Title: Nana


Ever since I moved into my new flat a couple of months ago, I’ve been looking after a ghost. I do this by playing her music. Sometimes I play songs off my laptop, but she likes it best when I sing. She’s old you see; a tiny, shrivelled old lady. Despite being able to hum along, she prefers to sit there quietly in her rocking-chair and really listen.

On my third day in the flat, as I washed the dishes and sang to myself, I felt someone looking at me from next to the fridge. I remember turning around, and seeing her leaning up against the counter, the sunlight streaming right through her as she nodded along. What I found the most striking about this was how comfortable I felt around her.

Since then it has been a process of us not only becoming acclimatized to one another but actually becoming dear friends. I feel somewhat how I imagine expectant mothers to feel, as they offer comforting coos to their hidden bubs. As I care for this ghost - as I grow more accustomed to her whims and desires - she becomes increasingly present.

Sometimes I sing her gospel songs, sometimes Mento, or even Nina Simone; but her favourite is Obeah music - old folk stuff from Jamaica. When she hears me start chanting, a big grin spreads across her face and she starts to rock back and forth like the oldies I used to see in synagogue. It’s not like I was familiar with this music, of course. I certainly know Nina Simone, but the rest of it, the Carribean stuff, that just happened to be playing on the radio one day. When I saw how she reacted however, when the air around us went stiff as we listened, I felt I had some work to do on my repertoire.

Over the past few weeks I’ve even been coming up with new songs. I make stories out of the things I hear on the news, and when I sing them to her, it’s like she’s really a part of the world again.



Mark

     ︎︎︎