to clock and calendar. Absolved of that, I stand becalmed.
― Richard Matheson
I’m finally in my enchanted house, haunted by the ghostly presence of the beautiful deceased poet, Blythe Summers.
I’m not disturbed by the play of shadows and only experience the occasional frisson when I walk across her path and catch the faint scent of her perfume.
I actually feel comforted that she cohabits with me and I look forward to catching a glimpse of her or experiencing some mystical communion with her
A few days after moving in, I find an original copy of Blythe’s final book of poetry entitled, Spring and Other Beginnings. It’s in a trunk in the attic and I’m particularly excited because it contains marginalia—hand-written pencil notes and observations by the her.
Blythe referred to her notes as Segues—an appropriate term since I can find no way of relating them back to the text, nevertheless, I spend many hours sitting before the fire trying to divine some purpose behind the mysterious jottings.
I conclude the entries might refer to something else—another book perhaps, or something mundane, because they appear to be so trite.
For example, one note states: In May, walk up from the fishpond by the cobbled path and enter through the side door.
That little scribbled message makes absolutely no sense, and it feels weird finding it in the margin of the book.
It’s weird though—it almost seems an incantation from a book of spells—either that, or I’m beginning to lose my mind.
As I settle in, I prowl about the house inspecting every nook and cranny, and make more discoveries.
I find a lovely portrait of Blythe shoved in behind the furnace in the basement. It's dated 1933 and is a mystery in itself. I can’t understand why such an alluring piece of art should be so callously disregarded.
I dust it off and hang it over the mantel where it belongs.
Once the Lady of the Manor is restored to her rightful place, I sit back with a glass of Shiraz in hand, admiring the portrait.
She has an ethereal beauty, this Thirties poet, accentuated by huge eyes and wild wavy hair.
There’s something about her expression that fascinates me and I spend hours staring at her likeness and wondering what she would have been like in real life.
Stella drops by occasionally to check in on me to see how I’m adjusting to the new house, and she’s amazed that I’ve made no attempt to redecorate. She offers suggestions about modernizing the décor, but I gently decline.
“Blythe and I are happy with the house the way it is,” I laugh.
“I can see that,” she chirps “you seem to be channeling her spirit, or at least the Thirties vibe.”
“Why not? It was a very good year.”
She arches an eyebrow. “Right, and I think Old Blue Eyes wore out the grooves on that recording—you should update your music library.”
Of course, the latter jibe is aimed at a Billie Holiday record playing scratchily in the background.
“A chacun son goût,” I laugh breezily.
She looks at me quizzically at first, and then smiles and shakes her head in wonderment
. “I really can’t get over the change in you, Theo, but it’s all good—you look like you’ve finally found yourself, or your niche.”
“I think I always was an old soul, and am just now beginning to discover it.”
The strange thing is, as I say it, I begin to believe it myself.
I can see myself living out a solitary existence in the shadowy manse, absorbing the ambiance of the Jazz Age and trying to make contact with its resident ghost.