Memory Motel: A Rock And Roll Fantasy, Part Three Section Four: Ghosts Of New York
Part Three: In The Aftermath
8 – Kaisha Williams
I am alive. I am alive. Oh my God, what a mess, what a horror but I’m alive.
Where is Elijah?
I pick myself up and amazingly I am completely unharmed and I don’t see how but I look at my arms, in a mirror, where am I? Somewhere in Colorado? The plane is a mangled mess and I have no idea how I survived and I watched the plane, just a metal heep and I don’t see how I made it but I guess that’s what miracles are for but now what? Elijah must be dead, everybody must be dead. Isn’t that just like life, right? You find the love of your life and you can’t even die together. He must be because if we were both dead we would be together, that is the only the thing that makes any sense. He has gone, nobody could’ve survive. Nothing, where is everyone?
Is there anything more depressing than New York City when you are all alone, I feel as though I’ve been wandering these streets forever and ever searching for this damn man but every stop, every window, every Subway, in the dark of the night, through the tunnels and he is nowhere to be found. Every dark face and light seem like skeletons to me, they all look like deaths, his death, he must be dead. Elijah would certainly save me from this if he wasn’t dead, he’d shake me alive from these dark endless tunnels stretching out in all directions, rats running by. There is like this weird other new York City where rats rule and they don’t bother me but if you found yourself there, they’d kill you. They eat you alive, like “Ben”. They’d sing “Ben” to you and then make you cats meat.
I may never want to sing again.
I don’t even want to breathe again, shouldn’t breathe the smell should kill me.
Back outside and it is still dark, this is the longest night ever as I scour New York City, every crevice, every hole, every homeless shelter, every tiny hope, and yet he isn’t here. He must be dead. I should go home and I circle forward to Queens and I wait outside my parents home and look through the window and there is everybody sitting, normal, nothing there. Quiet and subdued.
I feel myself moving out of my own skin and I pull myself back because I am not going anywhere without Elijah, I am spending no more of my life looking for love but rather looking for my lover. I am enrapt in this world, this love, I won’t rest, I won’t change, I won’t care and I won’t concern myself without it. It is all that matters to me. Death is not strong enough to stop me. I have fought my entire life to be here and I will remain here at whatever costs.
It is mid afternoon and I slip into a movie hourse with some popcorn and a soda, sitting there in the dark watching images of dreams, of like superheroes that don’t exist the way that Elijah doesn’t exist and in my mind I am there, fighting the bad guys, saving the world.
But where is Elijah? There is a place in your mind that screams out for more love, more hope, more dreams, more life and it is a place I can’t reach without the man who has spent everyday by my side. It is as necessary as air to me, it is part of the way in which I function in this world. Oh why didn’t I tell him before?
I am in a coffee shop on 8th Avenue and 51st street trying feverishly to get the waitress attention, though I know the place well and even when it is packed the service is usally pretty good. A tall, somewhat handsome man with a stretch of long blonde hair, a leather jacket and a cigarette dangling from the corner of his lips. He blinks the smoke out of his eyes, doesn’t even ask if he can sit down, just sits down next to me and hands me a cup of coffee with a smile. “New here, are you?” He asks.
“Not at all, I was born and raised in Sunnyside. I am a native New Yorker.”
“Well, obviously but you are new HERE.”
“What is wrong with you?”
“My name is Billy Closemeyer” he replies and puts out his hand, I ignore it. “Why are you playing hard to get, I know the ropes, I’ve been here since 1977. OD’d on tour. Maybe you heard about it?” I can’t take this guy, my nerves are way shot.
“I have had a tough time of it lately”, I reply. “Thanks for the coffee but please can you just….?” I put my head in my head and I feel as though I am going to explode, as though everything I’ve ever felt is going to just run out of me in a second, just pour down like a sieve. My entire life down the drain. Where is Elijah?
“I know it’s tough…” Billy answers and then he stares at me and on his face it is like a light bulb has just gone off. He lights another cigarette. “Oh no, girl, you don’t know, do you?” Now I am getting nervous. I feel as though he is gonna say something I have no desire to hear whatsoever. “Don’t you know, what do you remember?”
“Look, I was in a plane crash and I’ve been really out of it ever since. My husband” I didn’t want Billy to get the wrong idea “Was with me and I can’t find him. I don’t know what is going on, I have no idea.”
“I am not the guy to help you… what’s your name?”
“Kaisha, Kaisha Williams.”
“Yes, I am not sensitive, I don’t do that. I have a friend, he has been around forever he can set you straight.”
“He can help me find my husband.”
“Yeah, maybe. Maybe he can.”
