“Reverend, reverend, is this a conspiracy?”
You’re never gonna believe the words you are about to read. If you even read ‘em that is. If you don’t throw this away like all the garbage it must look like cuz I probably would have if I were you, after you’ve rolled your eyes around a few times thinkin’ “Yep Mulder done fucked this guy up in the head. I’m gonna turn off the TV and put little Christopher (age 5) to bed” I know you would, cuz I would have, but I am not you. Not anymore.
This is for all you rational thinkers, all of you who’ve given magic the cold shoulder, turned your back on faith. All of you who hear a love story and go “bullcrapy”, all of you who’ve died many years ago, just walking through life like animated corpses, all the Beetlejuices of this world. All of you who have died when you stopped believing. Believing in Fairy Tales, believing that the Transformers had it right from the theme song, believing that Once upon a time shit wasn’t all fucked up.
All of you who’ve stopped dreaming, who wake up in the morning shake their heads goin’ “phew, now that was a load of bullshit; back to the real world.”
Roland, Last of the Eld and true Gunslinger said, “Some dreams are destiny.” You gotta dream first Jack.
Others will smile, slightly amused, and read this ‘til the end and go “yeah far out, its cool though.” If I’m lucky, or “I liked it, kinda like the 6th Sense, that trippy shit.” As if everything ever created has to be a knock off somethin’ else. Those who watch a romantic movie, really like it, but disregard it straight off the bat cuz “this ain’t never gonna happen in the Ghetto. Damn chicken heads. Broke ass niggaz. Crack head ass hoes. Pickle dick playaz.”
Then there are those who are gonna read this and sigh. Now you might think it’s only gonna be girls (I don’t mind ladies, au contraire, sigh all you want. Hell please sigh cuz nothing sounds sweeter to a man’s ear than an exhaled, barely whispered ohh or ahh), but it’s not. The guys out there too. You know who you are. Those of us who are gonna feel that tightening in our chests that congestion like you can’t breathe cuz you can’t.
Those who still believe. Those who still dream. Those who are gonna live happy, interesting, incredible, amazing, insane lives because the world is still a mystery and the wind still whispers to them.
I’m putting this down on paper for all three of you, no matter which type you are, because it doesn’t make a difference. Because which ever type you are, not one of you is gonna believe the words you are about to read. If you read them that is. Not one of you. And it’s a damn shame…
I grew up terrified of cemeteries…shook to death (haha). I mean scared shitless. I mean Scooby Doo-Shaggy scared. Scared into running in a circle right back into the monster’s arms. It’s a damn mask Shaggy. Every time. Every time for the past fifteen years. Wake the fuck up and smell the blue screen will you?!
As I was saying, I grew up scared of cemeteries, graveyards in general, tombstones too…dark places with crooked trees…moonlit nights with stringy corpse-finger looking clouds…owls and the like. Anything that has to do with Halloween come to think about it.
Talkin’ ‘bout Halloween, there’s nothing like a good old pagan tradition to mold you into somethin’ you were never meant to be. You really should send little Christopher (age 5) to bed. And forget Trick or Treatin’ while you’re at it. In fact, it’s best to leave the country altogether. Take a two week trip to Iran around mid October. That’ll scare little Christopher into eating all his vitamins, a much healthier kind of phobia.
So blame Halloween, blame Michael Jackson if you wanna (if anybody could tell me WHAT he sings in the hook after “It’s just a Thrillaaah!” it would really help). I’m not tryin’ to make excuses here, I’m just sayin’: I’m formatted. I’m American. What you gonna do? And you know why I’m not makin’ excuses? Cuz you’re formatted too honey. Maybe you’re French and it’s Ze Germans that keep you up at night. Maybe you’re Irish and its alcoholic Leprechauns that make you nervous, maybe you’re a Negro and it’s Whitey that scares you into running out on your teenage baby mama, but wherever you are there is some kind of irrational piece of make believe bullshit (well except for Ze Germans… and Whitey, they were pretty real) that keeps you up at night knowin’ full well it doesn’t exist. Shaggy anybody?
