadequate to matter in their exactness. What matters is the face that utters them first, like, uhm, you know.
[Moves forward and puts finger on your nose] Now, do you feel that? Me putting my finger on your nose? What do you feel? If you feel it then you believe in me. If you don’t, you don’t. [stops, glares at you] Am I making you tingly, a ghost-devil-god-girl touching you? You shiver, do you now? [master-like] You know, like I know, it’s not cold outside.
Feeling, you know, comes before facts but not bad feeling. Bad feeling, hurtful ones come after you were hurt somehow. In the end, if there is an end, science will prove this. Please hear this ghost-girl’s tale:
I am there in a sunny field, in rural bliss, where there are no cars, planes, like, you can hear the wind through the growing grains, and see all the stars. In the morning, I lie [sic] there and stare at the above. White puffy clouds hurry across a blue sea. They look just like cotton balls in a sea-sky. I want to dance upon them, on my toes or insteps like Russian child dancers do. I want to fall into the cotton naked and feel, like, it caressing my body, loving my body so much that I begin to love my body, you know, my body?
It tickles my butt [giggles] and my heels and toes, uhm, like, my back, too. Well, it tickles every little forbidden part of me. It does not care how I looked, no, or what skin color I was, or what language I spoke, or age that I was, or whether I have had a penis or vagina. The purity of its embrace engulfs and accepts me. Like, OMG, it does not ask me what are my sins, or if it’s making me too tingly there, you know there? [giggles] It consumes me, but liberates me. I am Libertas, huh. In that moment, a ghost-girl would be god because every element, every atom, every electron, vibrates with life, and, like, in its infiniteness, we all are would-be gods and bugs at a moment.
I know that I drank the dinosaurs, drank someone’s recycled urine or sperm, when I get older, of course [blushing], and that I ate scat-like, [wrinkles nose], but even those things become pleasant and beautiful, sad too. Men eat and drink girls, girls boys, and moms sons, doggies, too. [puffs, tongue out] We eat and drink one another, if you think about it. That cloud consumes me, every inch of me, but not in a bad way. No, it does, like, harm. It, like life, consumes me with love so that I can exist and exist again. Eternity is diversity but the most finite building blocks of life are the same, duh! [rolling eyes]
I still lie [sic] there at dusk, where my body once lay. It has been home to me, not a home I chose, but I now like the field, visited a few times per year by a handsomely-ageing farmer, tall, tough, slender but greying chest hair. [smiles, getting embarrassed] Adult arousal for me, like, was cut short … or [thinking] cringy, no? I don’t know, but I like his chest hair and when he is plowing hard the field. I straddle his lap facing toward him; I run my fingers through it, [blushing, embarrassed] and it feels like the clouds feel on my body, soft, prickly, and wet. His body responds, but he thinks it’s the vibration of the tractor. He cannot see me, the butthole! I am looking up, right at him. I get tingly, you know, feelings live, and wonder if I am a bad girl for doing so, but I cannot help it. I want to caress his chest and taste the saltiness of him, and I don’t understand, like, why I feel that way or get tingly. You know? Why? But I do, and I wait for him, lying in the field to come back.
Am I bad to touch him so? I mean, I mean, it’s not, well, uhm, I just want to touch another person. The field is lonely. He comes three times. That is it, only three times. Thrice has its meaning. No, I touch his chest like little girls and boys touch their daddies’ chests. For comfort, the hair between the fingers, the vastness-like of him, towering over me but loving me, like the farmer loves his field. He tends his field, and I tend to him because his wife does not love him like I do. Because, like, I know him, his body like clouds know mine, every inch I can see because to be a ghost, like, is to be a voyeur into a man’s heart.
So, I lie. There, I lie. I know he lost his son. It was in the barn. He does not go in the barn. He loved his son. His wife blames him. The little boy just wanted to play with the cat. Daddy put the bull in there that day. Daddy looked and looked for him. As he moved to the barn his heart grew heavy. Every step more difficult, breathing heavy. He almost passed out when he opened the door. The funeral was a week later. His son is there waiting, but daddy does not come. Someday, I will reunite them. Somehow, I will.
He loved his son like I love you, messy little humans. He is a good man, so I like to touch his greying-hairy chest, and sometimes, [blushing} I want to put my hand somewhere else, but, no, [shaking her head, red-faced] that would be gross, naughty. I don’t know why I get that way. Something comes on to me or something, well, comes over me. It is not easy being human, even in being a ghost-girl. That makes me happy that I never became an adult. Why do I touch him and puff like a doggie and feel …? I guess I have to, like, confess. I lie as I lay. I am a bit mean. I don’t want his son to see him because I worry the farmer will stay more in the barn and will come less to me. That is wrong. I should, like, do the right thing. But that is why I call you messy, for me, because humans, as they grow, have very messy feelings and desires, attractions, and what is that … uhm [thinking] … arousal? [Looking at you, wrinkled forehead].
