“Of all escape mechanisms, death is the most efficient.” – Henry Ward Beecher
I try not to loathe the place that I am expected to call home. My own self-pity will not benefit anyone, certainly not me. But, try as I might, I can’t stand the new town. A little town in nowhere Virginia. Being the new person in a town this small means that my every move will be everyone’s business and it just adds to the list of things I’ll have to repeatedly explain. The main thing that will be on each person’s mind is who is this new guy? And there I will be, standing there, trying to explain the process of…
“Stop it!” I say it to no one in particular. We have been here nearly 2 weeks and I am still complaining. There is work that needs to be done and probably a few messes to clean up and all I am doing is standing around going, “Poor me”.
“Poor Nate in his nice big house, in his small town where he can start over. Poor Nate with his steady family and rich heritage. Poor Nate with his car and easily acquired friends. Poor, poor Nate.” I mutter, mocking my own self-pitying behavior. “Poor Nate. Life is not all that bad. After all, I could be dead.”
It is a fact that I know a little too well. The old, the young, females, males, the sickly, and those in good health; death comes to them all. It is the one thing in this world that is 100% unpredictable. Invited or not, it comes. For those that fear death, it is a most unwelcomed visitor who drains every ounce of energy that you have. For those that invite death, well, it accepts the invitation and leaves no room for a second thought.
I try not to loathe the place that I am expected to call home, but it is just like everywhere else. The only escape from death is death itself. Unfortunately, I do not like either of my alternatives. If dying is the only way to avoid death’s shadow, then I assume my life will always be clouded in darkness. Perhaps it isn’t the usual outlook on life. I chuckle, thinking that it certainly is not the outlook of the other guys in my classes, but as I stand in the graveyard that night, it seems to be the only outlook option I have.
I guess it is around that point when I see her. To anyone else, she may appear to have a firm grasp on the situation – to know exactly what she is doing. On second thought, to anyone else, she may appear crazed or mentally unstable. She is walking around a graveyard in the middle of the night, talking softly to an invisible man to her side. From where I am standing, it seemes possible that even she can not see the man beside her. She is not quite facing him as she speaks to him, but, instead, stands fixated on an empty spot directly in front of her. At the late hour, I can not be sure if she can not see him or if she just chooses to avoid directly looking at what is left of the man before her. Either way, I feel a stab of guilt when I find myself considering whether or not her presence is key to my escape from dealing with the dead.
“Healing yourself is connected with healing others.” – Yoko Ono
"Someone is already helping me," the woman in front of me says. I can barely see her in the dark of the night. The storm from earlier had blown out the electricity for this block.
"I don't understand," I tell the confused ghost. "What do you mean someone else is helping you?"
"A young man - quite handsome if I do say so myself," she says with a small laugh. "He came to me last night and offered to help me move on. At first I didn't understand what he was talking about, but after he explained it, I agreed to his help. I didn't realize that ghosts aren't supposed to stick around in our world. I thought I was doing right by watching over the ones I love."
"A young man?" I ask when she stops to take a breath. It seemed there was someone else in town helping.
"He was about your age, I believe," she says looking around. "He seemed to know what he was talking about - it was almost as though he'd done this before. He made some comment about it being his job - something he thought he could escape in a new town."
Someone my age. Someone new to town. It doesn't take me long to put together who it might be. The only question left is how to confront him without seeming like the crazy girl in town.
"I guess I'll let him help you then," I tell the woman politely before heading home to formulate a plan of how to confront Nathaniel Grave.