Now you might say I’m contradicting myself, with my less than eloquent, self indulgent criticism of the rational mind but the problem with these irrational fears is that when you finally grow out of them you shut down everything in the world out of the ordinary. That’s why 6 years old is called the Age Of Reason. As if it was something to be proud of. Your brain filters those fears into the junk mail portion of your psyche along with all the other little childhood traumas, Viagra commercials, messages from your unknown Korean pal Be Hung, and when the real thing happens you just refuse to believe it, (Just as I used to when I was like you. Just as this very story which any minute from now you’re gonna throw away to the garbage) and you stop dreaming. You stop dreaming and you become a healthy, dysfunctional, irreconcilably bound for “the couch”, adult.
This is where the story becomes interesting, for me at least. Interesting and slightly embarrassing cuz see, for me age 6 was not the age of reason. Not that I kept wetting my sheets Vicky Valencourt, but I did not stop being terrified of cemeteries one bit. Not even at all.
When my grandfather died I never made it to his funeral, I found a way to get arrested high on coke, speeding down the High 95.
When my mother passed away I spent a week in bed and visited her tomb only recently. I was fourteen. She shot herself. I’m 29. Do the math.
Maybe I was afraid of what was gonna happen, maybe I had seen through the orb at the not too distant future (you think we are today? In reality we are one week from last Thursday. Such is the stupidity of the Faketrix), and didn’t want to accept that what was gonna happen was true. But if I hadn’t finally found reason at 27, if I hadn’t finally gotten over my irrational fear, if my mother hadn’t shot herself in the mouth and I wasn’t too much of a pussy to go wish her farewell, then I would have no story to tell, I would still shit my pants at every RIP, but if Reason means what I meant it too, then I slipped into and right back out of it…
I finally grew up and it took something else than Reason. Cuz as stupid as this gonna sound, although I was baby scared of graveyards, and all Halloween related paraphernalia (which made me a terrible pothead by the way), I was never actually scared of ghosts.
When the Twin Towers fell we went down to Astor Place for my boy’s birthday (you know, Joe’s Pub. If you don’t, stop by on your way to the Village Idiot) and when I got out of the cabbie I felt assailed on all sides by the most intense spiritual energy I had ever felt, as if thousands of very little fists were punchin’ me into the right shape to make cookie dough. I got drunk silly and popped some E.
Freshman year, I woke up one morning with the feeling of somebody loomin’ over my left shoulder although my roommate was on the other side of the room by the sink. And when I tried to get up I was suddenly pinned to my bed unable to move, with static playing in my ears and unable to move (again) or make any sound until I was suddenly released.
When my aunt visited for graduation in May 2002 and tried to take a picture of me by Ground Zero I still had the shakes, and wouldn’t let her take a pic lest my soul was stuck there forever.
I know I’m not crazy, and the only reason I know is because on that November 2001, we walked down to Canal Street which was as far as you could go back then under the sickening smoke, and a police officer on duty for the past eight hours told me he felt the exact same thing everyday.
I just always felt that they existed, and was cool with it, but I was scared of cemeteries cuz I thought they were evil. I felt that evil spirits roamed there, Satan’s cast outs, the ones that were too fucked up for even the vaunted Ninth Circle come back to haunt their bodies and generally fuck my day up. The difference between ghosts and evil spirits of the really fucked up departed, who must still be dear to somebody? None really, but as I told you it was an irrational fear, or maybe I associated ghosts with Casper and evil spirits with real people, like Charles Manson for example, Ayatollah Khomeini or Freddy Kruger. But one day I came to realize, had an Epiphany, Instant Satori, the Moment of Clarity: no one has actually ever died in a cemetery. No one.
