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The Spirit of Alice Springs

This is a work of fiction

The first time I saw her she was crying. This was around three years ago at a bar in Alice Springs, the huge one which caters to the Aborgines. She has pale skin, blonde hair and brown eyes, is tall and a little on the heavier side. Her shift as the bar tender had just ended and she was crying in the locker room while holding onto a keychain. Why was she crying? And why am I so drawn to her?

Hello by the way. I don’t know my name and where I come from. I should also mention that I am what people would call a “spirit.” I’m not the scary spirit you think I am that is white, translucent and creepy. I’m more of an orb, a piece of energy floating in this dimension. As far as I know I should be moving on but I am unable to do so.

I also don’t know who I am, or rather, who I was before I died. All my memories of the conscious world have melted away. It kind of sucks not having an identity or a body and being stuck in a material world. I’m getting used to it slowly.

I watch Emma sleep every night in the bar. She has a bed in the back office. She works part-time as a bar-tender and part-time as a tour guide. Her home is at the back of the bar with a plain single bed and a bedside table. Once a week she gives a tour of the Alice Springs city. There isn’t much to do our here. However, no matter how dry this city is I always enjoy watching her speak.

As the years passed by her crying reduced but she always emitted sadness in her eyes.

Today is the day she is giving the Alice Springs tour. My favorite day of the week. The group today is Asian. They have these machines with headphones attached to their ears and the head of the group translates what Emma is saying.

It’s so strange. I know this language called English. I know what Asians look like. I just don’t remember who I am.

The first stop is the kangaroo sanctuary. Emma says kangaroos are only present in Australia and so are these fluffy animals called Koalas. All the tourists get to feed the Kangaroos and Koalas. They seem so happy. I wonder if I was happy when I was alive.

Alice Springs is a town filled with history, it holds a special aboriginal significance. We head over to the John Flynn grave historical reserve after the kangaroo sanctuary. Emma says that John Flynn founded what was called the first royal flying doctor service. A special flying service for people stuck in remote areas in the outback and beyond. His invention must have saved so many lives. His legacy still lives on.

Sometimes I wonder what I was before dying. I see humans every day. They do their best to live on but they look quite miserable. In the end, people just end up like me. An orb, an energy. What is everyone stressing about?

I’ve seen a funeral once. It was an old guy working at the bar. Emma attended as well. He was buried into the dirt and he could not take anything down with him. Soon enough he will decompose and become a catalyst for the growth of life. It’s all a pointless cycle.

Emma is the only one who is different. She works two jobs to make a living. Even though she is sad, there is a will in her to fight. I have a feeling she wasn’t so miserable before. Something probably made her this way. Maybe this is why I feel like staying by her side all the time.

Our next stop is the Alice Springs Dessert Park. The most fascinating part about this park is the nocturnal center which is dark all the time. Animals you wouldn’t usually see during the day time can be seen in minimal light.
Flash photos aren’t allowed but the humans do it anyway.

I have seen other orbs like me several times, but I have never communicated with them. There is no real need to communicate per say in this dimension. When our energies pass by its more than enough. We feel each other’s vibration. I always wonder why people alive have to talk too much, why they just can’t feel each other’s aura.

After the Dessert Park we go to this lane filled with shops. These shops mainly sell aboriginal paintings and craft. Aboriginal paintings are beautifully abstract. Each one has a meaning apparently. A mother and a child. A ritual to manhood. A male and female colliding into an unknown space; a space only known to them. While the others shop I always stare into these paintings. I am drawn to them like I am to Emma.

The last point of the tour is Anzac hill. From this point one can see the entirety of Alice Springs, the deserted town. On top lies a memorial which was unveiled on Anzac Day. It’s there to commemorate all the Australians and New Zealanders who have served, and ultimately, been killed in war. I often see tears in tourist’s eyes when they hear this story. I guess humans are connected on some level after all.

After Emma is done explaining about the memorial she always sits by a bench, takes out a keychain and hold it to her eyes. In the beginning she used to cry a lot but now she only looks straight ahead without showing much emotion. At this point I always hover next to her, hoping she would be okay.
Week after week I would spend following Emma around, not having any real purpose. It used to be the same routine always.

But the day after the Asian group tour, she does something different. She boards a flight to Sydney. Strangely enough I feel some of my energy fade away.

I accompany her on the flight but I am not inside the airplane. I float through the beautiful clouds instead. The sun is setting giving the sky a vibrant pink color. If I was alive I would have probably cried looking at its beauty.

I follow Emma out of the airport, into the metro and to her house. This is the first time I see her actual house. When I started this life as an orb I was in Alice Springs next to her bed at the bar. Her home is a quaint suburban townhouse. She switches on the light and puts her things in the living area. Then she heads up to her room and lies down on her bed. Beside her is a photo-frame of her with a man.

That’s when the memories come rushing back.

The Iraqi war, the gunshot wound, talking to Emma for the last time on the phone, dying.

Emma, my lover, my wife. I left her alone. We had spent our honeymoon in Northern Australia. It’s where we made our most romantic memories. I gifted her that keychain she always holds on to. Is this why she was at Alice Springs?

She takes the photo-frame and holds it close. She doesn’t cry but only looks up at the ceiling.
“You said you would be with me forever Dave. Why aren’t you here right now?” she asks
But I’m here with you Emma. I’m still here. I never wanted to leave you. I promised you I would come back home from that war. I try to touch her but I can’t.

I’m here but not really.

Just then the doorbell rings. Emma forces herself out of bed to answer.

“Mike. What are you doing here?” she asks

“Your mom said you are back in town. I wanted to see you. Even since Dave went you’ve been at that place.” He says

“I don’t want to see anyone Mike. Go away.” Says Emma

“Emma. I love you. I always have. I was content playing the best friend because I knew you were happy with Dave.

You can’t hold onto him anymore. It’s been two years already.”
With this Emma breaks down.

“How can I love anyone ever again?”

“You can try. Try with me.”

As this scene unfolds a part of me disappears. I understand now. The more Emma held onto to me, the longer I stayed in this dimension. She has let go off me a little when she decided to move away from Alice Springs back to Sydney.

I look at Mike. I might not be here much longer.

Emma and I met in high school. We loved each other more than anything else in the world. I decided to join the army because I thought it was the noble thing to do. Emma never complained. But inside she was always afraid I would die, and worst fears came true. She wasn’t able to let me go and that’s why I stayed near her in spirit. A part of me couldn’t let her go either.

As months pass, Emma returns to her normal job as a writer. With each passing day that Mike comes over, I fade away more and more. Eventually Mike proposes to Emma and she says yes. Seeing Emma happy made me make peace with myself and my decision to become a solider. I nearly didn’t exist now. I could see a bright light hovering over me, beckoning me to come. I know that I can finally move on.

Before leaving this dimension, I go over to Anzac hill in Alice Springs. I look over the place where Emma and I made our dearest memories.

Finally I fade away into the light and rest in peace.

Source of Keychain: Souvenir shop in Alice Springs

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