By Bernie Bell
I don’t tend to watch horror films – there’s enough scope in life for being frightened, without inflicting that stuff on my brain. But I remember seeing the original 1922 film, ‘Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror’, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosferatu when I was at Uni. It was on at the film society – the Sunday night film was a big part of life in Lampeter – a small market town in mid-Wales so, me and my friends always went to see the film, pretty much whatever it was.
After the film, we went to the bar, and I was saying that I felt sorry for him – for Nosferatu. I was thinking – imagine being so alone. Living on and on, when all those you care about and all those who care for you, are gone. I was teased for this – one person accusing me of having ‘sympathy for the devil’ (Rolling Stones reference), but I stuck to my guns – I felt sorry for him, very sorry for him. Imagine being so alone. I’m from a big family – for me, it was unimaginable, and an unimaginably sad idea.
I then read Bram Stokers original novel, and he also, I think, had sympathy for the lone lost soul.
Then, I used to think about Mike’s Granny. Granny lived to be 100, but, long before that, all her siblings and the friends of her youth and younger days, were gone. She was called Octavia, being the last of eight children – but all her siblings were gone. She was a sociable woman, and made new friends and had a social life. One Christmas me and Mike got her a nice new pack of playing cards, and a half bottle of gin, as that’s what she liked to do – meet up with her friends to play cards and have a gin & tonic. She made the most of her life, as long as she could, but I used to think what must it be like, to not have anyone left to share references and memories with? The younger family members would know some of the family stories, but it’s not the same as a shared knowledge with those who were actually there.
And now I’m beginning to feel that way myself. My parents and all my siblings have gone. There are plenty of the younger generation, some of whom have an interest in family histories and stories. Mostly, I don’t think they are all that interested, and why should they be? They have their own lives to live, and their own memories and stories to make.
My old friends and the people I know are going, too. More and more of them – far too many in this past year. And I’m thinking about those that are left, and valuing them, more and more.
These days, I can’t watch the last episode of ‘Still Game’ – where they all fade away, one by one, as it’s a bit too close to home. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/04/05/the-end-of-still-game/
This morning, thinking of the year just gone, and the years to come, I realised that I’m beginning to feel like Dracula, or Nosferatu – thinking of those who have gone, and those who are left – including myself – and how my passing might affect their lives, or not.
I’m not being gloomy about it – what’s the point in that? I’m just realising, and thinking that maybe that was what was in Bram Stoker’s mind, when he formulated the story – the idea of – how must it feel to live on, when those you care about, are gone?
It doesn’t feel good.