Bayou Bridged

City Park (New Orleans) - Wikipedia
City Park, New Orleans (Photo: en.wikipedia.org)

 

They always met in the park. There were spirits there, too, of course: The drowned. The lost. The desperate. The abandoned young. However, these tended to be the milder spirits, mellowed by moss and rain and the freedom to roam on whispery winds. House spirits were harsher, meaner, and angrier. They carried histories of rape and whippings and the smaller everyday murders that chip at a soul until there is nothing left but agony and bitterness.

It was better to meet in the park, on a bridge between this world and the other, chiseled by masons, anchored by time.

She lowered herself onto the top stair and waited. She’d hear him come, but she would not turn. He did not bear to be looked upon.

“I will take him across,” he’d said when they last met. And he had. It was a gentle death.

Now it was her mother’s time.

 

 

For What Pegman Saw

21 thoughts on “Bayou Bridged

  1. Well done, you! 💚💚💚

    Adele Ryan McDowell,
    AdeleRyanMcDowell.com Adeleandthepenguin.com MakingPeacewithSuicide.com Channeledgrace.com

  2. Not being well versed in this “behind the veils” stuff, myself, I found this a bit puzzling.

    What i understood was that the spirit of a dead child or young adult was speaking. Her father had recently died and crossed over to the spirit world, with the help of her mysterious companion. Now her mother was dying and she had agreed to meet with him again to ensure her mother’s safe and gentle passage.

    I could be wrong about the narrators identity, and im not quite sure who she is awaiting so expectantly. God? Death?

    Definitely eerie, and i love the subtle distinctions between spirits , the “freedom to roam on whispering wings” and the bridge “chiseled by masons, anchored by time. ” Beautiful, evocative language, but i was left more with a mood of awesome mystery than with a solid understanding of what happened.

    • Thank you for your comment and the question–it is all too often that those who have questions about what they read to not take the time to let know what remained foggy, when it is a very helpful feedback to get. So thank you again.
      I think that part of the mystery IS the not knowing of who exactly the characters are. Is the girl/woman on the bridge a spirit herself, or is she a woman who can see/speak/communicate with spirits (as historically some in the Bayou lore claim/claimed the ability to do)? Who is she waiting for? Is it for the angel of death, whom she knows will pay a visit to her mother soon, and whom she wants to plead with to make the passing gentle? Is it another spirit? An angel? A person who assists the terminally ill in passing peacefully rather than in agony?

      So … I think your questions may be exactly those that might arise in someone’s mind, and perhaps the mystery is part of the ‘mood’ of this piece.

      If you had to make the story your own, who would you make the characters be?
      🙂
      Na’ama

      • The bayou lore sounds very interesting. And “in a fog of uncertainty” is a most appropriate way to leave the reader of a spooky story. I just wanted to make sure i hadnt misssed something crucial because of my own ignorance.

      • I didn’t read your comment as denoting ignorance but as pointing out possible cryptic (no pun intended … well, what the heck, pun and all … ;)) aspects to the story that left the reader puzzled. It was good feedback! As for my own knowledge of the Bayou — it is limited to stories, and friends who live there, combined with some sense of what the world of spirits may be like. Thank you again! 🙂 Na’ama

    • Thank you, Penny! 🙂 The topic of death is so often seen as frightening, when it is a path we all take, and hopefully in the gentlest way possible. As for stone bridges (and castles, and old walls)–I often think of the hands that carved these out of lumps of rock, sometimes quarried out of massive stones. It amazes me how these were shaped, strike by strike, to build something as lasting as a house or a bridge. 🙂

  3. What an exquisite mood you paint here, of this person who knows so much (too much, perhaps) about death and spirits, and yet soldiers on, trying to help. The phrase “smaller everyday murders” was so evocative to me; brilliant. And with all these spooky stories out there this season about malicious spirits, what a nice change to remember spirits as victims and loved ones who need care, as well.

    • Hi Joy, I am so glad this spoke to you, spook and all … Yes, for those who believe that spirits endure, often also believe that they carry over to the next world some of the wounding of the present world and are no less a product of their life than the living … So, who knows how much malevolent spirits reflect harm-done-unto that they have yet to grow beyond? … Thank you for the comment! 🙂 Na’ama

    • Thank you! 🙂 I’m so glad you found the spook to be a good kind of spooky. Or like a preteen I know calls it “the thrill feel chill.” 🙂
      Stonework is fascinating to me. I don’t know much about masonry, but it feels to me like there are stories in every stone, in every hammer and chisel stroke. I find it revisits me. It found its way into “Emilia” (one of my full-length novels), and it finds its way into some of my poetry and stories.

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