I Can Hear You
How would you feel if your main thing to do during a weekend was playing with kids? At my age, it would be weird or boring at least.
Now that you’ve thought about it, imagine waking up early in the morning to go to the park, with a kid that you don’t know and who also happens to be a damned ghost, can it be weirder? Oh yeah, the kid is an idiot and he wants me to find a treasure. It really makes me miss my usual “help a ghost” shenanigans.
I fed my doggie, left her sleeping at home, and went to help the kid, there he is, waiting for me at the park, and there he is waiting for me, his little brother is there as well, sitting on a swing like he always does, I wave my hand to greet him, but he keeps his head down, I’d assume that he hasn’t even noticed my presence there, can’t blame him for ignoring that random adult who he doesn’t even know, but still seems like a quite sad image for me.
“Don’t try to be friendly with him, it’s not worthy” – Marco seemed truly serious for the first time, not joking or anything, his face shows seriousness for the first time, but even his voice seemed different from his usual self.
“He seems quite sad, but what is he doing now? If your parents are dead and your grandpa died not so long ago, where’s he living? What is he doing to live?”
“My mother had a sister, but they didn’t have a lot of contacts, once mom died our auntie started sending money, and some time ago she started visiting my bro, but just a few months ago, right now she sends money for Luca, and she will come to take him to live with her”
“But why hasn’t she come if your grandpa died weeks ago”
“She lives in another country, in another continent; Europe to be precise, so she will come for him two days from now, this is my last chance to give him the treasure”
I crouched and started moving the ground a bit, not like I had any clue of where I should look, but it felt like I should do something else aside from talking to Carlo, it always felt so awkward to think that people could see me talking to… well, nothing.
“Carlo, do you have any idea of where it could be?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll know once we find the place”
“You’re not making any sense you know, at least could you tell me what we are exactly looking for?”
“I already told you dumb doctor, is a treasure; do I have to explain to you what a treasure is?”
“Come on, boy, do you really want to get in my nerves again? Because you’re quite good on the work”
“You could pay me for it you know?”
“Why would a kid even need money? Even worse, why would a ghost kid need money?”
“Who knows? Maybe I’ll come back to life one of these days”
It was kind of funny to think about it, for me it sounded like nothing more than a joke, but Carlo must really love the idea, he is a kid after all; maybe I could give him lots of money, so he would come back to life having enough to waste on whatever a kid from ten years ago would’ve loved, but it was out of the question, sadly these things don’t happen, there’s no turning back in this life.
Accepting that I’m talking with dead people is always weird, obviously, after all this time I’ve started to accept that these things happen to me, that these are real ghosts, I can talk to them, and I’m the only one here for them, but is still weird, I never know what to say to them, should I cheer them up? Should I ignore them? At least for now I’ll just ignore the fact that people like Carlo are dead, just help them, that’s the correct thing to do, right?
“Could you at least tell me what are we exactly looking for?”
“I already told you, I don’t know”
“I don’t mean the place, I mean what the treasure is, and why is it here, things like that”
“Well… You see… I don’t know a lot about this thing, I just know that it’s here, in this park”
Moments like these are when I miss some other ghosts, those that tell me everything about what they need, or at least those that know what we are searching for, but I can’t turn back right now, Carlo asked me for help, and an adult has a responsibility to look after a child, even if the child is technically almost as old as I am…
“You should at least help me in some way, why are you so sure that we can find the treasure here, in this specific park”
“What happens with your dad?”
“He told me about it when I was a child, I was 10 when my parents died, and my father always talked about a special treasure for us, me and my brother, he liked to tell me this story about something special that was secretly hidden in this park”
As soon as I heard that my skin started feeling weird, like if there was something off here, about this treasure that Carlo loved to talk about, could it be possible that Carlo made a mistake? Maybe there wasn’t a real treasure…
“Tell me, Carlo, what do you think that this treasure could be?”
“Do you even need to ask? Is money obviously, what else could you call a treasure if not money?”
Quite a weird way of thinking when compared to what I would’ve thought a regular kid would like as a treasure, personally, twelve years old Adam could only think of a videogame console, but one that was only for myself, that or maybe lots of comics and toys, I don’t think that I would be the weird one if I wanted that as a kid, at least no weirder than what I’ve always been.
“Money isn’t the only thing that you can consider a treasure”
“Then what else? Money is what can keep people alive; surprisingly, someone like you isn’t able to understand that, that’s the rule of this world after all”
I never thought about it, Carlo died when I also was a kid, it was so long ago… This kid died in a bad way, I don’t really want to know about it though, I wouldn’t like him to suffer the pain of remembering a moment like that, especially considering that his parents also died long ago, Carlo and Luca weren’t just two normal kids, it’s hard to realize how hard life can be for other people when they don’t have the chances that I have received during my life, even if I didn’t want any of them while growing up.
