I told my sister she would haunt our house when she dies because she carved her name into the wall of our house. Thin little letters written in sloppy cursive appeared, a sort of silver against the white. She must have used the point of a pen without ink, leaning over the edge of the banister that seperated the second story of our home from the first, taking her life into her own hands.
“You’re going to haunt this house in 100 years when you die,” I remember saying matter-of-factly. It made sense to me at age 8. Branding your name on something to take claim of it, for its whole existence, forever. That’s what we learned in history class in the third grade; practically.
She stared at me with a warped facial expression that indicated confusion, but also amusement at how random her little sister, 8 years younger than her, could be. I still see it clearly in my mind. “Um…what do you mean?”
I held her larger hand in mine, leading her to her masterpiece. “See?” What couldn’t she understand? It was simple. She had to lean close to it, pressing her nose against the wall to observe the almost translucent features of her line work.
“I don’t even remember doing that.” She seemed spooked at the idea of dying, the idea of haunting. Years later, her name was covered by three thick layers of beige paint. Sometimes I return to that spot on the wall, rubbing my fingers over the area that her name lies beneath, wondering if it will ever bleed through to the surface.
Now I realize how morbid it was of me to suggest that my only sibling would die. Everything was simpler back then. Maybe I understood the circle of life. Maybe I too wholeheartedly believed in the idea of ghosts. Maybe I didn’t have the chance to contemplate the prospect of spending life after death in the midst of dirt underneath a gravestone.
At least, in my mind, there was hope of an afterlife, even if one is a ghost.
Bio: Vera Armstead is a writer aspiring to be a mental health counselor. Vera is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She is the Managing Editor of The Point News and has publications in Teen Belle Magazine, along with Her Stry, Vamp Cat Magazine, and Avatar literary magazine. You can reach Vera at @farmv8 on Twitter and Instagram.
Photo by Rowan Heuvel.