Well, someone must have died in a cemetery at some point. Some poor schmuck got murdered, burnt or eaten alive by devil worshipping Marilyn Manson cannibal fans or during the black masses of medieval Europe or by the witches up in Salem. But no one had just died in a cemetery, all the people buried in there were long dead, facially reconstructed, embalmed, and stuffed with straw way before they passed those gates, and found themselves 6ft under growing lilies. Hell they might have been sleepin’ with the fishes or sleepin’ with Luca Brazzi for all I care, the important thing was that if I had to be scared out of my crap by evil spirits and devil worshipping European Medievals it was NOT in a cemetery. In fact except if I wandered into the one cemetery where all the aforementioned had happened, cemeteries, grave yards, their crooked corpse like vegetal pals, under moonlit owl howling nights were the safest place in the world to be.
The only problem with that, and if you don’t yet think I’m crazy after all this you certainly will now, was that after I stopped being irrationally scared of Semetarys I started seeing many, many more ghosts every where else, and consequently started spending much more time in cemeteries.
There is often, and usually in most small towns or big cities a couple of nuts (devil worshippers and Marilyn Manson aside) who hang around tombstones and fuck the old bones out of some dead old granny, but I wasn’t one of those. And I suspect that many people accused of necrophilia (which is really fuckin’ gross by the way Marilyn) were in fact just like yours truly, cuz I can’t be the only one, cuz I’m not fuckin crazy.
And one day, I managed to get over my guilt after getting over my fear, and went up to visit my old lady, God bless her kind, generous soul, and fell asleep by her tombstone. I love you Mama…
I woke up to find her sittin’ next to me… Not her! Not my mother! Come on now what the fuck?! You really think this was gonna get that stupid?! Or lame?! Man even if it were true who the fuck wants to read about that?! No not her, not my mother.
Her. Stunning as to make me think I was still dreaming. That I had been dreaming my entire life so far and all my irrational fears, cuz there was just no way a woman so beautiful, exotic and full of light was real, and I was definitely awake, so there must have been something wrong with what I thought was my life but really must have been a dream in the mind of a dragon…she was just…the closest approximation is a statue I found in a temple in Nepal about a year later when I was searching her around the globe, which I will get into later…
She knelt next to me. I was too bugged out to speak, or move or do anything but stare. Stare so I could keep her right there, immobile in mind before she disappeared and returned to whichever dimension she came from, where hopefully there were no dudes, cuz if I can’t be that lucky then motherfuckers can’t either. I wanted to capture every second of what I saw, so that I could lose sight, lose all my memories and remember only her, stuck on my retina, so that she would be all I would ever see again if I had to wander around bumpin’ right into walls until I got hit by a car.
She knelt next me.
“You loved her didn’t you?”
I realized I had tears streaming down my cheeks that were definitely not for my mother. I wiped em as fast as I could.
“Yes, I, I failed her.”
I don’t know why but all my guilt seemed to fade at her sight, and I could finally talk, even though I would try my best to never disappoint her with my clumsy words.
She looked at the grave and held her hands out.
“I can feel she was an amazing woman.” She said.
“She was.” I replied.
“But you should let her go. I think you had been waiting to visit for a long time, and she was waiting for you. But you can stop now. You’ve done what you needed.”
Smiling at me the whole time with those perfect slanted eyes and tan skin that caught the moonlight in hues of golden brown.
A telepath, a hot telepath.
Then I hoped I was wrong cuz she would realize what I was thinking of her perfect breasts under her white shirt. Not big, a hand full, but I knew what they would be…perfect.
Not that it would take a telepath to follow my eyes at that very moment but she didn’t seem to mind. She just sat straight and I sat by her.
“Who?..” I started
She put a finger over my lips and shook her head. She made me talk, made me speak my soul out. The transmission was smooth and natural, she laughed at my anecdotes, giggled girlishly sometimes although I was never really good with that, all the while peering right through me with those brown eyes slanted under the moon. She cuddled into my arms, and we fell asleep together.
When I woke up the next morning, she was gone.
