There’s a ghost in our apartment, I would insist, even when my housemates so persistently shrug their shoulders hearing hard-hitting footsteps up and down the stairs in any time of day. “It’s just the neighbors,” they believe, or otherwise wish to believe, despite the fact that, in this neighborhood, the houses are considerably parted, and for crying out loud just who the hell you think would play tag to and fro the stairs, especially at 2 am? I swear, sit on one of the panels and you could feel it tremble as if indeed somebody is stepping on it.
This is a run-down ancestral house, and, truth is, before we moved in, the two-story building was up for demolition. The ground floor is bald of furniture, and upstairs it is really sinister, one that feels heavy with emotions and looks as if it was a venue of some demonic rituals. Translate these emotions into words and they would mean they want us out of there, so, needless to say, we’re all sleeping squeezed on quilts we lay under the stairs which, I believe, is most haunted.
It’s a feat my housemates can manage to just sleep it off, so that I would almost always lie awake alone at night, body tucked in bedsheet with no inch of skin left bare. The footsteps would persist, but I would stay still because I am afraid a little movement may cause a gap through which I would see Linda Blair at our bedside craning her neck.
If I really get hard up, I would divert. I would beep friends on Facebook and ask if they wanted to hear a joke. I would send the same question in random, even to “friends” I had yet to meet. Once, I sent a message to someone whom I later discovered had died just a few months ago, her wall sprawled with all manners of testimonials by friends about the place she used to frequent, games they used to play and jokes she used to crack. I hastily turned off my Internet connection before she could reply.
Sweaty albeit all my bodily hair standing on end, I put on my headphones. Frank Sinatra was on the radio: “In the wee small hours of the morning,” he mooned. His voice was full of body, full of soul, it was as if I was there among the standing-room only audience it made me distracted and forget, so that, before I could even remember that Sinatra died in 1998, I was two hours into listening to the dead.