So it was only a matter of time before I got racially profiled in Paris
Kelsey and I were at Gare de Nord, a train station in Paris, when a group of cops came up to us and asked if I could be searched. I said okay. They asked for a passport but all I had was my student ID. After repeating that I had no drugs or knives and that I was indeed a student, they let me go. They didn’t bother Kelsey at all. This may be the first of many happenings.
I’ve decided to post an old story I wrote. I wrote it senior year of high school in my creative writing class. I’m sure some of you who were in that class remember the “song story” assignment. For those of you who are unaware, the assignment was to pick a song, analyze its meaning, and incorporate its lyrics and meaning into a story. The song I chose was Basement Ghost Singing by Armor For Sleep. And this is the story I wrote for it, unedited (except for grammar, but I may have missed something).
When some men are interested in a woman, they try to impress her with actions that make them stand out as a person. They try to be heard, the try to be noticed, they try to be seen. But some men, like me, can’t be heard, can’t be noticed, and can’t be seen. We have a harder time finding love.
It’s hard to gain someone’s attention when you can’t be heard, seen, or noticed by any tangible being. It’s even harder when someone who’s dead tries to attract one who’s living. I hope you understand that.
I don’t think you do. I’ve sung to you every chance I can get, hoping you can hear me. I bet it’s hard to hear from your basement up to your room. Whenever I hear your footsteps move the floorboards above my head, I try to get your attention with my voice. I always hope you know that I’m down here just for you.
Maybe I’m just crazy; maybe I’m out of my mind. I remember not caring about whom it was that took over my house, my basement. I liked it when it was empty and dusty and full of thinking space. But once a decrepit woman placed one solitary box in the basement after months of emptiness, I knew the house had been sold. I didn’t care about who moved in; this god-damned town didn’t need more retired couples crowding the streets. One thing I didn’t know, however, was that you had moved in with them. I never knew they were your grandparents, your guardians, and not your parents. Like my family, you went through the pain of loss. It took me a while to find out what happened to your parents. Listening in on your grandparents wasn’t easy.
I didn’t even know you existed until you came into my domain. I still don’t know what you were looking for, but that doesn’t matter. I had found what I’d been looking for all of my afterlife. I simply watched you from the corner, knowing you would not notice me. I couldn’t believe that you’d already moved back here only a few years after leaving. Silently, I was hoping that you’d remember me in some way and remember what happened to me.
It was then I started. It was just a hum at first, but then my voice started to sing to you. I sung anything that I could think of, any songs that we listened to when you were here or any songs I had written for you. But you didn’t notice; you just went back upstairs to your life.
But I try to reach you; I try to get you to notice me, although I know you won’t listen. I’m still here in your basement, but I’m laying low to keep out of your way. No matter how much I want to communicate with you, I still don’t want to interfere with your life. I try to have my own routine now, to keep busy in my own way. But that’s almost impossible. I’m always plagued with your footsteps catching my attention and hypnotizing me. I wonder what you’re doing, and it kills me not to know. Are you on the phone? Are you on the computer? Do you have friends over? Are you sad? Are you happy? Do you need someone near you?
It gets pretty boring down here when you’re not home. I know you have school during the day, the only time when I get light in my basement. But when you leave during the night, when the basement is dim, I don’t know where you are and I’m still singing, hoping you can hear me.
I know that I’m going to be down here forever; there’s no point in convincing myself otherwise. But I’ve learned ways to not feel that way. Mindless repetitive tasks like counting the creaks of the pipes, counting the exposed studs on the wall, counting the cars that I can faintly hear drive by, and counting how long I can go without thinking of the past always help. Whenever you come home from wherever you go, I stop counting and listen to your feet against the floor. I follow the sound of the floorboards to the stairs and then to your room. Again I wonder what you could be doing in there. I start to wonder why you don’t come to the basement, but then I see the exposed studs, the dust, the insulation peeking from the wall, the time. All these things affect you unlike they affect me.
Time makes you move from one place to another; it makes you sleep, it makes you walk, it makes you speak, it makes you accomplish things, it makes you learn, it lets you heal. I can’t feel time for my time has ended. I can’t sleep, I can’t speak directly, I can’t accomplish things, and I can’t heal any of my wounds. The only two things I can do are sing and love.
But now, now I hear you walking up your stairs, the floor above me panting with distress. There has been a lot of creaking and moving of furniture that I didn’t understand. Was your family remodeling? I wasn’t sure. I listen to you make your way up to your room, but I don’t hear the distress your bed puts on the floor above me. I begin to sing anyway. I keep singing a song to you through the floor, to reach you upstairs. I stop in a fit of sadness, thinking about how pathetic I must be. A ghost in love with a human? I may not be able to speak, sleep, eat, or accomplish anything, but that is not the cause of my curse. I can’t cry, so I make the only faint noises I can to express my sadness.
My noises continue until I hear a faint sound not from me. I listen closer and hear it again. You are trying to say something to me, I’m sure of it. I think I hear you calling out for more. I know that’s crazy, but hope begins to fill me.
But nothing happens. I listen deeply and nothing happens. It’s not like I can’t believe it, but I was hopeful. I’m pretty sure I’m lost now. I don’t know what to do. I’m pretty sure I can’t get through. I’m pretty sure I won’t get through.
I wait until I hear the door to the basement open. Why would anybody come down here? There was nothing here except for one box full of stuff I never dared to look into. Someone’s coming down the stairs; the stairs creak. I hide in the corner and wait. I see you emerge from the staircase, looking around the dusty and empty room. You walk over to the box, pick it up, turn around, and walk out.
That was the last I ever saw of you, I’m sure. I didn’t get exactly what happened until I added everything up: the sliding of the furniture, the infrequent visits to your room, you not plopping onto your bed, and the sole box leaving my basement. I didn’t want to believe that you were gone again. One year in a house is not enough, and forever is too long.
As soon as those lights went off, I was completely lost again. It was as if nobody was here at all.
All I want to see is good writing, good photography, and good architecture. I guess I need to follow more people and maybe unfollow some people. Or just quit spending time on tumblr because I don’t feel fulfilled after spending an hour scrolling down endlessly. God forbid I go make friends or something :P
I know it’s not a huge deal, but this new influx of followers (about 2 or 3) has made me happy. This almost makes me feel obligated to update this more often. Once I get internet in my apartment, I’ll probably waste more time on here than I should. Oh well, it’ll be cleansing. I have been journaling almost every night. Perhaps I will post tidbits of what I’ve been experiencing in the past couple of weeks. Little things are changing everyday and I feel like an infant, absorbing so much information and learning to much it’s almost blinding. Thank God we can all step back, take a breath, and organize our thoughts. That is probably what I will do tonight.