GHOST OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

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 SEIZE THE DAY

I awake in the phantom light of false morning, echoes of the dream fading fast. Beside me The Spouse is still blissfully in sweet repose and breathing the steady rhythms of the innocent, I know she won’t awaken for a while yet. I feel a benign envy. Even though as an insomaniac I’m grateful for what I’ve received—

“Aye, Lad. And so y’ should be.”

Oh no. It’s him—and in my bedroom too; is there no rest for the wicked, no privacy?

“Not when y’ should be on watch, Lad—”

Rubbish. I don’t go on watch until she wakes up, them’s the rules …

“And to what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Your  dream, Boy. Thought y’ might need a hand understanding it.”

Brief and to the point, I like that. Somewhere out there the day is dawning, in the growing pinks of morn I can make out his sou-wester against the curtains. Damn, if he keeps yapping like that he’ll wake her up—

“Not much chance of that happening—I’m a figment of your imagination, not hers.”

Phew. Disaster averted. So—?

“Missed opportunities, Boy. Your dream.”

Boy? Lad? I haven’t been called that for decades—

“And I haven’t been called it for centuries. But this is digression and you’re missing the poin—”

“Figment?”

“Okay then … I’m a kind of a ghost you know, a restless spirit locked and lost in Limbo until YOU get y’r act together. Think of me as some sort of pilot. A guide, if you wish—”

Oh no. Shades of Dickens and Disney both, he has to be last night’s roast pork—it was a bit rough—

“—and whither thou goest, so go I. A clue now for the dense amongst us: you were I, once.”

Oh. A metaphysically improbable karmic impossibility crossing the inter-dimensional boundaries—

“So prove it! And before you ask, there’s no rum, by the way—”

“There’s two crocks: one hidden in the void under y’r waterbed and one concealed in plain sight in your study where I’ll never find it.”

Okay, he’s proved it. How nice.

“What opportunities?”

“You were going to make a difference, right? What happened?”

Oh. He’s referring to my once ambitions of reforming the political systems of the world. Without violence—

“Aye, Lad.” His tone is softer, he moves a little closer. Okay, he glides a little closer. Brrr.

Once I thought I’d be able to explain in succinct manner, get out into the world, start small and work up, talk to people—but they are blinded by deeply ingrained prejudices installed by generations of indoctrination. It can’t be done—

“Y’r wrong there, y’ know. Can be done. Must be done—”

“By someone else. Folk won’t listen to me—”

“Have you tried?”

“Once or twice. Mentioned it on my blogs—”

“Wow! Really pushed the boat out, did we?”

“There’s no need for sarcasm.”

Damned if he may not just be right—

“I am right, Lad. And well ye know it—where would Bruce’s spider be if Rob had been blogging all the time?”

I remember that story. Six times Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, had been clobbered by the English and was taking refuge in a cave. A spider dropped down from the roof of the cave whilst spinning its web and had to climb back up. Six times it fell, on the seventh it succeeded in reaching the threads and building it’s nest. Bruce took this as an omen and sallied forth to overthrow the English and send them home to think again.

“So?”

“So Time and Fate have given you an opportunity—a chance to break out and do something worthwhile with your life.”

“The Spouse will never understand. She won’t stand for it—”

“The Spouse is wiser than you give her credit for, Lad. Ye’ve a ruby beyond price there—”

I knew that. I know that. The waterbed gives a heave as she turns over, a waft of something reminiscent of flowers on an English summer morning drifts briefly across before the aroma of The Sage’s pipe tobacco reasserts.

“It’ll take more time than I have years left.”

“Then use them years, Lad. Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run—”

Oh no. I must have the only Kipling-quoting Sage in the universe—

“No, there’s one other, in Detroit … anyway, time and fate await no man, Lad; every passing second is an opportunity. If you don’t carpe the diem it’s gone. Forever.”

The morning is now rapidly gaining oomph, he fades fast as the light increases; beside me the bed quakes as she turns towards me. Golden green eyes stare at me in soft accusation—

“Have you been smoking?”

“Not me. A visitor. Don’t ask”

“Thought you’d locked up last night? Oh … him.”

“Eep?”

“Old guy. Nor-easter hat and whiskers, I see him sometimes when you’re asleep. He’s actually quite nice. A bit worried about you, though—I told him not to be, you’ll move when you’re ready.”

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Brrrrr

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6 thoughts on “GHOST OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Now it all becomes clear. Seems we are running on discordant lags with our comments. I never got your original response about your Sage character until just a few moments ago. There is a very peculiar sense of correct timing playing out here believe you me! After the evening I’ve just had, and am still having incidentally, coming across your stories now make total sense. I shall now read the rest…

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