Last night I saw a ghost.
It froze me.
It made me hold my breath.
It sent me running.
I had no recourse but to close my eyes and wish to the high heavens that such occurrence never happened.
They say that when ghosts make their presence felt, they are out to settle some unfinished business. Some move on to the next level of living, not by choice, but by circumstance. And when they saunter in the realms of the afterlife, they would only be overwhelmed by the waiting, glaring light once they have settled their earthly issues.
But if there is one thing I believe is the fact that some ghosts are unaware of their snuffed mortality. They continue to roam the earth, pacing around favorite places, going through the motion of what has been familiar, without the slightest clue that they are actually “dead”.
Spooky stories have it that some ghosts take on various manifestations. Some are blurry, some bloodied, some float on the floor, and some appear headless.
But the ghost that appeared before me last night was the worst kind of all.
He was a ghost that had no heart.
This year, my Halloween came in December. Yesternight’s appalling apparition was far from stereotypical. There was no pounding Psycho thriller score or Twilight Zone stinger in the background. In fact, the 80s music that I grew up with, reverberated in the air. From across the room, amid unfinished beer bottles on cluttered tables, I saw the ghost of my ugly past. I was mortified to say the very least.
I actually thought that by now, I’d be numb with such ghost encounters. Boy, I’ve had my fair share with the passing of time. Some episodes have scared the wits out of me but the good thing, no matter how terrorized I was for a particular moment, I have come out the least bit shaken afterwards. With much enlightenment from my readings of Perez, Regis and Lichauco, I have taken much fascination on the best way to communicate with lost souls and confused spirits. I have somehow learned to deal with ghosts that still walk the earth. In some respect, I have mastered how to exorcise the celebrated beings from my so-called afterlove dimension. Most of whom, I’ve obviously gotten over with, while some have just been deemed insignificant snippets, all this made possible as I deliberately command myself to be afflicted with some kind of romantic Alzheimer’s disease. At times I can’t help but contemplate whether issues of long ago have been truly settled and have been enshrined in my amorous mausoleum. This leads me to ask…
If love affairs have clearly reached a flatline, why on earth does the haunting still continue?
No matter how freaked out we are, everyone loves to hear a good ol’ ghost story. So here goes my tales from the mush crypt…
The very first time I was faced with an emotional supernatural, the paranormal experience left me astounded. While enjoying a mouthwatering pianini in a cozy resto in Greenbelt, the first ever ghost in my life came floating by. His name is Seth. It’s been years since I heard a thud from him and quite honestly Seth has vanished completely in my life … or so I thought. The dreamy sequence saw the ever giddy Minnie approaching him saying my usual high-pitched hello. But this ghost outright downplayed my presence. I never expected such reaction from Seth, the ghost who registered so many firsts in my love meter, and the being who pioneered my juvenile cardiac arrests. It was baffling in a way why he treated me like I was just some girl he met in some high school soiree when in fact, Seth and I had manage to forge a six-year erratic relationship. I simply charged such ghastly sighting as an affirmation that some people, even the ones whom I fondly shared my growing up years with, will simply evolve to be a mere transient in my life. Months ago, I saw this lanky ghoul in the same building where I work now. Catching Seth in my peripheral vision, I intuitively knew it was him but I proceeded to carry on knowing he wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t exhibit any signs of fear. That’s the thing with ghosts, they figure out in your life, playing with your mind, only if you allow them to. So I took a stand, walked on as if I saw nothing. Ignoring a ghost has its rewards. The more you don’t pay attention to them, the more they wont bug you.
After my creepy episode with Ghost #1, allow me to relate to you my saga with another phantom of my (soap) opera. His name is Teddy. He was a dark creature that spelled mush and misery to me for years. Seductive, deceptive, manipulative — that would best describe this malevolent spirit of my advertising life. Years ago, I remember that I deliberately allowed myself to meet Teddy over afternoon coffee, thinking that ghosts can’t scare you in broad daylight. Besides, it’s been years since our sordid love story had its Freddy Kruger finale so I somehow was confident that such meet-up wouldn’t inspire the mind of Stephen King. So Teddy and I indulged in rounds and rounds of espresso sips in my favorite restaurant along Reposo. This rebellious ghost was so into himself that I just sat there watching and listening, drumming my pretty painted nails on the table, eagerly waiting for this B-horror movie to reach its end. Hours passed and I survived the omen without a single strand of hair standing up in my then waif body. Sheesh, Teddy never changed. He was one particular ghost who was so used to projecting his alarming stance in my life that the horror seemed oh so predictable. His scare tactics have become somewhat stale. Sometimes when you come face to face with a ghost, you just have to stare at the presence and command him to simply bring it on. When you find yourself in an all-familiar ghost encounter, you can pretend to be scared and roll your eyes to the sky, and you can expect that the ghost can take his cue to dissipate. The fact is, fear is a state of mind. For this instance — a state of heart. You just have to condition yourself to work around it and not be overwhelmed by it. That moment we were together, Teddy saw in my eyes the absence of fear and all I had was pity for the guy. For Teddy was one lost soul with one lost cause. Tsk, tsk, tsk. The most recent recollection I have of this free-spirited ghost was that he said he saw me one time in Greenbelt but refused to come near me. Perhaps he was more spooked of me than I was of him. Bwahahaha. To date, I have been spared from his menacing presence for some time now since he has found his Succubus and have settled elsewhere. The sightings are now just confined to my chatbox. Come to think of it, Teddy was more of an elemental than a ghost. I consider him my all-time boogeyman. He was the monster beneath my bed. But thank god, the nightmares have ceased and every waking day I feel very much detached from the immense hurting that has once plagued me.
