Absent Friends.

Ghosts will come if you stand by an autumn bonfire. They will slip along the edges of your perceptions – those you know that you have and the others – and stand, just beyond touching distance behind your shoulder. It is not alarming; they are friendly now as they have always been. While the flames do their burning thing: throwing sparks at the sky trapped stars and smoke to the winds. Crayon the lawn, the hedges, the walls of the wash house in blazes of shifting colour and darknesses. Warm the side of you that is turned towards it, while the turned away half gets colder.

And it is not that the ghosts are summoned by the fire. It has absolutely no power over them. Maybe they do not even notice the flames and shadows that turn and twist: who knows? If it helps you can believe they are called by your memories (though this is not the case). And they are not just in your imagination: you are really not that good!

But, to keep them there,  you have to concentrate on the flames, the heart of the burning. Glance them only from the corners of your eyes, at the edges of your understanding, where your senses run to haze and recognise nothing other than blurred images. If you turn to look closely, fully at them, they just will not be there. As if they had never made that first approach. For they do not crave your undivided attention.

… and you cannot communicate with them. It is not important for you to do so and they cannot talk, they cannot hear and will not answer your questions. Why should they? Why would they?

But their presence, if you allow it , can be mutually reassuring. Be its own reward. You clearly need that company; why else would they come? And they too take something from the encounter. They understand that they are not neglected; that they remain unforgotten and still play a part, however small in the rituals you carry on.

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2 thoughts on “Absent Friends.

  1. smirkpretty says:

    I came across this last night, and your post today brings it to mind again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBeCixbql_c&feature=youtu.be

    • beeseeker says:

      Thanks for the link, for which many thanks.
      I am always interested but never usually find out what emotions, thoughts, feelings are stirred by what I write and post so thanks for taking the time to add this.
      I lost a good, quiet but strong and reliable friend last year. There was a truly tragic accident at the fireworks shop he had gone to, to buy fireworks for our annual Guy Fawkes night celebrations and he died in the fire/explosion.
      At our bonfire this year I could imagine he was there, mistaking sometimes the shapes in the dark for him – though my brain registers that he is dead.
      But maybe there were others too, I thought: my grandparents, local farmers, and the piece was born from these snatched fragments … but it means to the reader whatever the reader sees in it.
      Once it floats out on the ether seas it takes on a life of its own. (At least I hope it does ;-D)

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