2010 Creative Writing Class: Ajarn Simon Wright
Midterm assignment: A short story from a ghost’s point of view
Across the YOUniverse
“Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
possessing and caressing me.
Jai guru deva om.
Nothing’s gonna change my world”
I sang at the top of my voice our favorite song as I lay dying, naked.
Nothing’s gonna change our world. Nothing.
The bird-shaped wooden clock he had made to mark “our first day in the life” when he
moved in five years ago was there with me in the tub. It tweeted five minutes to midnight.
The tick tock countdown synchronized with the tap water flow. The time ran out just when
the tide became too high. I could feel the presence of him standing stunned not knowing
what to rescue first, the clock or me. I could smell his sentimental guilt in the streamer.
I could see the corpse of love reflecting in his miraculously gentle eyes. I could taste
the chlorine in my throat. It was real. Real enough.
I could sense him again at last.
It was not as suffering as I had expected it to be. The water was kind, understandable
but still hurtful just as his tears when he said “I never regret ever knowing and ever loving you.
I appreciated it all. But I had to leave for the sake of our independence. I couldn’t let only five
years deprive us of our lifelong possibilities” He was convinced there was the whole universe
for us to explore only that our love was in the way. With the language like that, I couldn’t dare
utter any pleas.
So here I am out of his way, his world, his universe. I’ve crossed them all.
Through the water as clear as a looking glass.
Away from The Ghost of Yesterdays
I’m dead, aren’t I? Those ghosts of yesterdays cannot haunt me anymore. I’m a ghost
myself. It feels unbelievably light like floating in the Dead Sea. What’s this state? What have
I become? What am I doing here? Where am I? I should have been sent straight to hell,
religiously speaking. Or I should be haunting people maybe places. I should be haunting him.
Wait a minute, I’m thinking! Does this mean I AM still exist? Philosophy 101. Enough.
I don’t die to keep thinking. The light. I need the light. Is this darkness I’m in. Where am I?
Where the hell is hell?
“Here is where the heart is missing.” speaks the nothingness.
“Ye, Bloody right! Tell me about it.” I swear.
“You have committed the unbearable crime. You are here to live its consequences”
“Crime and consequence? I just breathed in some water, what a big deal!
Wait a minute, I can hear you. What are you? ”
“Lovesick Suicide is the murder of Love and Independence”
Right after the holy sentence, springs from the origin of the mysterious voice among
the unidentified-color space a man in black with small round sunglasses. I know right away.
It’s John Lennon, the creator of my deadly lullaby. Young as he was on 8 December 1980,
he looks and dresses exactly like himself in my bedroom wallpaper. In his hand is a familiar
sizable black stick, a microphone maybe.
“John Lennon, you must be kidding! This death is a gift. Nice to meet you, John.
Go ahead, please! Lead me to whatever hell you dwell in.”
“I’m not who you think I am. I’m just a vision. Something you imagine.
For sinners like you, there’s no heaven, also no hell below us whatsoever.
Only this hollowness where you will live again and again”
“So you’re Buddhist, John. Come on take me with you
I’m dying to explore your new world, your universe.
Speaking of death, I even forgot how and why I came here.”
“Allow me to remind you then ”
My John Lennon, with his thumb on it, points the black object at me, grinning.
It is a remote control.
It has alien colors, the tunnel, not dull or bright white as claimed in convenient stores’
gothic novels. The clicking sound of the device echoes along the way. It feels like travelling
through the vacuum machine’s tube. I have no idea how long the passage takes since the clock
I hold on to is dead. Dead like me.
Wait a minute. The hands are trembling, both the clock’s and mine. We’re back to life,
aren’t we? I try to feel my hands on the clock to prove my reexistence but it’s gone. I am lost again.
Lost in time.
Suddenly, two familiar voices come together. The carved blackbird on the wall is singing.
I know right away it’s midnight. The one hard knock on the bathroom door. I know right away
it’s him. The room begins to appear corner by corner in such a same old familiar condition that
I feel like bathing. The clock, the door, the mirror and the tub are there, exactly at the same spots.
Something is floating in the tub, face down. I know right away it’s me. The swollen me.
The knock comes again one more time, harder.
Is he worrying? Is he just mad?
“I’m sorry, come out!
We can talk. We can work it out.
It’s a mistake.
You are my Universe.
I depend on you”
he declares in his neatly written verse style.
The sentences slap me in my dead face. This time it doesn’t sound too certain or too organized
as usual. I’m overwhelming. I don’t have the nerve to identify whether the feeling I engage in
is joy or sorrow. Mingle it is, too contradictory but I keep on absorbing it like Oxygen.
It smells a lot like love.