“I don’t need to explain the complications of life to you”
“Could you stop using the term life so freely? Is kind of disgusting and insensitive you know?” – I actually felt bad, I hadn’t thought about my vocabulary around any ghost, it makes me feel quite bad considering that I don’t even know how to call them, spirits?; Ghosts? Is there even a correct term to call “people who aren’t alive anymore” when this is such a bizarre concept on its own?
“I’m… I’m really sorry”
“Don’t worry; I shouldn’t have been angered that much” – Carlo insisted that I didn’t need to worry, but his voice felt like it was broken, shattered; I had been too harsh on my treatment towards him after he talked to me he just turned his back…
We kept searching for some time, without talking at all, he just moved around the park and taking some obvious glimpses to his brother, while I kept moving the ground; my hands were quite tired and dirty, I wanted to stop and take a rest, but as much as I disliked some of Carlo’s attitudes, he didn’t seem like a bad guy at all, but the most important part was Luca, he clearly wanted to help him, to make him know, at least indirectly, that his brother would always love him, that he would always be with him, but he didn’t have any way to do it, he had to depend on a random person who he doesn’t really know who they really are.
While I was on my usual self-gloating, I wasn’t able to notice how close Carlo had come, standing right behind me.
“Adam, truly stop worrying” – That was quite relaxing to hear, it felt like a breeze of fresh air coming from Carlo.
“Think about it, I should be just a tad younger than you, even if I look like a little kid, I’m technically an adult, I’m sorry about acting so childish”
It’s impressive how much I had ignored that, Carlo could look as young as he does, but he was basically an adult “living” as a little boy.
“I accepted my death long ago, not like I’m happy being like, not only dead, but also trapped on this limbo of nothing, I’m not a child nor an adult, and even if I’m dead, I’m just going around, looking after a little boy who doesn’t even remember me, and by this time is even older than what I’ll ever be, I’m tired, I can’t negate that, but I’ve accepted that I can’t change what I am now”
“But then why are you still here?”
“What do you mean? I am supposed to leave this world or anything?”
“Well… Yes. Carlo, have you ever seen your parents or your grandpa around here?”
“No, actually I never got to see dad or mom, I was able to see my abandoning his body though, his last moments as well… But after he left his body I never saw him again”
“So you didn’t know about ascending to Heaven”
“Wait, “The Heaven”? That thing is real? I thought it was just like a religious myth or something like that”
“Well, I don’t mean like “That Heaven”, but all of the other spirits, uh, you don’t mind that word right?”
“Nah, it’s not like I wasn’t, as long as you avoid being harsh with that I’m fine”
“Ok, then everything is nice, well, I’m not sure that Heaven is real, but I’ve seen people glowing and disappearing, I think it’s pretty obvious what happens to them”
“Obviously, is not like we have a lot of ideas as to what could happen to something that most people don’t even know exists” – Carlo can make some quite logical statements from time to time, even in his usual childish attitude.
“Then I’d assume that your parents and grandpa already ascended, but why are you still here then?”
“I don’t know, but if I had to give you a reason, that would be that kid on the swing”
Carlo extended his arm directly towards Luca, who was still sitting on the usual swing.
“I would never be able to abandon him, I- I- I just can’t…”
“You don’t need to explain anymore, there’s no reason to abandon a brother” – I would love to be completely honest while saying this…
“When I was young my father asked me to always look after him, I always took him to play at different places while I was alive, even if we didn’t have enough time together, that’s what my father asked me to do, but after I died I couldn’t come back, I forgot who I was for a little, I was confused, lost, so it took me a while to come back to him”
It was weird, this is the first time that I think about how dying could feel, but Carlo is the only one who seems to have been lost at that start, both Sara and Zack were their usual selves, while I can’t say anything about old Bob and the dog, so this is my first time hearing something like this.
Now that I think about it, he always took Luca to different places to plays, and he lost part of his memory, could it be…
“Carlo, you told me that your father talked about this treasure right?”
“Could it be that you always took him to places you knew from when you were even younger”
“You mean like places where I went with my parents or something like that? Yeah, I think that it would make sense for a little boy to do that”
“And why do you assume that Luca forgot about you, you mentioned it before, you must have a reason, right?”
