Ghosts are unpredictable. They are never really present. Shaking, rattling, scary footsteps pounding in the hall at night – that’s a ghost. So how is it that a little girl was raised by one?
Little girl was born into a strange family. As we’ve already discussed, one of her parents was a wolf. She had to try her very damn best to sleekly avoid the pain that one caused, sometimes by pretense and sometimes by avoiding.
The other parent was a ghost.
When Little Girl was a baby, she and her (twin) sister babbled happily in their crib from day to day. Childish little laughter echoed in the Mama’s bedroom, and a beautiful real mama touched and babied her two beautiful children. She loved these two babies with all her heart. But her heart was eroding. Each time the babies cried, she felt desperate. What to do for these crying beauties? Gradually she became angry.
And one day, she disappeared.
The babies cried and cried, but Mama didn’t come.
They stretched out their tiny, fat baby arms for the empty air. And that was all they got. No Mama came to wrap them up in big Mama arms and tell them that everything was gonna be just fine. Between their outstretched arms, air rushed through and pierced their tiny baby bodies, ripping up their hearts. Then Ghost Mother pulled her empty-air arms back and silently drifted away, leaving ghost-like cackling to echo in the room behind her.
This was Little Girl as a baby. As she grew, it often happened that Wolf Father would come to take bites out of her, and she wished for her real Mama to come back. Maybe Real Mama would be able to scoop her up in safe-Mama arms and take the bites away. Little Girl stretched out her arms crying, trying to find Real Mama.
Instead, The Ghost Mother often followed the Wolf Father into the room. The shelves would rattle, scary footsteps would creak across the floor, and Wolf Father would come to take bites out of the Little Girl. Then The Ghost Mother would reach into the bites with her empty arms, leaving a lot of Alone in the empty holes. Little Girl was always terrified. All she wanted to do was go and hide.
There were days she’d crawl under her little bed and curl up into a little ball. The Ghost Mother would often creep into the room and lean down to look under the bed. Now, as scary as The Ghost Mother was, the scariest thing wasn’t that she rattled the shelves and knocked over the glass knick-knacks. The scariest thing about The Ghost Mother was that sometimes, she brought the Real Mama with her. Sometimes, she became Real Mama for just long enough. Long enough for Little Girl to hope that Real Mama was back for good. When Little Girl crawled under the bed, this happened a lot. The Ghost Mother would look under the bed and in that moment, Real Mama appeared. She reached out her silken hand and rubbed Little Girl’s back. “It’s okay, honey,” she’d whisper. “Don’t you want to come out and eat dinner? I made Mac and Cheese, it’s your favorite.”
The first time, Little Girl was fooled and crawled out from under the bed. The moment she came out from her hiding place, The Ghost Mother came back and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Little Girl sat up against the bed and cried. Her little stomach heaved with tears that she couldn’t stop even though she tried. The Wolf Father often came in at that moment and growled at her to stop crying. “Only babies cry,” he snarled. But Little Girl couldn’t stop crying with no Mama to tell her it would be okay, so then he’d start biting her.
As Little Girl grew, she tried to forget that she had a Wolf Father and a Ghost Mother. She sometimes tried to pretend that she didn’t exist at all. That was so much easier than always feeling afraid, trapped, alone.
There were days she couldn’t deny it away. Days where pain came. Little Girl denied where the pain came from, but it was overwhelming all the same. She often would be bent in half by the sweeping emptiness left by The Ghost Mother.
As a teenager, Little Girl became Middle Girl. Middle Girl was a master at trying to charm others into liking her. She was the sweetest girl in the world and everyone loved her. Middle Girl had learned many relating abilities at the hand of The Ghost Mother. They were effective yet stunted. Often, to try and coerce Real Mama to appear, Middle Girl would ask The Ghost Mother questions. In the car on the way to the store, Middle Girl quizzed The Ghost Mother, asking about The Ghost Mother’s life, feelings, thoughts. The Ghost Mother would fade and Real Mama would appear on top of The Ghost Mother’s face. Often the two would mix together, but Middle Girl thought it was better than just having The Ghost Mother. And the Real Mama would often show up and talk to Middle Girl about her life. The Real Mama and the Ghost Mother started liking Middle Girl a lot because she was always interested in them.
So everyone loved Middle Girl because she found that in order to get people to like her, she could ask questions and the Real Person would appear, even if only halfway. Because people like to be seen as their Real Selves, they would fall in love with her. It was a simple plan, but Middle Girl mostly just used it for one reason.
She was looking for her Real Mama.
Each question was achingly asking, like one of her favorite books from childhood, “Are You My Mother?”
But a dog was not Real Mama. A plane was not Real Mama. A big machine was not Real Mama either. And Real Mama never quite came back.
And so even Middle Girl was left with the ghost. She could pour stories into The Ghost Mother’s ears, and talk and talk and talk. Yet she felt like she was talking into nothing. She was pouring water into an endless hole. And The Ghost Mother would talk back, telling her thoughts and stories, but The Ghost Mother was just vomiting out endless pain.
Even worse, Middle Girl had to hold all this pain. The Ghost Mother, and the tiny part of Real Mama she had left, came to expect that Middle Girl would always listen to her pain-stories. So Middle Girl would always hold The Ghost Mother’s sadness. The Ghost Mother had too much agony to even begin to ask Middle Girl about Middle Girl’s life. Middle Girl felt almost guilty even bringing it up. What was her pain in comparison to The Ghost Mother’s pain? It was nothing, really.
But Middle Girl’s pain was not nothing. It showed up in cuts on her legs after her Grandpa’s funeral. It petered out in a pediatrician’s office after a checked box showed family troubles. It came out in a glass of scotch and a handful of aspirin after The Beast left. It was a great storm after the Twin and the Confidant were snatched away by The Dark One. It showed up in her choice to marry, and then leave, The Masked Man.
Yet of course, no one really cared about Middle Girl. Wolf Father obviously had no conscience to care. And Real Mama was lost, roaming about her empty haunted house trying to find some closure for herself.
So Little Girl, and Middle Girl, were left with a Ghost.
Dean Blunt feat. Inga Copeland – The Narcissist
Ed Sheeran – Small Bump
Emily Browning – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Eva Cassidy – Fields of Gold
Glen Hansard – You Will Become
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – When Your Mind’s Made Up
Florence and the Machine – Only if For a Night
Hans Zimmer – Maestro
Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerard – Elysium, Honor Him and Now We Are Free
James Blunt – Goodbye, My Lover
James Newton-Howard – The Gravel Road