All Souls Day

Entry by: jaguar

2nd November 2015

Are the departed faithful? You reckon they become the exact reversal of who they were in life. Life flips to death and they flip too. So benevolent Nan became a malevolent ghost, furious with you. Haunting you down staircases, tripping your flailing feet, trying to snatch you from what little remains for you in this world.

By dying, he blessed you, did you a favour all round.

Outside the door, in the scrappy bit of the front garden where the bins huddle, there’s an enormous spider’s web. The street is still full of plastic ghosts from Halloween, a few days before. What hangs on the web is real though, jewelled rain drops like souls waiting for collection. Each condensed and unblemished, purified from the lives they lost. You rush past this web but you don’t touch it. You've been taught that it would be a terrible thing to do, a sin, to make the droplets fall too soon.

You’re letting him darken your thoughts and pull you under. You could just exorcise him, others do. What about her at No. 23? She paid the dark priest and then she clean forgot it ever happened. Money well spent.

What does All Souls Day mean, anyway? Nan’s saints always outranked yours. By the time she died you only had the scrapings of belief left. The meaning of this day got discarded. She left you alone to deal with him, with becoming a shadow of another human being. Someone defined only by their relationship to him, by the overpowering darkness.

How your mouth stumbled commemorating him.

There were kids beneath your window last night, drinking out of brightly coloured bottles, laughing. One of them had the look of a girl you used to be friends with but, even if it was her, you can’t rejoin them. Your Friday nights are punctured, leaking all that hope. You can’t laugh and mock the dead and believe it won’t ever happen to you. It has happened, your soul is gone, it’s one of those drops hanging on that web.

It’s waiting for him to return and take you with him.

You google All Souls Day. Something pops up about Lemuria, the day the Romans dispersed their hostile ghosts with offerings of beans. You open a tin of Heinz finest, chuck most in a pan for tea because you can’t afford to waste them. You put a spoonful in a saucer on the windowsill. Like that’s going to do anything. Like a handful of gleaming beans could make a difference, you’re being ridiculous.

The beans look like him. They look like your baby in the first scan, the one you never meant to see. They’re clinging to the saucer from Nan’s favourite teacup, coated in blood. Your loss is moving through you almost like warmth. You chuck all the bright orange beans out, can't eat them now, can't look at them. How do people get away with only remembering once a year when you cannot forget?