10 April 2005
Despite everything I have come to know about Charles and his ideas, by the end of the week I had to admit that things were starting to seem like they were getting serious with Lori and I decided I had to tell her what was going on. We picked up a pizza and went to my place for a movie but, before turning the tv on, I went ahead and tested out the idea by asking her if she believed in spirits and ghosts. She nearly choked on her drink when I asked.
"What, like, in general?" she asked. "Or is there something you need to tell me?"
"Uh...yes," I said. "I mean, in general, but also, I'm asking because I want to talk about them."
"Okay, uh, yeah. I believe in ghosts. I mean, everything just seems so bleak if death is just the end." I nodded.
"I guess that's one way to look at it."
"But why? What do you wanna talk about?" She paused, holding a piece of pizza just outside of her mouth for a moment, before setting it down and leaning forward to look me directly in the eyes. "Is this that thing Charles was on about?"
"Yeah, okay, so about that." I started to explain the basics; how I've always been able to see spirits and ghosts, answered her questions about how those are different things, tried to answer her questions about what the world looks like to me.
I always hate that question. What am I supposed to do with it? I don't know, what's it look like to you? People act like it's some thing I just turn on like a power up in a video game, where I see everything the way they do until I activate Anchor Vision or whatever, so they think it's easy for me to say "well here is what you see, and then this is the graphic overlay that I get to add." But it isn't like that! I legitimately have no idea what everyone else does or doesn't see. It took the first twelve years of my life to piece together that other people don't see any sentient beings except humans. It was just a series of eliminations, oh, wait, you don't see elves either? Nothing? When I was in first grade I still thought everyone's imaginary friend was just the same thing as the beings I saw and talked to. That everyone saw the world the same way I did. No one was telling me anything different! They thought it was cute little kid games! Only my parents really picked up on the fact that it was different, and while my dad could accurately identify some of them from his own experiences and studies, he didn't know how to explain to me that no one else was seeing them until later. Until after Mom left. I suppose that forced the issue in a way.
So I stumbled over that for a bit, explaining that I don't really know how to explain it without making reference to an experience I've never had, and she just sat and listened attentively. I explained how I see something I call ripples, that are probably the same things as auras but I don't really know, where people impact the world around them through emotional states or thoughts or whatever, and she got all concerned that I could read minds, but I assured her it was way more vague than that. I can mostly read intensity of a person's impact, and if I really pay attention I can pick out individual differences between the trails different people leave in their wake, but I have to really know their mark. But I haven't pieced together any system for knowing what specific emotional or mental state leaves a specific impact. She seemed relieved at that and I cracked a joke about how it must be disappointing that she hasn't met a guy who can read her mind. She laughed but smacked at my arm.
"So, those nymphs," she finally said, after we'd sat for a minute silently eating. I almost choked. "Tell me about this." I coughed for a couple moments, then took a long drink, leaned forward to recover, then nodded.
"Alright so look. I know this guy, he's a faun." She looked at me with confusion in her eyes and shrugged. "A satyr." She furrowed her brow.
"The...goat men? With the pan flutes?"
"Yes. Pan is a faun, or a god who looks like a faun? It's never really been clear to me. Anyway, I know one, he's been hanging around a long time. And fauns, they hang out with nymphs."
"Like. Real nymphs."
"Naked women in the water, keen on sleeping with lost people?" She leaned back and crossed her arms.
"That is...not entirely inaccurate..."
"So anyway, he knew you and I were hanging out, and thought maybe I was just lonely or something, so he brought a few around one day to occupy my time."
"I see. And what happened?"
"Nothing. I sent them away. Which didn't go over terribly well, if I'm honest."
"Because they were just so eager to occupy your time?"
"Well. Okay, so, I may have a certain affinity with water and water beings, since my great-grandpa was a river god, and so they-"
"A river god?!" She leaned forward, her hands resting on her knees. "Wait, how much is this spiritual stuff involved in just, like, your daily life?"
"Nearly constantly. Look, I don't often talk about it until I can trust someone, so it didn't come up right away; but spirits know I can see them, and they have a certain interest in human affairs, so they kick around. And ghosts, you know, they tend to think I can deal with their unfinished business, which is rarely true. Especially things related to water. Like, there was this ghost I met last year, she'd been drowned, and she took this really intense interest in me-" Lori stood up and started pacing the room while she spoke, her back to me.
"And you think that's why she was...interested in you? Because she was drowned and you're some kind of magnet for water beings?"
"I mean. I don't know, I didn't really get the chance to ask her. As far as I know, the only thing she knew about me was that I was there, you know? I'm grasping at straws here, but it certainly seemed to be a factor for the nymphs." She stopped and stood still for a bit, looking at the blank tv. "Hey, are you okay?"
"You know what I think?" she finally asked.
"Not yet," I offered, with a smile. I guess I hoped she could hear it, as her back was still to me. She pulled her arms tight around herself.
"I think you're a very attractive young man, with a kind heart and a fascinating story. I think you live your whole life with the knowledge that you're on display to unseen forces, always held accountable, never really operating in secret, and you don't realize what that means to people with the kind of trauma that makes ghosts of them." I slowly stood and started walking over toward her as she spoke. "I think you live a life of depth and adventure that the rest of us can only read about, know amazing creatures personally, walk through a vibrant world of connection and wonder." She turned around as I stopped, placing her hand on my chest and looking into my eyes. "I think you felt a real connection with a person who needed you and didn't have the arrogance to assume it was something special or amazing about you, but maybe it was."
"Lori, I-" she brought her other hand up to rest it on my cheek.
"And I think that that, well, parts of it anyway, are very hot." She moved forward and kissed me deeply. I wrapped my arms around her, and felt her press in closer as she pulled her hand off my chest and reached around my neck with it.
We never did get around to putting the movie on.
The blog of John Matteson.