That’s when I find the old novella draft from Lin. Another one unfinished. I kept it because she allowed me to keep it, when I was afraid she’d throw it out. She would have. Then it was with my mum for a long time, until she dropped most of my archived stuff here last year. Fair enough. I threw out a lot back then. But I kept this and then forgot.
Maybe part of me wanted to remember it now, because suddenly it dawned on me – that it existed. But I was afraid that I might have thrown it out. I searched and then I found out that Michael had taken it, because it was – somehow, inexplicably – in the bag with old paper to be reused. A lot of fine crayons 8-year old style on both back and front of the dot matrix-printed story.
So now you are expecting me to say that the story helped me. That grace or something like that made me think of it and find it. That’s not so. As a matter of fact I’ve got so few things left from Lin – even photos – that I obsess about the ones I do have. And even this one, precious as I said it was, did not avoid to come close to extinction in the mess that is my life and my house.
But I saved it. In truth, I thought about it all the way from Vegas. But it was a secret thought – the one I kept pushing away, because I didn’t want to feel it all again. I didn’t want to think of Lin lying in that pool …
In the story a girl loses her sister who falls into another dimension. What kind of dimension? I don’t know. Another.
But the girl learns to live with it. She keeps the emptiness of the loss inside her, carrying it with her, instead of shunning it or trying to heal it or transcend it. Just letting it be.
Lin didn’t like that. She wanted an ending but couldn’t think of one. She wanted the girl to kill herself or get married to some guy she didn’t like or become a prostitute, but I forbade it. I said she should stop or give the story to me, and not make it ugly or throw it out. And Lin just shook her head and looked at me like she was both sad about how I could be so naive and loved me endlessly for having said this to her, and tried to stop her – like a child trying to stop parents from throwing out a beloved but moth-eaten piece of cloth.
And the snow was falling over Columbus that evening, and from the windows of our coed apartment there was nothing to see but white and then dark over the white and then more white in the starts. All of that mixed with the smells from the pizzeria down on the 1st floor, and the guilty conscience about assignments that were much, much too late and the warmth of good company and not caring and another glass of wine.
17 years ago.
I read the unfinished story again. Lin called it “Ghost”, but she didn’t know what else to call it. Like the ending she couldn’t find another title. Just like her dreams of ever becoming a writer. She never finished any of it. She couldn’t. For some reason.
And then the drugs came. And creepy Mister Zohar who taught philosophy and so much more. And much more Bad Company. For both of us …
Then I get another obsession. Finish the story.
But I can’t. I was never a writer, as such. Only kind of a storyteller, I guess. I can tell you lots of crazy stuff, but I can’t really write it down myself. Make it sound good.
I can draw, but that’s not enough.
Still … I think about the story and the missing ending. I think and think. While doing the beds and cooking and prepping the kids for school.
I don’t come up with an ending. I am no good at writing.
At least I don’t take drugs anymore for all the things I am no good at.
I don’t even know why I have to obsess about this. Is it to lure me away from obsessing about the ghost Lin in the ghost universe? Trade one obsession for another?