I, both the abstract being and the corpse, feel the need to breathe. As a newbie ghost, I think
I know what to do. Grudgingly, I approach the whole dampen piece of me trying to get in. But it’s
much less awkward when they do it in scary movies. The body is inaccessible. Maybe because
it’s too big for my spirit now. It’s swollen.
Out of the sudden, the click comes again from both the key and the remote control. As he
unlocks the door, the room gradually fades away. The last thing I see is his eyes. But it all
vanishes too fast. I don’t have enough time to discover the messages they contain.
Drops of desperation fall down to fill up the water in the tub.
Thank to John Lennon, I can still cry.
Everything becomes nothing again. The sight, the sound and the smell are here but aren’t here.
No words can describe such a circumstance since words themselves do not exist in this middle of
nowhere. The only thing that concretely remains is the abstract me with a wetty kind of feeling.
His declaration of dependence keeps playing like a nostalgic song on a broken radio. I try to
imagine his being at this very moment: broken with guilt he doesn’t deserve.
“I know what this is all about. It’s the punishment for my stupidity”
I yell at the invisible John Lennon.
“Not Stupidity, Selfishness. To yourself and to others. To Love and Independence.”
John corrects me.
“Acceptable. What now then? I’ve learn my lesson.
Am I sentenced to reconstruct the scene of my stupid selfishness for eternity?
I can do that. Serve me right”
you misunderstood the concept of perpetuity.
Life of love doesn’t stick with death.
He throws the remote control away.
To the same direction,
I am swallowed into the sinking hole that looks like a whirlpool in the bathtub.
A man and a woman of their late twenty are on their way home.
The man in his old overcoat, despite the rain all over his clothing ,
stops to buy the raincoat his girlfriend once mentioned about its perfect ripe yellow color.
The woman is holding the bags full of potatoes, her boyfriend’s favorite food’s ingredients.
The man hums
“It’s been a hard day night. I should be sleeping like a log
but when I get home to you I find the things that you do will make me feel alright”
A couple of their forty are sitting, leaning against each other, despite the burning sun
,in a nice little Japanese garden by a pound. The man is making a bird out of a piece of wood
for the anniversary while the woman is reading a novel for them both. The novel is titled
Enduring Love. The man hands her his hand and his last piece of chips after the woman asks
“Will you still need me? Will you still feed me when I’m sixty four?”
A couple of their sixty are at the Great Wall. The old man is helping his wife to get up
and look over the wall to see the endless astonishing landscape. They are exploring the world
with an excitement of a child. The woman says
“With love, we are two fools on the hill and I’m grateful for that.”
A dead couple of their eighty are resting together in a carved twin coffin, hands holding.
Their heads lean against each other’s. The smiles are peaceful. Despite the winter, the night air
is kindly warm. The choir of the funeral is singing
“Ob-la-di-ob-la-da life goes on, LaLa how the life goes on”
The men and the women all have the similar faces, gestures, and smiles. In fact, their eyes
and the way they look at each other are identical. Even the names are the same. Eddy and Nam.
Each Eddy is a crime scene photographer, a cyclist, a Tran-Atlantic ferry crew, and a wood craver.
Each Nam is a parody playwright, a pantomime actress, a backup singer, and a second-handed
record shop’s owner. Their homes are in Rayong, Galway,Calgary, and Suzhou.
Together they live, laugh, cry and sing.
Together they were, are and always will be.
Five minutes is the average length of a regular song. Five minutes is the possible longest
moment one can bear the flood filling their lungs. Consequently, she is dead. Drown in tears
of sorrow and joy. But it was one minute to midnight. A mistake despite her calculated plan.
One minute early death can give birth to plenty possibilities. Sixty years, three forth of the life
she gave up living, is drifting through her open mind, possessing and caressing her.
The Ghost of Tomorrows.
“What was that? A parallel universe? You’re cheating. .
They do not really exist. They’re just possibilities. Probability. Theory.
Those nice little things might or might not happen at all.
We may never know happiness until the day we eventually kill each other with
collective guilt and shames. I may end up far worse than drowning myself just now”
My insecurity explodes to the same old nothingness as soon as I can talk again.
“You may or you may not.
Eternal doubts are the price of being a quitter on love and life.
Do you mind a little quotation?”
John in the middle of blankness makes his point.
“Please John, do educate me”
“A very interesting Irish man once wrote
The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.”
The lecture accompanied with a certain tweet.
I know right away the midnight comes again.
I can hear him singing along, my John Lennon, my Eddy.
The more explicit the audio is, the more unbearable it becomes.
I finish the song for the first time, knowing it will never be the last.
“Limitless Undying Love
which shines around me like a million Sun.
They calls me on and on
Across the YOUniverse
Jai guru deva, om”