‘Til I wake your ghost :: SOTD

1

I think last night,
you were driving circles,
around me.”

I think last night,
you were driving circles,
around me.”

In one of the boxes that Rae brought along she had stashed a shoe box full of what she called her “history”. It was filled with matchbooks and newspaper clippings, restaurant menus and a few ripped out pages from library books, postcards and a few photographs, some real, and some from magazines that she imagined were snapshots of some different life that maybe her Mother once led, or that they could have had. Some of the photos were from old vintage books, ones that she “rescued” from yard sales and charity shops, books filled with starlets from the heyday of Hollywood, and other “rich and famous” somebodies lying about with big sunglasses and cocktails in their hands.

Rae liked to pretend that some of them were her Grandparents that she never met, maybe on her Father’s side of the family, whoever he was. On the bad days she would imagine they would pull up in their tinted window limousine, the driver would come to her door and say “your presence is requested, Miss Raelynn” and she would leave with them, with only the clothes on her back and her most recent book, and they would disappear together into that off in the distance “different life”.

How would they find her, though? Rae was always packing boxes and unpacking boxes in some new zip code. Now here she was, emptying boxes again, this time in some nowhere, dusty, off the highway spot, too small to even be called a town, with an Aunt and Uncle she’s never met before. And, here it is again, the shoe box full of memories, wishes, and stupid little girl fantasies. Rae should throw it out, really she should, but she just can’t. Not yet. This ridiculous box tethers her to some kind of security, even if it is just full of ghosts of people who probably never existed anyway, she still needs it.

Tonight is her first night here in this still dusty upstairs room. Rae feels still dusty, too, from the drive from the drive from the bus station. Uncle Joe already had the boxes her Mother sent before her. She takes out the picture of her “maybe Grandmother” and studies it, looking for answers in eyes covered by some post office sticker that covers her eyes like those newsreel bars when identities are meant to be disguised.

Rae can here the bell of the door opening and closing downstairs from the all-night gas station convenience store. She can hear the whip of the wind, and the squeal of tires circling the asphalt, life coming and going even at this late hour. Could one of them be “them”? Have they found her finally?

Your Ghost :: Kristin Hersh, featuring Michael Stipe

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