Tag Archives: immortality

72. Ghosts

I’m waiting, Mr. Ghost.

I’m waiting for a cold draft, an omnipresent whisper, and a flickering lamp. I want some footsteps upstairs when the house is supposed to be empty. I want doors left ajar that I’m sure I closed when I left. I want noises in the basement. I want the dog to start acting funny, barking at empty corners and shadows. All I’m asking for, Mr. Ghost, is a little sign.

Send a rocking chair into a frenzy. Slam a few windows. Leave eerie messages on my bathroom mirror.

I want to believe in you.

Your existence means a lot to me. I don’t care if you’re the friendly spirit of a child or a wicked poltergeist spawned from the soul of an executed mass-murderer. Just prove it. Show me that the afterlife exists. Show me that some of you still linger. Set fire to a ouija board or raise skeletons from their graves. I don’t care what you do, just do something.

Show up in the background of a photograph. Appear in a hallway mirror.

I can’t even begin to explain how much that would change things for me. Imagine, a real ghostly encounter. Sure, I’m not going to lie and say it wouldn’t be unsettling at first, but wandering into a haunted hotel to find a ballroom full of ghosts wearing masks would really make my day. I’d have so many questions for them.

Mr. Ghost, I have to ask, is it cold in the afterlife?

Do you have to remain in human form?

Which senses do you still possess?

Why do you think you’re still here?

Please, I hope I wouldn’t be intruding with these questions. I’m only curious, you know. I want you to know I’ve been a firm believer all my life, only I’m reaching that point now where I’d like some reason to keep the belief alive. Some shred of proof. A little evidence to whet my ghostly appetite.

Not long ago, the ghost of a dog entered my room while I was lying down to sleep. It huffed into my ear with the impatience of a dog that wants you to throw the ball already. The sound was so real that I spun around to be sure I wasn’t about to befriend a phantom Lassie, but the room was empty.

Since this was such a minimal encounter, it’s tough for me to consider it a legitimate experience. Might’ve just been a creak of the old floorboards or a sound from out the window. Still, that ghost dog huff got my hopes up.

If you’re really out there, Mr. Ghost, please don’t hide.

I know it must be weird, being dead and all.

All I want is to see you at the end of the pier vaguely through the mist, or riding the carousel of an abandoned carnival, or hovering over your old grave. I won’t call the Ghostbusters. I won’t freak out. I just want to know you’re there. And I’m guessing you could use a friend.

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3. Immortality

If you could choose to be immortal, would you?

As in, you’re the age you are now and you can eat this pill that gives you eternal life. Or you’re still a kid when the pill comes out, so you can wait a few years until you’re in your prime and try it then.

You can still get run over by a train and die. If you get cancer, it’ll kill ya. But otherwise, your body will just keep going. The cells you’ve got now, the freckles and the hair and the posture, it’ll all stay that way permanently. No anti-aging cream required. All you have to do is simply take care of your body. It might last forever, but you only get one of them.

Would you do it?

I would.

Not for the selfish reasons, either. I’m not afraid to die. I’ve given up on keeping myself up at night dwelling on that enigma. No, it’s not because I want to out-live everyone else and suck up more resources or because I think I’m special. Call me crazy, but the truth is that I want to see the way the world ends. I want to see where humanity leads. I want to see the asteroid impact or zombie apocalypse that wipes us out. I want to see the closing credits.

I think about all the lives that came before us. The people who lived whole lifetimes and made their little mark on this planet, but then left the planet to keep on spinning without them. I can’t imagine you won’t be curious about the next chapter, the one that follows the scene where you’re written off.

Oddly enough, most people I talk to would not want to be immortal. They want to be part of the natural cycle. I get that. Sure. It’s poetic.

But I’m not a poet. I’m into fiction, long prose and complicated plot lines. I want to see the story of the human race to its bitter end. Don’t leave me with some symbolic final stanza. I want to be here for the epilogue.