Then from out of nowhere we are joined by another man. Older than us, he looks very old. Walking stick, a little overweight. Gouty. Out of condition. But with a very kind face, a very sweet demeanor and way about him and I take an instance liking though I begin to wonder where are all the brothers are at.
“Hello there…” The elder man says.
“Kaisha,” Billy answers for me. “Her name is Kaisha Williams.”
“Hello there Kaisha, I am sure you are wondering what is going on about now?”
“Yeah,” Billy replies. “She must be confused.”
“What is wrong with you two?” I SCREAMED. “What are you talking about.”
“Think back, what is the last thing you remember before being back in New York. At the crash, what is the last thing that happened.”
Then I remembered, the insane pain, as my body was ripped apart, hurled, broken and finally burned. “I’m dead?”
“But where is Elijah?”
“Her husband.” Billy explained.
“If I’m dead, Elijah would be here with me.”
“He might be dead. My name is Takoda, I can help I think but have you considered this? You died but he lived.”
I was stunned into silence but then I thought of something else. “This is hell?”
The two laughed out loud. “I guess New York could be considered hell, right?” Billy said.
“It sure is compared to the way it was when I was a child” Takoda smirked. “This was all countryside back then.”
“So what? I’m a ghost?”
“The thing is, you stopped yourself from moving on to the Aftermath because you wanted to find your husband, at least that’s what it seems to me. Unless there is something you’re not telling us. So the hope is that we can go in such for him, find him alive, or confirm he’s dead and than you can move past us.”
“I’ve been here for nearly 50 years”, Billy said. “I like it, it isn’t like you’d think. It is like life by other means and it has its pleasures. It’s like we can go everywhere and learn everything and live everywhere and also, we have our own ghost hangouts and we can hold up there and there are lots of fascinating people around. People you wouldn’t expect to me ghosts like… are you ready for this…” I wanted to slap the dumb bastard but managed a nod of my head. “Michael Jackson. Yes, indeed. You’d expect he’d be in LA or Indiana or something, annoying his kids by putting “Smooth criminal” on the stereo, but no… no, he is with us.”
Takoda nodded his head with pride, “It is true,” the Native American Chief said. “Most ghosts return to where they live but those that choose to travel, travel to New York City. There is much to do and when you are ready to leave, really ready, you leave”
“I just want Elijah…” I was beginning to worry myself in fact, I wasn’t that crazy insane about the guy but I felt I needed to complete something though it wasn’t the deep love crap they probably thought it was. I don’t know what was going on. I just knew somehow, if I had bones I’d claim I knew it deep in my bones, but no I did know it: I needed to be a part of his life and vice versa. I needed to know where Elijah was and after that… I would deal with after that after that. “Where do we go from here?” I ask Takoda but Billy, who I get the distinct impression has the hots for me says, “come back home with us. It isn’t what you think it is, you know…”
I nodded my head and we were at this giant haunted house, towering over 5th Avenue. Pretty spectacular. Not what you would consider. No cobwebs and eerie stuff, no Halloween, not even any Casper The Friendly Ghost. It is a state of the art, towering tower that goes up well above anything I’ve ever seen. It just goes on and on and on as far as the eye can see. We went through these huge glass doors and no security at all. The lobby was teeming with people, ghosts I mean, but they looked like flesh and blood and acted like flesh and blood. There seemed to be a conformity, whatever color or shape they all seemed relentless prosper. “What the hell is going on?” I asked. “I thought ghosts were miserable things who can’t leave earth or something.”
“Some are,” Takoda explained. “But most are dealing with unfinished business, something is keeping them here and once they fix it… pffft…”
“Pfft…” Billy added, smiling broadly. “But not me, I like it here. Don’t we, Takoda?”
Takoda frowned. “Billy likes it and I am more administration. I have connections with the Aftermath and we keep things running smoothly and without a hitch except…”
“Except?” Billy asked.
“There is something going on, though I am not privy to the ins and outs but something… never mind.”
“Where I am staying? Where is my room?” I asked.
“See that elevator? Hit any floor and that is your floor. In the meanwhile let me take a look for this husband of yours, see if I can find him somewhere. I will get back, and in the meantime, enjoy yourself.”
I moved quickly to the elevator before Billy could follow me, hit the 10th floor, and the door closed and opened onto the most incredible looking apartment I have ever seen. Hovering over New York City, it went forever in all directions and while that might sound confusing, everywhere I concentrated came into clear view. It was like the area was telepathic to my needs and it was like it had an innate knowledge of my deepest needs. Indeed, it was like the area was me, an extension of my psyche, a brilliant beautiful version of who I was made into architecture. Suddenly I felt tired, and found myself in the most comfortable bed of all time watching the new Willow Smith movie, just released last Friday. I drifted off to sleep.