Do you think I am crazy yet? That this story is just another barrel load of poopoo? Please throw this paper out now if you do cuz it ain’t over fool, it ain’t over…
I didn’t see her again for six months. Six months, and I was going nuts. I slept with at least eight women in those six months, half of them might have been the undead for all I knew. Eight women, and not one of them for more than a couple of weeks before her image burned against my retina with my eyes closed in the middle of the night, and I didn’t have a picture, not a an address, not a name or alias to go by, and who was gonna believe me? Nobody. No more than you are believin’ me now.
So at some point I decided to hell with the States, it blows here anyway, no one can follow my delirium. After meeting her, I had started having different connections with the ghosts for some reason, I realized I could understand what they were saying, hear their lives, and realize what was wrong with my own. They didn’t exactly talk to me, they just babbled on like drunks really, still if we gotta learn from past mistakes any soul wanderin the halls of the shiny house on the hill way past due date were prime material. Put two and two together guy! You might say. Fuck you, it still makes six.
Some might call me a hippy, but I stopped trying to find everything my society wasn’t bringing me and couldn’t bring me on its mindless race towards self destruction in a nuclear space rocket. I had always been that way, it’ll happen when you see ghosts, but my quest went forward still. So I figured, shit, she can’t be in the States. So I did something that only months before would have sounded ludicrous, I traveled to Scandinavia, Europe the land of Black Masses and haunted cemeteries, the cold arctic midnight sun over the fjords, and believe it or not I found her there.
I had been three months in Oslo, searching through every old Viking rune or ruin I could find, be they real or fake. Looking all this time through old artifacts I should have realized that something was quirky but I was so blinded by the fading memory of an image that didn’t come close to what it really was that I never put two and two together.
I could have gone all the way to Finland through Sweden down to Denmark, but Norway felt right, and Scandinavia is BIG man, on a map it looks like three fingers and a thumb flickin’ a bugger, but it’s BIG, plus I suspect American maps to slightly fuck with the scale to make us look bigger. Us bigger and Russia slightly smaller...but anyway. Half the time I was drunk and desperate, and still passing out in cemeteries. It was stupid after nine months I should have given up, but she felt…close…closer than she had in six months of wandering America in my boots made for walking down the country roads. She was always there, and that’s probably why I was always drunk. But she was never really there not until I made it up north past the Arctic Circle to Thromso a College town (up in the cold believe it or not) of a hundred thousand people, but there was no arctic sun at midnight for me there, only the bitter cold and dark of the suicide prone Arctic Night.
Thromso held little attraction to me, it wasn’t the sights I cared about and the night six months long or not, was the last fuckin thing on my mind. And that’s when she came to me again.
I had found my way to the cemetery somehow. I always found my way to the cemetery somehow without maps or signs, and for all my comatose barfing drunken semi constant stupor I wasn’t stupid enough to ask anybody: “Where can I find dead bodies? Oh by the way I am not gonna rape them, burp.” I don’t know how Norwegian jails are but I know how Norway is: motherfuckin’ cold. Regardless I found my way to the cemetery, and passed the gates letting myself fall onto a grave that must have been over a million years old, and in spite of the biting cold through my North Face bubble and Arctic clothes I fell asleep.
Fell asleep and probably would have died. Died popsickle frozen, or came back in a South Park episode as the Prehistoric man of 2007. Good thing Steve Irwin passed last year, cuz I would have ended up with “aye thum eup me auss”, but that probably wouldn’t have happened as I have of yet to find proof regarding the fabled Mr Hankey, so I would have died popsickle frozen and never realized, if a warm hand, a warm naked hand, hadn’t shaken me back to consciousness.
At first I thought I was going when I saw her. I thought: “Aight, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the hot telepath is taking you on a ride to eternity! Don’t get your hopes up! Ain’t no ridin’ goin’ on in the presence of the LAWD!” Gee thanks Lawd, good thing I wasn’t about to die.
I really thought it was the last conscious image of my fading frozen consciousness, and started apologizin’ to my mother for not havin’ her on my mind again when her soft slightly high and accented voice joked at me through the ice cold oxygen.
“You still haven’t let her go huh?”
“Could you let go of your mother?” I replied.
