Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 33

Vera Kurian | 33

for two weeks―I never knew her name, she didn't talk much―she died by drowning. But never the logistics of what happened after. These relationships were lopsided because clearly they had more interesting pieces of information to share, although they never did. Where did they come from? Why did they gravitate toward my house? Did they communicate with one another? If I pushed on these questions they would leave and not come back. Which frustrated me because there was one question that I desperately wanted to ask.

If I didn't upset them, they told me they loved me. They watched TV with me. They read recipes for me so that I wouldn't have to run back and forth across the kitchen. They kept me company for four years. But they clearly had some limitations, because they never appeared outside the house, and they would never appear when I brought people over. Although I didn't have people over very often.

We had had such grand plans for entertaining in the house. What I had in mind was not eating popcorn by myself, watching a movie with a dead girl. The house was supposed to be for multi-room parties, elaborate dinners where I would cook all day and we would eat to the point of bursting. I imagined the house slowly morphing from old and slightly dilapidated to something historically chic, something with depth and heart, a home.

My house was close to Meridian Hill Park, one of many Queen Anne style rowhouses in the neighborhood that were designed by Melvin Hensey in the 1880s. Several families had lived there through the years, some who were influential in DC society back in the day―a politician, a publisher, a surgeon married to the secretary general of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Esme liked to wander through the house, wondering how each family had arranged their parlor, who had slept in which bedroom, who came over to eat and what was served. She had, ironically, been convinced