"gradually I've come to realise that my house is haunted by the ghost of a dead astronaut"

Monday, 14 December 2009

9. I Remember Running


"I've dreamt of those words too, and when they are in my dreams the desperation in that mechanical, muffled, monophonic voice always induces me to wake with a shriek and with my flesh sticking to the bedsheets"
 
I remember running. Out in the woods around this house, the sunshine flashing and flickering through the trees, the breeze cooling me then stepping aside so that the sun could warm me. And, for the most part, after the sight of the astronaut's distant shape, that was the character of my first three weeks in this house. My lungs opened and the country air washed them clean of allergy and irritation. I wasn’t so much jogging as scampering childishly. I would just go out in my normal clothes, but then find myself running down hills, or running up hills desperate to see what the view was like from the top!

The remaining part of that time was taken up with getting settled into my three rooms within the house. My own slender bits of furniture and furnishings were mixed with the house's existing pieces dotted around and pulled together into those rooms. And a strange mix they are too! The grungey sidles up to the antiquarian, which leans against plain old kitsch, which, for its part, nestles against the threadbare, the utilitarian and the gauche! No wonder I'm cracking up! But here and there - more in the trinkets and the odd flourish - I see signs of me in this room. You might not. But you don't know me.

And so I started to feel at home. Or, rather, 'homely' in this house. Whether it will ever be home or not lies in the gloved hands of a certain apparition!

"What was I to do? Run from a ghost, only to then be haunted by my own ghost - the ghost of possibility, as opposed to the ghost of actuality?"

I think if it hadn't been for those three weeks, I'd have been back in the city long before now. But I started to see glimpses of who and how I could be. Once vision sets in, you're in trouble. People can get through life quite happily if they have no vision, but once it appears on the horizon and there is any degree of clarity to what's seen, that's when the stakes are raised. What was I to do? Run from a ghost, only to then be haunted by my own ghost - the ghost of possibility, as opposed to the ghost of actuality? Yes, I remember running, but I hope in my own life I have stopped doing that. Running now will take me somewhere - closer to the vision on my own horizon. Writing about that time begins to bring it back - the negativity that I showed a couple of posts ago starts to disappear. Moses knew this feeling - waters stepping aside in order that a dream can be seen and realised. During those early weeks, I missed aspects of my old life, but more like a craving for a Mars bar - annoying and tempting, but you wouldn't change your life for it! And now I miss that old life like a Milky Way - quaint and vaguely familiar, but the thought of eating it makes you slightly nauseous!

Having set this scene, I now need to dispel it. Because of course the astronaut returned. At this point, with only a few indistinct and fleeting impressions, I had no sense of what I was dealing with. What I had experienced thus far, the occasional frisson brought on by a rare and momentary impression, was something I could handle, mentally and emotionally. What I wasn't prepared for was the complete identity of my house-companion.

"What I had experienced thus far, the occasional frisson brought on by a rare and momentary impression, was something I could handle, mentally and emotionally. What I wasn't prepared for was the complete identity of my house-companion"

I can hear the words that came through the blackened visor still, and when I think of them they make my fingers tsnes - sorry, they make my fingers TENSE. I've dreamt of those words too, and when they are in my dreams the desperation in that mechanical, muffled, monophonic voice always induces me to wake with a shriek and with my flesh sticking to the bedsheets. And inside I’m running again, but this time I’m running to get away, running up an emotional hill to see if I can feel anything clearer and less claustrophobic at the top of it.

"Your turn now! It must be your turn now! Your turn!" his voice says, and I know that it's talking to me, that it wants something from me. And that desperation, that anguish, terrifies me. Somewhere deep down, I know that it will eventually get what it wants.

Tomorrow, I'll relate my first full encounter with the astronaut. Am I looking forward to that? Truth? Don't know.

The house tonight is quiet. The house is locked up tight. My own doors and windows have been double checked. I'm comfortable. I'm sleepy. I'm feeling secure. This feeling is beautiful. This is what I live for. This is what I moved for.

Good-night, everyone and no-one.

3 comments:

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

"Your turn now," and you "know it will eventually get what it wants." Are you out of your mind? Get your belonging, get in your car and return to civilization this instant, do you hear. This is good advice.

Stephanie Fey said...

Dear Simone,

You don't understand how kind you're being to me by urging me to leave. But I think I know now why I don't. As things are progressing. I suspect that you'll have to learn the reason too in time. In short, I deserve what's happening to me and whatever is to come. And when you learn the truth about me, then I suspect you'll agree. Then - hm, I wonder - what words will come back to me then from everyone?

What will be will be.

Best and warmest wishes,

Steph x

Christopher said...

I loved the part about you running around around like a kid. It sounds fun.