Recently a friend told me that she was experiencing some ‘unseen disturbances’ at her house (translation: hantu). They were creepy, detailed stories of moving objects and voices and traces. I wasn’t sure if I really actually believe in ghosts, but let me tell you, being awake in bed in the dark at 1 am will pretty much make you believe a lot of things. I began to imagine the unthinkable – something crawling from under the bed or a child standing at the corner of the room. Any sound made me jump and I was afraid to come out of my blanket (although the logic is weird. I’m pretty sure ghosts can travel through blankets).
And then one day, I had lunch with some girlfriends and one of them revealed that she had somehow, at the spin of fate, ended up in the same office with her longtime ex. Not only were they in the same office, but they were also seated just mere desks away from each other. They had not broken up in good terms a few years ago and had not spoken to each other since, and now there they were, awkwardly sitting across each other and pretending as though they never knew of each other’s existence.
That’s also a story of a ghost, albeit a different kind.
We believe that this world is big until we end up bumping into a ‘ghost’ from the past, and then we realise that the world isn’t really that big at all. I once saw an ex I wished to never see again at the train station, and I literally ran away. Unfortunately for that friend of mine, she would probably have no choice but to spend the next few months involuntarily seeing a past she would like to forget.
Some ghosts are no longer welcomed. They represent a chapter of our life stories where we were a completely different person back then, and now the circumstances are different and things will never be the same again. These are the ghosts we run away from, the ones that make us cringe upon encounters and if you’re like me, you’d be pushing your way into a crowded train and hide yourself behind the largest person you could find on that coach, pretending to be nonchalant despite your sweaty armpits.
But some ghosts also came back to resolve an unfinished business. After all, not every ending would end with closure. Some ghosts come by for validation that your decisions in the past really were the best ones for you. Some ghosts come by so that you can accept them in a different light, as a friend, as a wonderful memory, or as someone you grew up with. And some ghosts come by for second chances, now at a better time, a better place, and a better outlook.
These are the types of ghosts we should never run away from, for they would teach us so much more than they ever could when they first came into our lives.