Objects’ Spirit

I often wonder whether or not inanimate objects have spirits of their own. Oh, I know it sounds absolutely crazy, but stay with me for a moment.

Haven’t you ever felt close to something that was just… well, a thing? A favorite mug, perhaps, or a painting that moved you. Maybe a childhood toy or stuffed-animal or a piece of jewelry or even the first car that you called your own. Of course, stuff is just stuff. We all know this. There’s no argument that if we had to choose between saving our friends and family from a fire or saving our things, we would choose the people in our lives over the mere objects that we’ve accumulated.

And yet, I always feel that the mere act of possessing something and appreciating it instills a kind of life in it. I find myself talking to my computer at times – sometimes aloud, sometimes only in my head. I know that I could never get rid of Beary-Bear or Twinkle, my favorite teddy-bears. I know that the bowl in which I pour my Quaker Squares in the morning seems to greet me cheerfully in the mornings when I dip my spoon into it.

What if objects actually did have some sort of life or spirit to them? What if they whispered amongst themselves when we went to sleep, chatting about how we used them during the day; complaining when we were unkind or rough or when they were ignored. What if they appreciated our attention or loathed it? What if our refrigerators were in love with our stoves?

Well, maybe they do have a life of their own. Maybe they do communicate. It would sure explain how when one appliance breaks, everything else seems to follow it in breaking. It would explain why some objects charm us and make us love them while some make us put them way back in the shelf or never buy them in the first place. It would explain that bizarre feeling when we get up to use the toilet at four in the morning and feel as if someone’s just stopped talking when we woke up.

Ah, the things one thinks about at midnight…

Maggie

Maggie’s face was compassionate as she looked at the girl sitting across from her on the plastic chair that’s universal to every doctor’s office. Her face crinkled in a slightly pained smile as the girl spoke. She noticed a glimmer of tears in the girl’s eyes and felt wetness begin to form in her own. She spoke in a soft voice that quivered with emotion and tried to convince the girl that her words were true.

Maggie’s hair was black and short, girlishly cut in a way that framed her bespectacled face nicely. She had the lines of wisdom on her face, testimony to a lifetime of experiences, both good and bad. She couldn’t help herself – when the girl rose to go, she clasped her hand for a moment, looked at her intently and beseeched her to come back if she needed anything.

The girl, Maggie knew, wouldn’t have it easy. There was no way that the following days would be easy, and Maggie knew with even more assurance that the coming months and years wouldn’t be easy too. Still, she thought she saw an echo of her own will to survive in the girl’s eyes, a small glimmer of the fighter buried in her. Maggie hoped she would be okay.

As the girl left the office, Maggie sat down heavily in the cheap swiveling chair in front of the tiny desk, barely large enough to hold the computer screen and the keyboard. A moment later, a curly woman with heavily made up eyes and bright red lipstick poked her head around the door, which had been left ajar.

“Ready for your next client, Maggie?” she asked, in a harsh, bored voice. Maggie raised her head, sighed, and nodded, taking the chart the woman was proffering at her. She gather her emotions and put a smile back on her face. As another girl walked through the door, she became all business again.

“Yes,” she said. “How can I help you?”

Forever Graveyard

In the silence of the night, the spirits emerged.

Some of the spirits were elderly men and women, and they simply sat upon their graves, unmoving. They’d had a lifetime of movement and felt they’d earned their eternal rest. Others, the younger spirits mostly, frisked about, dancing and playing with the shadows and with each other. Ghostly mothers held onto equally ghostly babies, and ghostly fathers held the hands of young and ghostly children. Some families reunited, as they did every night, at one of the picnic tables in a far corner or between the trees amidst the graves. Some old lovers replayed their quarrels and affairs, frowning and smiling accordingly.

All in perfect silence. Someone walking outside the graveyard wall wouldn’t have heard a thing besides the rustle of the leaves in the wind or the scurry of a squirrel across the grass. If someone were to look over the wall, however, things would have been different.

It was very fortunate, the spirits of the graveyard agreed again and again, that there was a wall built around this particular graveyard. It was much too high for anyone to be able to peer in, and it had no easy footholds for a determined climber to take advantage of. The few who had managed to look over – by bringing a ladder, or by standing on someone’s shoulders, say – had been in such shock that they’d either never spoken of what they’d seen or had been carted off to a small padded room somewhere if they had spoken of it.

So the spirits of the graveyard replayed their lives night after night, laughing at the same jokes and dancing the same dances, waiting for something to change. But it never did. They never got bored, though. Their concept of forever was no different than their concept of now.

The only noteworthy events were when new spirits joined the old, and when that happened it was a grand occasion for all. It made even the new spirits forget what a different, what a sad, party was being had for them the next day or the day after that.