I’ve grown so used to him over the years, sometimes I almost yearn for his presence when he’s not around. All I need is a momentary glimpse, a flash, a whisper in my ear, a light flicked on for me, something, anything, just so I know he’s still around. It is a He, I’m certain of that, tall and lanky, shadowy, slightly stooped, almost cadaverous, funny that one. He always wears a brown tweed suit with a high collar and stiff white shirt. The coat buttons are leather. That’s the impression I get of him anyway, I’ve never actually seen him. He is warmth and strength, fear and terror, and he’s a ghost.
The first time he came into my life I had just moved into a house with my boyfriend Paul (not his real name, but you know the deal), our first night there together was uneventful, we awoke early and after Paul left the house for a business trip I laid on the sofa. After a while I heard the door open, felt a draft pass me by, footsteps running up the stairs and back down, a draft, the door slammed. When Paul called later that day I asked what he had forgotten, why he had come back. He hadn’t come back at all, I must have been dreaming.
I spent that first day and long into the night unpacking, and by the wee hours of the morning I wanted nothing more than to crawl into my bed and surrender to oblivion. Alas it was not to be, as I stood in the bathroom I heard footsteps coming up the stairs behind me, I turned but there was no-one there, thinking my tiredness was playing tricks on me I turned back to the mirror and immediately heard breathing and felt a hot breath on the back of my neck. My startled reflection in the mirror was alone, no-one appeared behind me. Then the light went out. One whispered word long drawn out…… GO……….like an exhalation. I turned and ran down the stairs, into the living room, turned on the light, the light went out, into the kitchen, turned on the light and the faucet, four feet away, turned on, a stream of water poured into the sink, I turned it off and went back into the living room, into the darkness, and there I stopped.
I remembered some very wise words my Grandmother once said, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”. I wrapped those words around me like a blanket and sat on the sofa, curled up and waited for daybreak. I must have slept because I woke cold and stiff and afraid. A darkness, a chill seemed to envelope the room and I wondered how I could stay there alone for the next week, and then those words came back to me and I stood. I planted myself in the middle of the room and in the strongest voice I could muster I said, “I live here now, this is my home now, I will share it, but I will not go, and I refuse to be scared by you.”
To be continued……