GHOST (1990) is a romantic fantasy about a dead banker's attempts to communicate with his living wife through a psychic who doesn't know her powers are real.
06/02/11 | Film


by Feliz Lucia Molina

They are tearing a house down. An axe, dust masks, hazy figures. It seems a useful way to begin this way. I don’t question it. They know better anyhow. Different sources of light fall from a hole in a shaft, the window next to the TV, a cell-phone screen, and mostly the bathroom where she always goes. I’m just glad she didn’t ask me to take her during the movie.

Demi Moore says things to Patrick Swayze who turns and says things to the friend who kills him later on. Obviously someone dies. I ask her, the one who always needs to go the bathroom, if Patrick Swayze already died and she says it’s too bad he already did.

Outside the sun is real bright which goes real good with the haze and dust that Demi and Patrick are moving through. The friend focuses in and out. This is how you know he’s bad. This is how you can tell someone dies by his hand. But Demi and Patrick seem real happy so it’s easy to not notice because mostly, you just want to know where all this is going.

The walls they tear through take them somewhere hollow and wide. They’re happy in dust masks. They could be happy in anything because they’re movie stars. For a moment everything in the room feels exactly the way they do. I start to feel like all of them on the TV. Patrick’s tanned abs glow. I think Demi’s tits perk up. No one cares about the friend’s cock or shy parts because most of him seems unfocused and sketchy anyway. I get up and try to move the curtain over the window because it’s a little too bright for a sexy scene.

The brightness coming from the TV seems heavenly. The heavenly brightness is glowing from the nineteen nineties. I sit back down and look over at the one who always needs to go to the bathroom. It seems brightly clear she has not really aged since at least 1990. I look at her every time something sexy happens as a way of getting over a weird shy thing starting to harden in my stomach.

I think Patrick Swayze is the only real thing we have in common, hardly Demi Moore. I wonder if it’s a younger and brighter Patrick Swayze that makes the situation of being here a bit more interesting and tolerable. Obviously there are things, like nostalgia and death, that can lighten or darken any situation, but those things are too awkward to talk about with someone whom you have to take to the bathroom so often.

I think Patrick Swayze died to her and me in 1990 when the movie first came out.

I text someone asking didn’t he die already even though she already told me he did because I need to include a caption beneath a photo of the living room where the TV has the movie playing. Of course I took a cell-phone photo of the situation where there are ghosts that appear from different angles.

Now Demi can’t sleep and she’s alone in her studio. It’s grey on most parts of the screen. It’s grey throughout the new loft apartment she and Patrick live in, even in the spaces and rooms we cannot see. I wonder what the grey looks like and feels like to the one who always needs to go the bathroom. Breaths from an oxygen tank fluff up and down and nothing moves.

Patrick comes down to Demi’s studio. I don’t know why it feels like he walked downstairs from something but the thing hardening in my stomach goes soft.

And he’s got his shirt off. Her legs are wide open with a chunk of soft clay spinning between her thighs. He sits behind her, hands over hers while hers are wet from shaping a grey figure and the one sitting next to me is wet too, but for reasons that have no control like old age.

A record stops. More things shuffle past; men in an office, a life-size angel-sculpture swinging upward several stories, a beaten neighborhood in Brooklyn, and finally we reach Whoopie Goldberg. Patrick Swayze is dead by now and needs Whoopie’s help because being dead he gets to find out all sorts of things.

Some other ghost shows him how to knock and move objects around without a body. That other ghost was weird and jumped into the ditch of an incoming train and I thought of a friend of a friend who dropped his cell-phone and died that way too. The one sitting next to me that always needs to go the bathroom is already asleep.

Whoopie doesn’t want to help Patrick probably because he’s a rich dead white guy but I can’t tell. It’s funny to be racist toward a ghost. He keeps her up all night singing Henry The Eighth I Am. Whoopie is real good at being pissed off and so is the one sleeping, especially when having to get out of a chair and onto the toilet. Most of the time we’re successful in moving between the bathroom and living room and all the time she says is it cold outside and where’s the sun, I love the sun.

But who needs the sun when the TV is real bright and it makes us mostly happy.

I go back and forth between the window and TV feeling the same light and brightness from both and it seems colder in the TV not because Whoopie and Patrick are walking around cold wind in downtown, but because we are indoors and Demi won’t let them in and the one that needs the bathroom often says how cold is it outside.

The weather is a miraculous thing like God because everyone knows how to talk about it and everyone has heard of God and most miracles involve the weather somehow.

A crucifix hangs on the wall by the TV. Whoopie is screaming from Demi’s window to please open the door. I get up to lock the door by the kitchen because I don’t want someone to walk in and see what we’re doing. It’s a little embarrassing because what if the one that always needs to go to the bathroom already went in the wheelchair while asleep and what if someone finds out I let this happen because I wanted to keep watching the movie, wanted to see Demi let them in at the expense of a wet diaper.

No one tries to open the door by the kitchen.

By now, I just want to see the penny already. It happens in exactly the same way I saw it for the first time in 1990, except now it’s a little more miraculous and the one asleep is now awake. Light outside is clouded over and the TV glows copper and pink.

Whoopie slides a penny beneath a door where Patrick is on the same side as Demi.

Patrick concentrates hard with his index finger. The penny slowly slides up and whatever was hardening and softening in my stomach isn’t there anymore. Of course I am reminded of a few things like the Eucharist and those tiny round hosts at Mass and wonder if pennies function the same only because they’re both round and hold some form of currency like survival and faith and now Demi is crying and so are we.

Someone is trying to open the door by the kitchen. Demi lets Whoopie in.

I wipe my eyes to ignore the miracle on TV because no one would believe it, not even if you paid them.

Half an hour goes by.

I turned to the one asleep and said, wake up you’re not dead yet, this is the part when Patrick goes to heaven.