“Well, he never comes to see me, he never thinks or talks about me, it’s hard to blame him when he barely knows me, but I think that’s enough of a reason”
“But I always see him here, Carlo, could it be that it isn’t Luca who forgot, but you, you forgot the places you took him to, as an example, could this park be one of those places?”
“Well, I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be”
“And if it was, then it could be one of the places where you went with your parents, so, in this specific park where you used to go with your parents and Luca there happens to be a treasure, can you think of any special place?”
“I don’t know, maybe I could, but my memory isn’t perfect”
This was my chance, I noticed something, all of these days I’ve seen Luca sitting there with his head down, maybe sad and even suffering way more than one can tell, except for one time, when I also saw Carlo’s spirit roaming around him, even if he can see him, even if he will never hear him again, there’s something in our spirits, something that the rest of the people I’ve treated with must’ve felt, a sensation when your loved spirits are around you, that one day Luca was smiling, he felt Carlo around, it was nostalgic.
“Carlo, this may be a crazy assumption, but I already know why Luca never leaves the swing”
“What? And why does that matter during the treasure hunt?”
“Man, you are completely dense, more than I could ever be; the swing is a reminder, a memento if you want to call it like that”
“A memento? Do you mean… Luca…”
“It would be quite hard for him to remember his parents, his grandpa was never with him when I saw him around here, the only person who could have a special bond to this place would be...“
“Exactly, Luca never forgot about you, you just didn’t realize why this place was important to him”
Realizing it was the best thing ever for Carlo, his face showed a grin that he could illuminate even the most horrible darkness that you could think of, but he hadn’t realized the most important part.
“This may be just an assumption from my side, but your parents didn’t have lots of money like you would’ve liked, right?”
“Yeah, you’re right”
“Then think about it, his treasure couldn’t have been just money or something that he could sell easily, it was emotion, his treasure was the swing”
“What do you mean? You’re just going crazy”
“Well, I shouldn’t say the swing exactly, but something around it”
Carlo showed that he still couldn’t understand, but I decided to take the first step.
“Hey boy, your name is Luca, right?” – It was my moment to take the lead and talk to the boy.
“Yes, I am, what do you need?” – Luca talked in a way more aggressive way than what I would have expected, but he at least didn’t seem like a bad guy, or at least not as annoying as someone else who looks almost like him…
“Would you like to find a treasure?”
It took me a while, but I convinced him to follow my game, we started to search around the swing, then I noticed something, obviously, you can’t move it easily, the thing would fall off almost alone, but as we started digging around it, a weird metal plate was sticking out from the part of the swing that was deeply buried, I decided to take it off, this was my last chance after all.
It opened, it was almost like the swing was used as a secret security box, inside there was a metallic cookie box, I took it off and showed it to Luca and Carlo.
“Look at this boy” – It was a funny bizarre experience to talk to two boys like there was only one there, even if it wasn’t for the best reasons.
I opened it, Luca couldn’t perceive anything, but inside there was a little medallion, It had a little inscription engraved in the back.
“Mind if I read it?” – I asked both boys at the same time, Carlo was the first to nod with his head, Luca still wasn’t really invested.
“To my little boys,
even if I’m not there with you,
I will always love you,
I love you, Luca,
I love you, Carlo,
take care, your father loves you both”
I’m not going to lie, the writing was off, quite weird, maybe it was for how much he tried to put on such a little thing, or maybe there was something else, but I think that the most important part was the brothers, Carlo couldn’t believe, he finally found his treasure, was he sad that it wasn’t money? He clearly would’ve loved money, but I couldn’t say that he disliked this actual treasure.
“Carlo was my brother…”
“I know, he was my friend”
I wasn’t lying exactly, I could say that I was his friend, but just changed the times a bit… And I also needed an excuse to know his name, thanks god he didn’t think deeper about it, he seemed more like a serious guy compared to his bro, but I can’t negate that he could be kind of an airhead.
“He was the person who told me about this treasure when we were younger, and when I looked at how much you look like him, I had no doubt that you are Carlo’s brother”
This could be a blatant lie, but I had to give an excuse, and Carlo didn’t seem like it angered him in any way, everything was fine as long as Luca believed in it.
“I really miss him you know?” – Luca wasn’t as stoic as I thought he would be.
I gave the medallion to him, gave my farewell to both of them, and let Luca go, maybe it was too dry of a moment, but Carlo wanted to go along with him, only the both of them, I just had to deliver his final message.
“Your brother will forever be with you”
“I know” – They answered at the same time, almost as if it was their instinct.
The funniest part, Carlo never started glowing, maybe he needed to do something else, or maybe, just maybe, he just happens to love his brother more than a final rest, I guess brothers can love more than I could’ve thought…