When someone loses a spouse–one they like–invariably the subject of an afterlife sprouts. It’s natural. It’s difficult to think of loved ones, worms crawling in and out their noses for all time, am I right? Thoughts like, where are they now? Do they watch us? Are they with us? We yearn for some sort of connection. How could we have been so deeply attached and then poof, gone, nothing, nada, zilch. The Norwegian believed in nothing he could not see; ghosts falling firmly into that category. The so-called other side was nonexistent for him. I pay the price. I get no ghost.
My best girls and I explore. Does he visit? Do I feel him? Have I seen him? Any weird happenings–candles flickering, apparitions, chairs moving in the night, things floating about? Ever notice ghosts don’t do really cool things–like leave beautifully wrapped presents around the house; just a pretty little box tied with a simple bow encasing a new strand of pearls. Or buy new dresses or cut the lawn or fill the car with gas or pay the rent? They always do shitty stuff; some kind of cosmic payback from the great beyond. “I’ll get you my pretty. I’ll scare the hell out of you!” Asshats.
Me, I’ll believe just about anything. You saw a ghost? Okay. You feel the presence of your grandpa? Who am I to disagree? I have no aversion to being the batshit neighbor who talks to her dead husband and has eighty five cats. We had an agreement he stay alive so I would not become the crazy cat lady. Fail Norwegian. So very gullible am I that frightening things must be exorcised from my brain immediately. If not, the result is covers over my head with a peek out spot, barely breathing, body parts securely tucked in, sweating profusely, baseball bat sharing my bed and a recording of a doberman at the ready. A fat lotta good any of that will do with a ghost. The Norwegian’s ghost would not frighten me–I don’t think.
I admit, many times, to wondering if he’s hanging out around the house or the office or the car or the closet. He’d be stoked about my closet. Without his stuff murking the waters, I have a closet one step from the one designed for Carrie by Mr. Big or Nate Berkus’ concoction for Oprah. Clothes hang in glorious sections–dresses, blouses, jackets, pants, outerwear, casual dresses, formal dresses. Shoes, my true love, nestle in clear plastic boxes arranged by color, heel height and print. Multi colored shoes–leopard, houndstooth, gingham (yes, dear there is such a thing–you really must hang out at DSW more often)–have a section all their own. Dresses, blouses and jackets are further divided as to sleeve length: none, short, elbow, medium and long followed by long with cuff. Color arrangement moves from lightest hues; white to black. Scarves and sweaters fill open shelves on constant display making for ease of accessorization. Handbags, including the Francie, Black Bucket, Bomber, Navy and White Stunner and Houndstooth Cutie, arrange themselves by color, light to dark and fabric–wool to squishy leather.
This potpourri of carnal ecstasy was impossible in the manse shared with The Norwegian. Of all the niceties the home boasted, a voluminous walk in wardrobe was not amongst them. A man designed that house; a single, straight man. The kind of man that dons only construction clothes and two pairs of shoes designed that house. A gay man, a gigolo (as in Gere in American, circa 1980) and, even a businessman like The Norwegian would find the quarters confining. There was barely room for his collection of crisply pressed white shirts, five thousand ties and coterie of Armani suits. Yum. This left little room for my things to spread their delicate wings and breathe properly.
When Baby Chicken and I began our search for a rental home, I did not envision a sigh-inducing closet but lo and behold that’s what presented itself. That, and a party worthy bathtub. Bonus! Perhaps because my things are so at home in new environs, The Norwegian’s ghost feels out of place. I got gypped when it comes to my ghost.
I spoke with The Norwegian’s mother not long ago. She recounted a particularly difficult time. She says The Norwegian visited her and told her all would be well and she should not worry. I love that he offered her comfort. On the other hand–do you think it’s been easy-peasey for me buddy? Do you think I might not appreciate a little late night pep talk? Perhaps he’s afraid. No one knows first hand the wrath of my temper more intimately–I can go from lady to batshit in about twenty seconds–than he. And Lord knows the man’s got some ‘splainin to do
Chickens believe he shows himself in myriad ways; the fact that our lives are going well and we are moving forward. Gracious of those barely out of their teens not facing a life of no sex, no date for the prom and a lifetime of singleton dinners. Or calls from the IRS. So where is my ghost? The Norwegian and I were inseparable for 27 years–where the hell is my ghost?
I look high and low. I ask for signs. I’m considering paying some weird psychic type to convince me he’s lurking right beside me all the time; I am just too focused on survival to see. There’s also the possibility that an appearance might prompt me to punch him in the face. The monthly newsletters from the mortuary and the church, designed to coach me through grief, say anger is normal and necessary to move forward. Angry? Pfft. Try furious, boiling, enraged, livid, demented, irrational, rabid, vicious, incensed, manic and violent. Oh my–don’t we all feel a bit better now?
No wonder the poor man’s hiding. Would you make a visit to the crazy? Not me. Besides, there’s no room in the closet for all his shit.