I saw my first ghost yesterday. First ever. I was sitting at my desk at the end of my bedroom, trying to decide whether to go to sleep or have another glass of wine, and out of the corner of my eye I saw this, this figure, staring at me. I say figure, it was a bloke, standing in the corner of my room. Just by the door where the standing lamp is. My first reaction was obviously panic. Strange man in my room, no idea how he got in there. My second reaction was a quick scrabble to see what I could use to hit him with. By the time I’d grabbed a hardback book he was gone.
The longer I sat there with my copy of The Goldfinch and an empty wineglass, the more convinced I was that he’d been a ghost. A proper spirit. He’d been wearing a suit. Three-piece, I think. I couldn’t tell you if it was black or dark blue but he was definitely formal. A formal fucking ghost, with his grey hair slicked back like he’d used a great dollop of Brylcreem. His expression? Well, I mean, he didn’t look happy. He looked at me just before he vanished and I could tell that the feeling he was feeling was…well, sadness. Melancholy might be a better word. Yeah, melancholy.
Now, I might have put all of this down to the wine, because, if we’re being totally honest with each other, I’d had more than a few glasses before the old fella chose to apparate beside my standing lamp, if apparate’s a word. In fact, that night I lay down and I spent a good hour trying to convince myself that I hadn’t seen anything. That it had just been a shiraz-driven trick of the light, combined with the spirit of the season. Well, everyone thinks about these things around Christmas, don’t they? I don’t know if it’s the shortened days, or all the talk of miracle babies, or just all the festive cheer, but you can start to wonder about what you’re actually doing with yourself. Anyway.
Anyway. Yes, so the second ghost, the second ghost I saw the next morning. This morning, in fact. I was in the shower, with the heat about as high as I can bear it to try to drum some kind of sense into me. It’s not great, the shower in my flat, it dribbles when you want it to hammer, but…sorry, I’m getting off topic. The girl.
She stood at the other end of the tub, standing there in some kind of green…I want to say ball-gown, I don’t know dresses. I shouted and spun, nearly fell out of the shower completely. But I got a hold of myself, and I’m glad that I did, because this girl had something to tell me. And I knew that she was a ghost, you see, because all this amazing long black hair that she had, it wasn’t getting wet. And that green ball-gown thing, it was fucking immaculate. And she looked at me with these bright blue eyes and she pointed at me.
You know, when a ghost points at you, it’s hard to imagine that the situation’s going to be good. You think the hour of the final judgment is at hand, or at least I did. So I stood there, trying to blink the shampoo out of my eyes, my hands covering my bits, and just dreading whatever was going to come next. I thought, in the moment or two before she opened her mouth, that maybe the old bloke had been a harbinger. An early warning system. But what would have been the point of that? To tell me not to go to sleep? Anyway.
Anyway, she pointed at me and she spoke to me, and I tell you, I heard her words clear as day. They rang through that steamy bathroom like a fucking church bell at a state function. She said “Sort yourself out.”
“Sort yourself out.” That was it. She nodded at me once and she was gone. I was in my shower, by myself, having been given a message by someone from beyond. Insanity, right? Surely. You know what kind of accent she had? Brummie. Why would I make that up? A beautiful Brummie ghost in a ball-gown. In my shower.
Third ghost? Yeah, I know, it’s Christmas, and ghosts come in threes. And yeah, there was a third one as a matter of fact. Earlier tonight. I was expecting another one, like you were, after the first two. Same reasons. I thought they’d probably come back to hammer it home. They always do.
I was packing up to go home from work when I saw him, standing on the other side of the door. Now, the other two had been strangers. Never seen them before in my life, so I really didn’t expect the last one to be someone I knew so well. My best friend, as a matter of fact, Peter. He died in an accident last year. Somewhere outside of Leeds, I think. He was driving north for Christmas and got hit by a lorry driver who’d fallen asleep.
Sorry, that all got a bit heavy, didn’t it? Don’t want to bring the mood down. Not at a Christmas party, eh?
No, it was great actually. It was lovely. I’d not really realised how much I’d missed him, or I just hadn’t admitted it to myself, as they say. You remember how the other two were all dolled up? Pete was dressed up just as sharp, in this lovely suit he’d worn at his wedding, and he grinned at me when I came through the door to greet him.
I kept thinking he’d disappear but he asked me how I was, and he walked down the stairs with me and out into the street. I decided to push my luck. I kept walking, kept talking to him, I felt like I needed to keep him engaged. He suggested that we pop into the shop and pick up some cans, and then we walked down to the beach. Daft, I know, in late December, but he was there with me every step of the way. We just walked and talked for a bit. Went down to the end of the pier to look and went back again. After a bit he was gone, I didn’t see him leave. But hearing his voice, seeing his face, it was…fuck, I don’t know. It was something special. Something special.
The blog is alive. On an unrelated note, Merry Christmas, and a huge thank you for reading.