19.7.11 | By: Megan Langham

At Night The Ghosts Come

I apologize for my recent lack of posts. Lately I just haven't felt like posting at all, or indeed doing anything that requires concentration (which unfortunately rules out a lot of life). Last night I scribbled something that might go a little way towards explaining why. Or then again it might not. It might mean nothing (I was under the influence of green tea while I wrote it, after all). But I won't attempt to decide that—I’ll leave the interpretation to you.

Darkness engulfs me like a funeral shroud, like a blanket of starless midnight. Strong perfume smothers me, sensual, scarlet. I struggle against it: half-hearted at first and then more wildly as the horror presses in upon me.

“It’s only a dream,” comes the reassuring whisper, myself to myself, primal and certain. “Only a dream. Only a dream. A dream.”

And then as I pass from sleeping to waking I see the darkness begin to lift, and lighten, and condense into the form of an ink-wet pen.


The sun is shining faintly through the oak leaves, casting dappled patterns on the trimmed soft lawn where my sister and I sit, discussing the folly of the world in love.

“I think it’s sweet,” my sister says, a faint line of uncertainty appearing between her brows in spite of her straightforward tone. “To have one friend you can go to for anything, someone who’s always kind to you—don’t you think that’s almost a necessity of life?”

“Life is self-defeating, then,” I answer with a short laugh, sharp in my throat. “Such a friendship may be sweet, but it’s also devastating. You can’t pin all your hopes on one person—it’s like—like putting all your eggs in one basket. The enterprise is doomed to fail. And when it does...such unimaginable pain!”

“There is that,” my sister agrees, still with the little careful frown. “Doesn’t it seem, though, that the people who love the most are the happiest? I mean—I know there’s pain. One can’t overlook the pain. But—well—” Her voice had grown almost inaudible. “Wouldn’t the pain be worth it, in the end, if you really did love the person and you had all that happy time with them to remember?”

“ ‘Memories cannot keep a man warm’,” I quote, staring deep into a daisy. “The memories are pain, don’t you know; and the more richly you have loved, the deeper your pain will be. Just think, think for a moment about strong, solid, soul-binding friendship. Can’t you see the foolishness inherent in it? To give up your heart like that, to lay yourself bare and quivering against grief’s cold blade, to welcome into your soul the daily ache of stifled longing...that’s not only foolish, it’s downright suicidal.”

My sister sits for a moment in silence, tearing bits from an oak leaf. Then she begins, choosing her words with careful hesitation: “I’m sure you must be right. You put it so cleverly, and I’m not very clever. All the same—well, what I mean to say is—we’ve all got to die sometime. And if it’s suicide, as you say, to love—then don’t you think one might as well die by loving as any other way? I mean—oh, never mind, I’ve put it all wrong—”

“No,” I whisper, as the sun touches my soul; and then, more clearly, “No, sister. You’ve got a much firmer grasp on the truth than I have, even if there’s more to what you say than you know. Perhaps one can be too careful of one’s heart. He who seeks to save his life will lose it, after all...”

A crow lands on the oak beside me, his beady eyes rudely inquisitive and his feathers so glossy black they could have been soaked in ink.


My tears are dripping steadily into my cup.

Rain slides along the window, heavy and cold. I would say that my heart feels heavy and cold, but that’s unduly dramatic.

And that’s unconvincing. Outside the clouds are raining; why should my eyes follow suit?

Well, why shouldn’t they?

I hadn’t thought of that. There must be a perfectly legitimate reason for my emotions to mimic the weather. A thousand reasons, perhaps.

At any rate I’ve ruined my tea.

Speak, O voice of reason. Tell me what my heart has missed.

Light. I need some light in this room. No wonder I’m depressed. No wonder I can’t seem to get anything done. It’s so dark all the time.

Oh, it is so dark all the time.

I need more tea. Light, and more tea, and then I should be able to think. Or maybe I won’t think. Maybe I’ll read. Maybe I’ll sleep. Maybe I’ll dream of darkness that stifles, and black birds that terrify, and ink spilling all over my bedsheets.

And then, of course, I’ll wake.

That’s what I need. Why didn’t I see it before?

I need a new day.

6 missives:

Jenny said...

You can't say things like "Oh, that was so inspiring. Thank you!" to things like this. At basic, it is well-written, though. At not so basic...I'm trying to write something for you - a kind of reply, if you like, though it might fly wildly far of the mark and mean nothing in the end. But I'm trying.

I love you.

Keaghan said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Jenny.

Anything I try to write in response to your words pales and seems trite.

Awe-inspiring and soul-touching. Beautiful, desperate, vivid, and oh so intimate. Close to home.

Thank you *so much* for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Megan. I echo Keaghan exactly. And Jenny has, of course, also hit it right on the mark.

You are a blessed, blessed friend, you know. A blessed, beautiful girl. To bare your heart like this, to let such feeling out like this -- there can be no shame in that. And I thank you for it.

Thank you, Megan.

Ajnos said...


That's about the best I can say. Except to add that I read your post and it was beautifully written, and that I pray the Lord will bring you light and comfort and answers.

Lots of love
Ajjie >'.'<

Megan L. said...

Jenny - I love you. And I'm sending you a proper reply in a moment.

Keaghan - Oh, no, thank you for reading this. Even in just getting one's feelings on paper there's a sense of relief and release, but when someone else sees and understands -- that is a comforting, comforting thing.

Katie - You are a darling. I am so glad of your loyal friendship -- undeserving, and glad. Thank you for being you. ^.^

Ajjie - Your prayers are the best blessing you could give me. And snugs. Snuffly hedgehog snugs... ^.^ Thank you so much.

Lilly said...

I guess I don't have much to say. (how many years have I lived in the current town without a friend (in the same town) I could really feel that they were true friend and not nice acquaintance?)and yet it was all so wise and scholarly crafted...perhaps I've missed the point completely.

So this is just to say I will pray as best and as often as I can. You're a dear friend to me. *BunnyHugs*

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