Ghost Leaves House

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Where I bridge in the gap between waves.

For three years I settled. In a beautiful home, on my favorite street in the town now described by tourism campaigns as the heart of Mexico. For a travelling oracle, it was a strange decision, I had been doing everything to avoid roots for years, but there was something about that house.

Everything lined up perfectly. My now ex-neighbour, best friend and co-worker of many years previous invited me out of the blue to my old job’s Christmas party in town. I’d spent the previous year working on a play in Mexico City, full time, but before that short year of small town abstinence I’d been a local resident of the heart of Mexico, half a year at a time for five years, I would spend April to August in town-like a reverse snowbird- working for the local film festival and making some other kinds of magic happen.

Although I had nothing but good feelings for the town, not once had I considered moving here permanently. The connection was strong though, and hard to ignore. As a child I’d grown up in between Mexico City and this town, San Miguel de Allende. My childhood memories of it were stored in the good box, I remember it as a place where as a child I felt free, something the city never did fully provide. Besides after my London adventures I had ended up here, at my first real-world, career related job, of all places.

I arrived at the Christmas party, saw all my old co-workers, blew up some fireworks and had little inclination to ever return to that work arrangement, but somehow I felt like I’d come home after being away for a long holiday, I took notice of this, honed my instincts and decided to give in. A few hours later I proposed the idea out loud. “What if I move back into town, open a business or something,” my friend replied with an offer to stay at her home from January to March, her yearly time away working abroad. I accepted.

As only fate ever has it I am now writing this from the same friend’s house, three years later, during the same period of her work abroad time. In the time between then and now -after that fated Christmas encounter- by January 5th that year I moved here for those three months, eventually and through my habitual event weirdness in March I ended up moving precisely to the house next door to this one, and becoming neighbors with my best friend, we joked it was the first season of our sitcom.

When I walked into the house I knew it was the one, I’d come by it not via proximity, but through the aforementioned weirdness. Another friend had gone to see it, pictures from her phone beamed back at me, it was ideally located (on my current street) I remembered having seen the sign posted on the window and ignoring it as I assumed it would be outside my budget. The house had three levels, small but spacious, a beautiful run-down staircase, a patio where I planted my first pumpkin vines and a rooftop studio that never was.

It was also haunted. The first night my brother stayed in the guest room he saw a man walk past. I never see things, I tend to feel them more but when the “man” came into my room one night I greeted him, noticed he had a mustache and reeked of booze. I introduced myself and made a mutual deal to never disturb our comings and goings. Housemates. My best friends visited often and always laughed off the story. I told them I didn’t believe in ghosts but I knew spirits and my house was a bit run down, so I would nourish it, keep it clean, balanced and bright, make a friend out of it.

I hung a Kitty Cat clock on the wall, set up my vintage Cereal boxes in the kitchen, made my altar by the perfect corner where I kept all my supplies. I had a dedicated table for reading cards, indoor plants and massive bookcases filled with donated used books I planned to sell one day (my business idea was a book shop). Beautiful borrowed antique furniture which included a desk that housed my Astrology books and notebooks. Last December I gave everything back and everything else away.

The circle of arrival and departure that I’m well accustomed to from travelling became apparent when my friend from New York arrived in town to see wedding venues (the town is a popular wedding destination). She was so excited as we drank celebratory champagne, by next year she would come back to my house and she would be married. “Oh I wont be in this house by then” the spell spurted from my lips. My brother, also present, jumped “what are you on about? this is your home.” I didn’t have an answer, the words had just escaped me.

Like clockwork a month later my landlady popped in through the window. She needed to talk, I sighed and knew the time had come. We agreed I would leave by the end of my term, she seemed so desperate I offered to leave three months earlier, on December 10th. Just before my Christmas holiday to Las Vegas. Make things easier for others and… I figured.

On Halloween we had a party at the neighbour’s house, I went up on my roof which is adjacent but higher than hers and my brother and I exploded two confetti cannons, although it was not planned as such it felt like a goodbye. When I broke the news to my neighbour she was in denial, it wouldn’t be so, but she still offered her home again from January to March just in case, full circle I thought.

We have shared a dream life together. On her last night in town just a few weeks ago, after all the getting rid of things, we became housemates briefly. She painted her nails in bright colors and we made mix tapes from vinyl records. The show’s not over yet, I offered, Season Four might be the best one yet.

I’ll never forget that last night in my San Miguel home, when all my stuff had gone and all that was left was me and a key. I’ve lived this story many times before and I’m always surprised when I get the feeling, this strange sensation that I am no longer in my own house, as if I were somewhere new and unknown. That’s when I know, the ghost has left.

My life is filled with moments of arrival and departure, and although arrivals are always exciting they will certainly never reach the gut twisting excitement of departures. Here we go again, as always, ready to fly.

Jorge Cuaik

Jorge Cuaik

Mexican sorcerer, likes to travel.
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