The air seemed to clear up around us, and I realized why her hand was warm. The snow never seemed to touch her, it would get within a millimeter of her skin and fade away. Not melt mind you, but fade away, one second there one second gone like a, like a ghost.
I heard the word scratch the back of my skull, tickle the tip of my tongue, bite the inside of my lip, daring, pushing to come out because it was so fuckin’ obvious.
Obvious as a wink, obvious as well, fading snow, not quite melting snow no, fading snow. Don’t ask me why but I got an uncontrollable fit of giggles at that thinking about Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, sorry I meant Kit Ramsey in Chubby Rain, “cuz it rained that day but was it normal rain or chubby rain?” was it normal snow or fading snow? Stupid ain’t it? Especially in the face of a woman to insanely fine, almost nauseatingly radiant to even dream of. Good thing my giddiness must have come out like so much teeth clicking about to shatter like ice.
There it was again trying to pry it’s way out through my vocal cords and kill all the magic. Some words are power, some thoughts are power but when they become words they disappear they become a reality that never was. As when you like this girl and before even making a move you’ve told all your friends?! Dumbass!
Hold dear to the things you need to do, walk the walk don’t talk for talking, cuz there is no talking the Talk, cuz the Walk and the Talk are one and the same thing in so many shades of grey. Walk Doogie! And shut the fuck up while you’re at it. And I knew that if I said that word if I allowed my surprisingly functional brain to even wander in that direction I would eventually become a talker, talk the Low Talk destroy all the dreams that may have been destiny by giving them birth prematurely, about eight months and twenty seven days prematurely. Not this time, not now, she would be my baby, she would be my boo, in this life or the next…
…cuz ain’t no ridin in the presence of lawd! No suh! So I asked the next logical thing.
“What you doin’ here?”
She knelt down next to me again. I realized then that she was wearing the same light clothes, white shirt and no bra. Her nipples should have been winking at me in this weather but they weren’t and her long black hair was flowin’ backwards against the wind, not marred by the slightest bit of ice.
She knelt by me and said what was of course the logical answer.
“I’m looking for you.”
Logical yet shocking somehow, cuz although I could not, would not, say it I figured she could have just popped up in any cemetery I had been SPAing in over the past nine months but I just said what all people in love say: the exact same thing the other person says:
“I’ve been lookin’ for you too.”
“And have you found me?” she asked still smiling that light all-knowing ever-comforting smile.
I thought about it, because well she was there, but I had definitely not found her. For fuck sake I didn’t even know who I was looking for! So for as to finding her hell no.
GHOST YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKER! GHOST!
Cuz I had definitely somehow, although quite logically I suppose fallen in love with a fabled ectoplasm, the only one unlucky enough to have actually died in a cemetery, and just as coincidentally happened to be this deep, attractive, fun, bombshell of a specter. Maybe one of the virgin sacrifices of Salem, or just an ugly chick’s ideal version of herself, not that it made a fuckin’ difference. I was in LOVE, LUV. Know what I mean dawgy? L-U-V.
“L’amour n’a pas de frontieres reste car je t’aime comme tu es, car je t’aimes comme tu es.”
So who cared who or what she was? Not yours truly, foolishly blinded and cold as fuck as I was in the Arctic night.
“No, I said, no.”
I was scared to ask the question, scared that it would reveal my thoughts still struggling to burst out by any orifice available.
GHOST GODDAMMIT! PACK YOUR SHIT AND RUN! SHE IS AS PHONY AS YOU ARE NUTS! YOU SICK BASTARD!
But I went ahead anyway.
“How do I find you?” I spat out nervous as all hell.
“Stop looking for me.” She said. “Go your own way, I’ll come around.”
I nodded my head, she sat next to me once again, and we talked again, only this time it was stronger than the first time. Things were natural, we were sharing. She never told me anything about her life but spoke her thoughts, her mind, her heart. The things that mean more than the old played out Who What Where and Why. Although the Why may have some substance to it.
