When I was fifteen I felt sure that I heard the Banshee in the woods below our house. It was also just about the time that I wanted to be Gudrun in the D.H. Lawrence novel, Women in Love. I tried to emulate her as best I could. I wore wine coloured stockings or blue if I could find them and Liberty print smocks that my mother bought for me at great cost and I even had a leather satchel and flat brown shoes, a cloche on my head was, as I recall the icing on the cake. Why am I writing this? Foxes. Full moon. Foxes at night crying out in the field to the south, over beyond the dormant ditches and the nothing coloured gorse that this time of year brings and the crying out of nature like the world has come to an end. We heard it the other night. The strange keening of the foxes. The loss. The grieving sound. I had not heard it in all these years and it finally closed a door for me.
Banshees cry out for the dead or the death to come. I believed in that a long time ago in the old house where I lived with my parents when I thought I was Gudrun or wanted to be Gudrun. One night I woke to a strange crying sound and the terror of all terrors struck me as I lay in bed and believed a Banshee howled and moaned over death in the woods below the window. For a week after that I could not sleep as I believed someone close to me was going to die. Sure enough. Death befell the priest's housekeeper next door as she plugged in an iron to where the faulty wiring electrocuted her and she died on the spot. I was out of my mind with fear. I did not sleep for months after that and spent nights with D.H. and David Cassidy's portrait and wondered how he could have such white teeth and straight hair as the large poster on the wall never revealed any deformity and I wondered what he would have thought of Gudrun as she mulled over deep thoughts and rambled the woods and thought about things that could not be uttered in those days.
My parents never knews of the Banshee. I never told them. Sure enough I heard them as they murmured together at night in the big bedroom where the fireplace was never lit. They spoke more at night to eachother rather than in the day time. I never knew why. There voices came all soothing and calm and rarely rose but kept even like endless foggy days. I never knew what they spoke of. I never knew where I was going either. All I knew was that I wanted to be Gudrun but I guessed too that I never would be. I knew I would never meet David Cassidy or have teeth like him. I knew that Mary, the housekeeper to the priest next door died because of negligence by the priest because he did not have the house wired properly and I knew nobody would ever talk about that or if they did it would be like my parents in the secret chambers of their night conversations. I knew Mary had no family. I knew she liked to come to our house sometimes because my mother made scones and poured tea from a silver teapot, and it was real tea too made from tea leaves and not tea bags and we would sit by the fire where the coal threw out zillions of possibilities and I knew that Mary loved it all because it was the first home she probably ever knew. And I often think of her. I doubt that she ever read D. H. Lawrence or heard of David Cassidy but there was something awful special about her, it was as if any small tiny gesture mattered to her, she was something pure, and then I wonder too if I did hear a fox or was it really the banshee I heard that night in the old house in the woods and if I told somebody they might have fixed the wiring in the priest's house and Mary could have carried on with her ironing that day and the priests clothes would have been all shiny and spick and span and I could have carried on dreaming about Gudrun and her tights and smocks and leather satchels and love affairs and all those things that seem silly now. Mary was real and she was special. And nobody knew that. Not even Mary.