Between the Lines

The Specter of History

There are ghosts in this house.  Yes, more than one, I think.  Of course, I don’t believe in ghosts—except that I can hear them.

Every house emits noises, especially late at night.  Or, perhaps, it speaks during the daylight hours, only to be drowned out by the drone of traffic, lawn mowers, barking dogs, and telephones.  In any case, either I have raccoons in the attic or something else is knocking about the kitchen late at night—and during the day.  Is it the refrigerator, one of those newfangled stainless-steel jobs with an icemaker and an electronic control system that looks like something off an old Star Trek set?  It makes noises—but then there’s that knocking sound, like someone with a cane, tap, tap, tapping in the restless night.

Of course I don’t believe in ghosts, but then there’s the low undertone of voices that might only be the wind, or the house breathing.  Yet at times it sounds like the echo of conversations best forgotten, held, I imagine, under this very roof.  The low murmur rises and falls, occasionally erupting in a cry of . . . anger?  Pain?  More like surprise.

There’s that knocking again . . .

My side gate wails.  No matter how much I oil the hinge, it continues to moan...

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