How she moved how she shook her head, threw it back when she laughed if she didn’t fall back entirely through its strength, an explosion of laughter in infinite tones. I was still shivering in my North Face but the cold never touched my heart, and when I woke up the next morning, in the never ending Night she was gone…again.
That’s when I started Globe Trottin’. I have to capitalize I’m from Harlem. Did I mention that? Uptown baby! We get down baby! Probably omitted that, but I dare you to find a kid admitting he is scared of ghosts around 136 and Lenox, or mentioning both in the same breath, without at least a vicious: “I dare you motherfucker! I double dare you!”
So yeah I’m from Harlem and Globe Trottin, not that it matters now that the And1 cats have bombarded the market and the street hoop scene…
Crazy right? Even crazier than all this shit.
I walked down through Norway to Sweden first, finding new old runes and ruins through the lands of fabled Beowulf and the Dragon, then sailed up the Baltic sea to Finland into Lapland.
Through Lapland to St Petersburg down to Chechnya into the Middle East, where I found much less evil people than the Traveler’s Guidebook to the Axis leads you to believe, into Pakistan, hated the place, into Kashmir, Uttor Pradesh, a quick swing by Delhi, a few temples whose names I can’t remember and up to Darjeeling and into Nepal, where after a long day of upward thigh shattering motion, I reached a small dark and quiet temple perched on top a mountain to see what I could see.
The monks at once saw how exhausted, famished and dehydrated I was, and the winter was coming on much faster at this altitude and low oxygen. The area was ripe with Maoist rebels too; good thing black people are less marketable…
I stayed there two months, trying to stick to the eight precepts (No killing, no stealing, no sex (there’s only monks duh), no foul mouthing (tough one after all day prostrating), no alcohol (I suspect a couple had a little stashed away), no ornaments, no fancy sleeping accommodations, and no eating at inappropriate times), trying if I had still been in New York, but after all these months on the road and many a windings, this was the closest to Peace I had ever reached, I felt as if I had finally freed my mind from her, and I welcomed each minute of silence. There is infinity in silence, mark my words homeboys and homegirls if you’re still with me. Infinity once every muscle bone and fiber in your body has stopped aching. But once it has…
Strength is many things, don’t ask me to break it down for you, just accept that I know the ledge now…or am getting close to it, remember Socrates if Eurasian esoteria is too much for you.
I had almost believed I had gotten over her, or at least been able to stop and abstract her from my quest, until she “came around”, but that’s when I took a walk around the mountain bend into a small cave way out of reach…
I had to climb up to that cave, actually rock climb up to that cave not thinking for one second how the fuck I would get down (oops there goes precept #4), but it didn’t matter because two straight months of meditation went flying out the window, with her flashing back and forth through my mind all over again. I was so dizzy I could barely stand and had to lay my back against the stone wall to catch my breath before climbing, which I had never done before, not that it mattered as messed up as I was getting. I felt that if I didn’t climb that cave, may I fall and break my neck and die, I would never sleep or eat again. There was just no way around it, I had to climb that cave, otherwise I would keep coming back and back and back, I needed to get through this addiction and get to the asshole end of it.
I knew she couldn’t be there. There was no cemetery here, no graveyard where she could have found her way through the portals that they seemed to be yet, something in her, something about her was there, so I climbed.
It wasn’t high, 40 feet at worse, but by the time I reached it my fingers hands and feet were bloody and I had left stains all the way down the façade. The cave was not dark at all, and obviously not natural, although how long it must have taken it to dig it to monks stuck on a mountain I can’t and don’t wanna imagine.
It winded down into the mountain, lit on each side by candles space at ten foot intervals, until it ended in a vast grotto. There were still candles all around the circumference of the room, but it was too vast to get proper lighting so all I could make out a shape in the middle, a statue of sorts, but I couldn’t tell for sure. All I know was that my pace was racing, that the sense of her was stronger here than ever, so I walked up in the gloom to the statue…
There she was, those features, the hair, the expression of serenity in her eyes and face, well not her exactly, I mean the lady in the statue had seven eyes. One on her forehead and one in the palms of her hands and feet, but that little detail put aside it was her. And all of a sudden, the same way I had received the alcoholic’s Moment of Clarity two years earlier, the feeling of her was… gone, just…gone. I was free. Free to stop looking and move on with my life.
