My celestial salutation and a voice from beyond

- WordSmith by Gerard Smith -

A warm sun greeted me as I stepped off the bus in Cavan Town after 30 years in London. I carried a small backpack containing: laptop, underwear, socks, toothpaste, tooth brush, and a dead goldfish. In the months prior to my departure I’d sold and given all my worldly possessions away (worthless junk, mostly). Stepping off that bus, I felt a floating sense of freedom.

The old town looked the same, yet it didn’t. Strangely, it had grown younger-looking over the years. Under the glow of a Summer sun it appeared fresher; flowers bloomed in beds and hanging-baskets. It looked like one of those manicured celluloid towns, far removed from the decrepitude place of my youth.

At the house a platter of sandwiches awaited me with a post-it-note, ‘Welcome Home Gerard.’ I was touched by my new neighbour’s thoughtfulness; in London all my neighbours gave was negligence and noise. I took off my backpack, slumped on the couch, sighed, and gave a celestial salutation, “Hello Dad, I made it home.”

I jolted when a booming voice replied, “GERARD!” I shot up, “Who’s that?” I asked, running to the hallway. No one there. At the foot of the stairs, I shouted, “Is there someone up there?” No reply. I scratched my head and went back into the living room, “GERARD!” This time, I heard the timbre of Dad’s annoyance in the voice.

Dad always called me, “Son.” Unless he was annoyed with me, then I was, “GERARD!” I was tired and emotional, but not enough to be having auditory hallucinations. Outside, I paced. I wondered if my return had given me the gift of communicating with the deceased. And instead of asking questions designed to have people self-reveal, like, “I’ve an older man coming through whose name begins with P, do you know who that could be?"

Perhaps, I had a direct line to the dead? I told myself to cop-on, and went back inside for my phone, “GERARD!” The voice was in the house. I darted round every room, searching. I was alone in the house, seemingly. This voice was coming from somewhere beyond.

Outside, I phoned the bro. He answered immediately, I babbled, “Listen, I’ve arrived back, I can hear Dad shouting my name, like when he’s pissed off with me…”

There was an interminable pause before the bro answered; the annoyance in his voice, evident, “GERARD! Don’t be daft, Dad’s dead! It’s me trying to get your attention through the camera I installed, but you keep running outta the F***ING house!”

That was my Mediumship career, crushed. However, later that week I did have a very real visitation. Early evening, I was sitting at home when a car pulled up. At the door stood a man, “Isn’t that a great evening,” he said, walking passed me into the living room. I recognised his accent as that of Dad’s friend from Northern Ireland. I was touched he’d come to visit. “Would you like a tea or coffee?” I asked, as he took to the couch. “I, I’ll take a coffee, one sugar and a good drop-a-milk.”

“Thanks for coming, I appreciate it,” I said, giving him the coffee. He stared out the window, “Great view you have,” he said, slurping. I nodded agreement while searching for things to say, “Did you have a long drive?” I winced at the banality of my question. He shrugged, “Not at all, a hop down the road is all…” He continued talking, but I was distracted by footfall upstairs.

“Is someone with you?” I asked. “I, the wife.”

“What’s she doing upstairs?”


“Unpacking what?” I asked, my skin prickling. He put the coffee down, “You don’t know who we are, do you?”

I detected malevolence in his delivery of the question. “I do, you're dad’s friend from Newry.” His head swivelled and he stood up, “I don’t know who your father is.”

I stood on raised toes and breathed-in, to broaden my shoulders, “Then what are you doing here?” I asked, trying not to sound too adversarial.

He deflated, looked around and asked, “Is this not the Bed and Breakfast we’re booked into?”

A warm sun saluted them as they sped down the driveway towards the B&B.

In my first week back in Cavan, it was a case of mistaken-mediumship and house-identity.


Black-Jack and the undercover exhumation