After my phantom story, one significant unnerving encounter followed. In comes the man named Sam. He was the ultimate ghost who stood by me through and through. Sam was the kind of presence that would float in and out of my life, popping out when I was immersed in unfeigned theatrics in the hospital, funeral parlor, cemetery and other places of melancholy. He may have occasionally stalked me but funny, Sam was never out to spook me. It’s just the way he was built. He would simply choose to watch me go through the drama of my life episodes and when the timing is right, make his presence felt in the room. He was a gentle ghost that I thought would never scare the hell out of me. When Sam showed up in my office lobby two years ago to say that he is finally moving to the light and out of my life, I felt a different kind of fright. Sometimes when you are so used to all the ruckus a ghost makes, you reach a certain comfort level. And when all the fuss comes to a halt, you wonder whether the end of the love séance is for real. After a misty-eyed closure one afternoon in 2007, I had no choice but to say goodbye and wish my real-life Casper all the peace and happiness he deserves in the world. The void he has left in my life was indeed scary. To this day, when I think of what has happened, I still feel a draft enveloping me. Nothing can compare to the the chill and shrill of the story of the one who got away. For quite awhile now, my mobile phone has been dead silent from echoing his ringtone, that popular ditty from Psychedelic Furs. “Inside you, the time moves and he don’t fade … the ghost in you, he don’t fade …”
And just when I thought the journey to maturity meant benefiting from some kind of amnesia, there was one ultimate ghost story that had to be retold, without me wanting it.
Somewhere in between my recalled spook stories, the most vicious ghost made his mark in my life. After more than a decade, I can say that his disturbance is vivid still. This was one ghost who had committed a crime of violence that up to this day I cannot shake off my head. If there are people who you burn bridges with, there are people who you burn effigies for. And in his presence, I would have no second thought of initiating my blair bitch project. For purposes of storytelling, I will refer to this banshee of my life as a being called Oliver.
Last night took me by surprise. I never saw it coming. No one knew my ghost was coming. When my friends knew of the horror from way back, he was one person that was unspoken of in my circle. Perhaps out of respect, my friends never dare mention his name in my presence. With the scene unraveling yesternight, you bet tension was the understatement of the year. My friends were restless in their seats wondering whether a meltdown was in order. It’s been a long while since my friends have seen us together. For years now, I have refused to be in the same room with Oliver or attend a reunion whenever he was around. I felt that the gruesomeness will never be worth the camaraderie. Oliver will never be worth it. And in typical ghost fashion, his apparition would happen at the most unexpected time and terrify me when I was dead sure the M. Night Shyamalan episode was so over. Last night, the ghost approached me. I turned to alcohol instantaneously in the attempt to ease my nerves but I ended up reaching out for my friend’s frothy glass. He spoke with the classic Vincent Price tone, to which I attempted, out of politeness, to lift my cheeks to simulate what you may somehow consider to be a civil smile of some sort. But such act required too much energy on my part. I knew there was no fooling myself. I could never ever get myself to communicate with a spirit that has outright wronged me. So after I heard him exchange pleasantries and extend holiday greetings in the air, I found my feet suddenly on the move. Much as I would like to take in the mortifying scenario, people all have their tolerance levels. The sixty seconds of putting up with the terror was more than enough. I decided to walk away and found my sanity by the poolside. I stuttered on the phone as I rang up my best guyfriend. I didn’t know how to place myself. When you come face to face with a demon of your past, you lose control of your senses. You’re trapped in some close encounter of the oddest kind. You find yourself barenaked to terror. After some minutes of self-preservation, I went back and sat at a table across to where the harrowing ghoul was. I survived. I did. I went on with my night. I drew strength from the fact that even if the haunting was still occurring, the hurting will never happen again. Never.
It makes me think …
How many of us choose to downplay our emotional sixth sense and opt to safely and sanely stay behind our social sheets lest we be spooked? How many of us are actually walking dead in this world without us even knowing it?
For sure, we all have our fair share of horror stories. But for me, the daunting saga of romantic criminals will forever be gory, whatever angle I look at it, no matter how much time has elapsed. Even if told over and over again, the goosebumps will turn up, the mind will be boggled, only because the spirit will never forget.
We all have our ghosts, whether you like it or not. Some of us acknowledge them. Some find its best to ignore their presence. Some will just pass us by without us knowing it. Most of us will refuse to believe that they exist.
Last night I saw a ghost. You bet he saw me too.
For a moment I was frozen and breathless.
It’s a pity that my ultimate ghost will never come to see the light.