I can’t remember how I made it down the cliff wall. I can’t give less of a fuck. There was nothing left for me to be afraid of, nothing left for me to fear and for once I made sense to myself. Coherence, Clarity.
Night had fallen when I got out, I must have stayed there in contemplation for hours, but when I reached the Temple, I didn’t meet anybody, no one, not a monk, not a worker, and when I got back to my room to pick up my stuff, the little I had, I saw names and dates on the wall. The names were all different; the dates were all the same. The names were all the monks I had lived with, who had fed and sheltered me. The date was fifty years earlier, and it was the same for every single one of them.
My tale picks up in Bangkok next. I know I could have written down plainly the obvious conclusion I drew at the obituary, but I’m sure you know exactly what I mean, and are steadily believing this less and less, or more and more as these kind of things often go. That’s the great thing about insanity, or so called insanity: its consistency. Consistent to the point where you start thinkin’: “I mean he’s nuttier than a squirrel this guy, but he seems so sure…” Are you there yet?
Let me tell you how much I love Bangkok, traffic sucks, pollution is off the chain, its rampant with crime. Home Sweet Home. It’s where the heart is, and mine is in the cracks on the sidewalk.
I found a job here as an English teacher. A really well paid job. College English, not one of those shady spots with crazy nuns who run your ass like Zorro. A good job, love the students, although I wish the girls would stop winking at me, I mean no not really, I love every minute of it, but damn, why they gotta look so good?! If they were buck I could brush it aside instead of losing track of what I say half the time.
Oh yeah, the good news is, relatively speaking, that I stopped seeing ghosts, and stopped passin’ out in cemeteries. Until one night when I figured I would give it a shot for old times’ sake. If I had been shrewder I would have been able to mark it as our anniversary, the first time I had met her. Met her, once upon a time when shit was all fucked up.
So I wandered off in the middle of the night to find a cemetery. Let me tell you a little bit about Thai cemeteries. Thais don’t bury, Thais burn, so good luck finding a good old traditional burial ground full of rotting human waste and bones with long toe and finger nails. That’s one thing they should consider next time they make a shitty Zombie flick, add some serious nail length to the ghools, I don’t know about you but that on top of eating my remains (if they could catch me of the course the slow motherfuckers), I’d shit my pants…again….
So the trick was to finding a Thai-Chinese cemetery, cuz Chinese don’t burn they bury (God Bless them), and they do it nicely too: whole families, one grave. I had never seen that yet and I thought well, it’s all for the sake of tradition right? The ritual, the symbol so what the hell. I looked up my options, and went for the biggest in BKK: Huang Sui in the heart of darkness.
What a night ladies and gents (although I suppose the thugs must have given up on me by now), what a night I really wanted to make this event special. Special to me at least I couldn’t tell my friends and co workers that I was celebrating my first night in a cemetery for God knows how long and I really wanted to do it proper. I mean these people respect me of sorts. We went out bowling, Karaoke (not a big fan but this Asia what you gonna do?), more drinks, Rachada, Club Hollywood and more drinks.
When I figured I had rubbed up on enough chicks I had no intention of payin’, I jetted without a word, this kind of shit happens in clubs anyways, you always gotta expect to lose some of your crew, assuming that “nigga getting laid yo.” when he probably got sick and went home, but I just felt this growing anxiety for the first time since moving here, and I was excited, excited and three quarters of the way to blind drunk.
