She had said – what exactly? Something about her ghostly heart. Such strange, interesting words. A ghost heart. What does it mean to have a ghost heart he wondered? A ghostly ghost heart. Something you might hear in an old folk song.
“Oh, my heart, my poor murdered heart,
Why won’t you die, my haunted ghost heart?”
He began to wonder at her with his grey unblinking eyes. And his wondering was an inexhaustible conversation that ran to the very horizon of himself, winding deep and long to the disappeared edge of his being.
We can never know what it is that happens to people can we? What really happens, I mean. In the heart? Each one of us is a boundless mystery. Even to ourselves. Infinite like the endless sea. The deep dark sea upon which floats the great wide world. We sail along the surface of these limitless depths toward an everlasting horizon that we never meet. And the edge we see at sight’s end is just an illusion; there is no edge at all.
And who knows themselves, really? Can anyone tell what it is, to be? Can any person lay it on the table for any other? Even for themselves?
Can Existence ever explain itself to Non-Existence?
You just don’t get it, Existence would say, shaking his wearied head. Even you have it in a special sort of way – albeit an inscrutable, impenetrable, inexplicable way. For it is from you that I have become, that I am becoming, and to you that I will return.
His thoughts came in crashing waves like a rough and restless river threatening to spill out and over the bank of his mind, desperate to find the great tranquil sea. A secret sea that these waters had never known. Or perhaps only known once – long, long ago. Before the memory was.
But it is not Non-Existence that I am becoming, he continued. Things aren’t always what they seem. Even this horizon is just an illusion. Do we ever reach the edge? Or is there always more on the other side?
“Sometimes he thought, wherefore? And sometimes he thought, inasmuch as which? And sometimes he didn’t quite know what he was thinking about.”
She said she had a ghost heart. She sounded like a folk song.
Whatever it meant, he knew that life and death were part of it and whatever it was, this life-after-death ghostly thing – it lived inside of her. And he began to fear that it was inside of him, too. He looked at the girl and thought, yes, it is there, something is there. He could see it in her eyes, whatever it was.
He always knew that the pain would come. Someday. Isn’t that what the books had said? The books he had been reading since he was a boy? Books about the pain and suffering of this world and the heroic endurance of it all. Books about things he did not know, but things that were sure to come.
She sounded like a folk song. And what about those folk songs? Didn’t they also speak of what would come? People growing old. People dying. Hearts being murdered. Hearts that wouldn’t die.
Surely this world draws its share of blood from each of us. And he knew that one day he would have to add his drop to the endless eternal sea. The blood red sea rising and falling beneath the inexhaustible blazing sun.
There is more suffering in this world than you can imagine, friend. More in this little town, even. More loss sustained by one single ghostly ghost heart than even the great wide world can bear. One day he would know this all too well. One day he would have a ghost heart of his own. And that day, he thought, would be like meeting an old friend from long, long ago. Before the memory was.
That was something else he had read, in another book. There were songs for that too, he thought.
“Oh, my heart, my everlasting heart,
You cannot kill my holy ghost heart.”