I was talking to my nephew the other day. He called me from the jail phone, he’s locked up and awaiting trial. This kid has had a rough life. His dad died when he was eleven. He actually saw the whole thing happen. He saw his dad, my brother, slump over and stop breathing. It was a drug overdose. My nephew was actually the one who called 911.
We were talking about his dad, and then we started talking about his grampa, my dad. We lost him when he was 71. That was in 2003, five years after my brother died. As we were describing memories and describing how much we missed these two guys, I realized that I was fidgeting with this gift that I had given to my dad. When Daddy died and we were going through my his things, my sisters said I should take this multi-tool that I had given to him for one of his birthdays. I was sitting there messing with it while my nephew and I talked, unfolding the file, the blade, the little screwdriver…opening and closing the pliers.
Conversations with my nephew from the jail only last fifteen minutes, that’s the jail policy. The conversations are cut short brutally. I mean, you get a one-minute warning near the end, but the conversation really flows fast at the end — you’re trying to get all this other needed stuff in. My nephew did manage to say ‘I love you’ before the call ended this time. I told him I love him too.
The next morning I wrote my nephew a letter, and I told him about a dream I had after I went to sleep after our conversation. My dad was in the dream. It was one of my recurring dreams where my teeth start to break apart in big chunks. In the dream, a bunch of family members were arriving for a reunion or something. I showed my dad my teeth and he freaked out.
After I finished with the letter, I got to work. A coworker sent me a really odd email. She expressed her condolences, because she thought she had just seen on facebook that my dad had died in the last couple of days. It turned out to be a big mixup, it was somebody else with my first name who used to work there.
I might have partial belief in ghosts. I have often felt feelings that made me suspect that my dad or my brother or my mom were around. I don’t know what these feelings are. I don’t know what this belief is. I mean, what is a belief in ghosts anyway. What is belief? Is belief something having to do with logical deductions? Does it have to do with gut instincts, more like blind faith? I think I kind of do believe in ghosts. Everybody you talk to has ghost story. A lot of ghost stories seem like cheap and goofy and sorta-scary attempts at grabbing some kicks, and I hate to categorize the ‘visitations’ I experience in that way.