But at night, I still lay there peering at the sky. It would be cold; the stars warm my celestial body. The sea has gone now, the clouds moved on and the universe is vulnerable and exposed to sight. But still, the doe approaches where I once lay and am now eternally anchored, like, in the tragedy of a moment. No, I don’t want to leave him, but here lying, on reflection, I see the glitter of heaven, the dots of distant destinations. Suns that just may warm sons and their daughters, somewhere, where life may not be so harsh but not so wonderful either. Lives, universes, and loves, babies, too, and childhood always is but a moment in universal time. I reach out to the glitter above me, arm reaching toward what gives us life below, but coldness and death above, with tears, not sad tears, but tears of wonderment and longing, I say, “I want to feel you and be one with you.”
Just then, just as a living little girl, I feel a cold nose touch my hand. It is a doe! She sees me, smells me, and decides to keep me company. Hers never made it across the road, and I never made it back home. So, we laid together, she curled up on my body caressing my ear. And I can feel her, her tongue and warm breath. It makes the sound of the sea in my ear, so I kiss her on the nose.
I hear her say to me, but in a voice guided by the glitter above, “It’s time to go home now. Don’t you know that we all are gods Libertas?”
I, now, am standing peering at the good-looking farmer sleeping. He sleeps alone, his wife in her late son’s room. He is a sad man, too, but I brought him something. Though I want to lay with him, like the doe laid with me, his son’s hand is in mine, but a 6-year-old boy. I tell him, “I brought you to daddy,” so he can heal and you can be happy. The boy, tentative and surprised at first, floods with emotion and scoots into his father’s bed. Daddy turns toward him and embraces his son. The child cries, his tears fall on daddy’s greying chest hair and daddy, for the first time in years, smiles. I approach the father, bend toward him, as fairies do, and kissed his cheek lovingly.
The sun slowly approaches the dark, and, that cyclical moment, the earth warms and it is light again. I lay there, disappointed there are no puffy clouds. The sky is still sea-blue, the earth, calm. Suddenly, a shadow approaches me. I turn my head, my eyes toward the shadow, the darkness now looming over me. It is the farmer! In my shock, I almost run away, terrified, for no one has seen me in centuries. I have been invisible to dying Confederates and Unionists alike, to mice, and generations of sly foxes. I have been invisible except for last night when the doe made me human. Though his eyes may have alarmed me, his smile keeps me still. He is smiling, really smiling, and, this time, at me!
He bends toward me, shirtless, masculine and self-assured, picks me up effortlessly with his powerful limbs, and squeezes me, my face against his grey-haired chest. I feel engulfed in this, this manly cloud of pleasant but intoxicating sweat and the hair tickling my nose. I feel his prickliness and warmth against my body, my 100-year clothes have left me. It feels like the clouds, but this time a man really sees and feels me. It’s bliss, heaven, and nirvana! He carries me toward home, and he speaks. “My son spoke to me last night. It was you. Please stay with me a moment.” [His eyes water] “I hope that moment is my eternity. There can be no wrong love in loving one that can see my son when his dad could not.”
He liberates me, so I yield. I think, I finally have a father, my God. I lift up my head, peering over his broad shoulder, and see his wife, leaving but scowling at him. I smile back at her. She sees me. I feel proud, victorious. Her happiness will come. I will see to it, for I know mommy loved her child, but she does not see him tugging at her dress. She needs more dukkha, but this is my moment.
I deserve love, I do. I slide my face, its fragile and pale skin against his sharp five-o’clock shadow. I put my lips to my new daddy’s ear and whisper. Hot breath bleeds into his canal, “I love you!”
Editor’s Note: Please read the other chapters here.
Earl Yarington (LMSW) is a social worker and school bus driver. He taught literature and writing for nearly 20 years and spent 3 years working in forensic social work internships with offending populations, including work at Delaware Correctional facilities and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He has a PhD in literature and criticism (feminism/women writers) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University, and an interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Arts from Arizona State University, where he studied the impact of visual image and girlhood in media/social media. He also has an MA and BS in English from SUNY College at Brockport. The opinions and analyses that Earl writes are his own and are not necessarily the positions or views of his employers, the agencies he supports, or that of his colleagues. Reach out with comments or questions.