Wednesday, January 18, 2006

GD - Ghosts on Vanity

This is a bit of a different post -- it's a creative writing assignment where we had to write a conversation between a "ghost" and a "solid" (a la the styel of The Great Divorce) and submit it. For your enjoyment.

As the ghost stepped painfully across the grass, she made an odd, scratching sound that I finally realized she meant as a laugh.

“I say,” she said, addressing no one in particular, “This would help exfoliate my feet.” Before she could speak again, a solid came rapidly towards her.


“Emily! How did you get all shiny like that? Are you using some new sort of moisturizer?”

The solid took a step back, dropping her arms and realizing that the ghost had no desire to embrace, but only to look over her physical appearance.

“And where on earth did you find that lovely gown? I’ve been looking for something new for ages!” the ghost gushed, but her words hung thinly in the air.

“I didn’t find it on earth,” answered the solid softly, her shining robe glittering in the soft breeze.

“Oh, of course not. Silly me. Now that we’re all here, in this dreadful place, I’m sure it must be hard to find anything that isn’t scratchy or pokey or—well, you know.”

“I don’t, actually,” murmured the solid, her voice silky smooth against the prattle of the ghost.

“Well it’s not like it’s much better down there. Have you ever been? No? Well, I suppose you wouldn’t know what it’s like where it’s so dry and my hair frizzes so and it’s awfully hard to find new clothes. I just want to look pretty all the time and it’s so hard when it’s always grey and you can never find a mirror when you need one! How do you keep your skin so fresh, Emmy dear?”

I don’t, He does,” answered the Solid. “Don’t you see, Christine?”

“See what?”

“Whatever you do to make yourself beautiful down there doesn’t matter?”

“Whatever do you mean? I found this lovely new powder just last week, and I think it does add a little glow to skin, don’t you?” She tried to flash a smile and then look coy, but only succeeded in looking very silly, like a little girl who is wearing clothes much too big for her. “Come on now, tell me your secret! What have you been using on your face?”

“It’s not what I’ve been using on my face, it’s what’s inside me. It’s all bursting out.”

“A new type of diet? All vegetables? I do admit I’ve been eating too many sweets lately, but I’ve been wearing mostly black to camouflage it.”

“Not a diet. More like—like a new heart.”

“Surgery? Now Emily, you know as well as I that I’ve had everything tucked and smoothed that the doctor’s could do—in fact, I came to this place while I was getting my eyes done.”

“It’s a very different sort of surgery, if you even want to call it that. If you come with me, Christine, you can become more beautiful than you can imagine.” The solid held out her hands entreatingly.

“Oh, well now! How should I go about that?”

“You’ll have to take off all your powders and fancy clothes and allow someone else to take your place.”

At this, the ghost again let out her cackling laugh. “Deprive the world of my beauty? Oh Em. I’ve worked for years to look this good.”

“But He is more beautiful than anything you have ever seen. He gives us His beauty!”

“He? You must have forgotten everything I taught you when we were girls. Never trust a man who tries to advise you about fashion. They never seem to get it quite right.”

“What you taught me isn’t important now. Don’t you want to come where beauty never fades?”

“I just don’t trust a man. Thanks anyway, love. Good to see you again! I better be getting back to the bus. I have an appointment at the hair salon soon. G’bye!”

The ghost turned back to the bus, her fading, painful attempt at beauty so overwhelmed by the glory around her.