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  • The Unquiet Dead September 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite , trackback

    the unquiet dead

    The unquiet dead. One put his head on a railway line and was decapitated by an obliging train. One was stabbed between twenty and thirty times by her ex boyfriend. The third was drowned in a canoeing accident late one night. These three incidents are the closest that Beach has come to violent death.

    Happily none were close friends. In truth, they were barely acquaintances. They were people who, under normal circumstances, would have been lost to life and to memory as we are shunted away from each other by marriage, kids and work. Instead, each one of these have been immortalized by the manner in which their lives ended.

    None were bad. Their deaths cannot be put down to poetic justice. There was no cosmic joke: the deaths were too horrid for that. The result is that these incomplete men and women walk around and around the edge of Beach’s life, with the wraiths of unborn children and perished pets.

    The three flash up into memory when he lies in bed at night. They swim into his vision when he’s on a bus or in a line. They are easy to blink away, but they are persistent and return. When things are going incredibly well (and sometimes when things are going badly) they make their presence felt. They are never at the moment of death, but as they were at their very best, when they had most life in them: walking across a courtyard; stealing a cake (really); rolling a twenty-sided dice…

    Beach thinks of them far more than he did when he actually knew them. He thinks of them more than he does many now lost friends who were once dearly loved. Why? Presumably that constant, tiresome human trait of making each other into symbols: simple letters in the life language we spastically write in the sand.

    Ghosts are not those who have left something unfinished. They are those who are unfinished in ourselves. They are the ones we were never able to punctuate out of our lives with a satisfying exclamation mark, period or ellipsis. Think, if you care to, of the deliberately broken mortuary columns over the graves of children in Victorian cemeteries.

    Violent death, violent memories: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com