When I was very young, and quite tangibly frightened by the idea of blackened orange night, and what it allowed, and of witches on sticks, and of cackling garden bushes and the caped man we had seen from my bedroom window stalking the distant graveyard, and the breath we had heard in the unoccupied room at our grandmother’s house, we had taken part for the first time in my life, and this remains the only time, in pumpkin carving. My friend’s mother had bought the pumpkins, and was in fact carving for the first time herself, as was our own mother, and she brought them in and chopped the tops off for us and we helped pull out the innards which smelled very fresh and farmy. Our mothers, as we did this, talked about a small bit they had seen in the local newspaper that had come through the door. The piece was written about a particular grave in the town. If somebody walked, the piece said, three times around the grave, saying a particular phrase, they would loose the ghost of the man in the ground.
I remember the room, as it was, then, such a very long time ago, how it had been laid out, and who had been there, and the way the pumpkins had looked, and the papers laid out beneath them, and the page of the paper which had on it the ghostly instructions, and I remember the graveyard; I remember precisely which graveyard, for I had seen a few, that I had pictured in my mind when our mothers spoke about this grave, and where I imagined it was positioned respective of the road, fence, church, trees.
I wanted our mothers to take us all to the graveyard, that night, so that we could ring around the grave by dark and hear the man’s ghost knock upon the lid of his bed. My mother said maybe, and then she said no, which was a terrific relief, for I very much did not want to ring around that grave and listen to the ghost. My mother solved the contrary storm of thoughts for me, and so I would be able to continue life in the comfortable restless in between, not to be thrilled, terrified, excited, sleepless, nor to be dejected or broken hearted.
So we did not go, and, so, in the end, I never saw the grave. Yet I can easily recall the very yard and stone I flew to by mind as we sat in the daylit living room pulling thready flesh out of pumpkins.
I Wish in October (4)