Huang Sui was disappointing. I got off the cab, ridiculously overpaid him and walked through the western gate, too drunk and stuck on stupid to notice someone else walking through the eastern gate right across from me. Good thing looking back, I would have probably gotten self conscious and stupid. When I stayed days in cemeteries before, I was actually fulfilling an urge, a need to get away from all the spiritual activity that made me vulnerable outside, but now I was just going through the motions for no reason, except for fun, and I knew that it didn’t feel right, like the priest whose lost all faith and still sanctifies mass after mass, all the power gone from his hand and heart. That’s why I got drunk I guess, to avoid thinkin’ of how foolish this all was, how behind me it was since the cave on the mountain. But I didn’t see the other person walk in the cemetery, so I didn’t think any of this and went on with my parody.
I said before that Huang Sui was disappointing. That’s bullshit. Huang Sui was NOT disappointing, the cemetery itself was void, but its just when I was about to leave just when I figured to hell with all this, I’ve finally grown, and not because I was taught a certain way, not because I was institutionalized into being the perfectly social XXth century negro, which I am not, I rounded a huge tomb and bumped right into her.
We both took a step back, I had not actually seen her face, there was no way she had seen mine, unless she had found me again, but it was too dark and too fast, but I knew all the same. And I knew because:
I met you in a cemetery in Tokyo.
I saw her through my own eyes for a brief instant lying asleep on a tomb, the gargantuan metropolis’s rumble bearing down upon us, and gently shaking her awake.
I met you in a cemetery in Ghana.
She was weeping over the grave of a deceased child. I picked through her mind that she had held him in his last moments because his mother had already passed. She knew that he would die in her arms, that was the one thing she thought she couldn’t do, but she wouldn’t let him take his last breath alone. She wept on my shoulder until she fell asleep.
I followed you to Mexico.
Now I was seeing through her eyes, her walk through the jungle away from a small village that had welcomed her when she was lost in the damp wilderness, delirious with fever. To find the statue of an old Olmec god, buried under ferns and moss. She had scraped the Statue clean, only to reveal my face. And when she returned to the village all the huts were empty, all the people were gone…
We looked at each other. Her voice fading from my mind as mine was fading from hers. She was beautiful. Beautiful with all the meaning the word can imply. Beautiful, natural and human, her hair tied up behind her head. Beautiful, solid and so small in my arms yet so sweet and supple. Beautiful.
We looked at each other. Our eyes locked for as much time as it takes a baby to take his first breath, the eternity of that first moment of pain and blissful life. Can you remember that moment?
We looked at each other.
“So you finally came around?” I said smiling
“Yep.” She answered. “Looks like I found you.”
Oh don’t be pissed off reader. Don’t get mad. What more do you want? I told you before the Who, the What, the Where, the Why, all those are irrelevant, although there maybe some substance to the Why, but who cares? All these pale in comparison with the How, because that’s your life, How did it happen?
What: The event itself is the culmination of a long list of things that are more significant than their final sum. The Yankees won the World Series, great but How?
Where: The Yankees won the World Series in the Bronx. Great but who gives a fuck?
Why: Because they played better dick! Or from the other side: Because the umpire is a dick! (Why only has substance sometimes.)
And Who: Who is she? Do you really care? Is it gonna make a difference to what I just told you if I tell you her name? Shit brother do you even know mine? You haven’t given a fuck so far so Why do you now?
There is substance to this Why. So I’m gonna tell you Why.
You wanna know now, because unless you have those meaningless landmarks you can’t label my story, you can’t put it in a safe little box, you can’t rationalize it, relate it to yourself, and that scares you.
Let go man, let go. This story happened, it really happened, whether you believe it or not. It doesn’t matter who it happened to! How tall they were, or if they preferred boxed wine over malt liquor! What is important is that it happened, and this is How it happened. Isn’t that magical enough?
I’ll tell you this much though.
She is lying in bed behind me right now as I finish typing these words. She is lying in bed behind me, resting gently on her side, her hair under her head, the lower part of the sheet falling just shy of her perfect left breast. I can tell you this dear reader, because I can see the small goose bumps on her skin at the air conditioning. I can tell you this because as soon as I’m done, as soon as I turn off the lights, I’m gonna slide under the sheets with her and cover that perfect breast with my hand and fall asleep.
I can tell you this dear reader, because I don’t care if you believe this or not.
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