My daughter graduates from high school on June 2. This month has been a whirl of AP tests, college placement tests, robe and yearbook pick-ups, Senior Ball, skate practice ramping up for the Regional and National championships and the list goes on and on and on. Tomorrow she signs up for classes at college. The eldest child who is already off at college is getting worked up for Grad school after he graduates next year.
I’ve started the empty nest post about six or seven times. They were in Middle School and High School when I started blogging. But no matter how old they are I’m still a mom. I’ll always be Vampire Maman. Sigh.
So I’m drinking way too much coffee and trying to write today when I look out into the predawn light and see not one, but five Ghosts out on my deck. There are three men, a woman, and a dog. And don’t tell me that dogs have no souls (because if you say otherwise you don’t know shit about dogs or ghosts.)
I sat as still as death, which isn’t difficult, and watched the Ghosts.
Nigel was there of course. He is always here lurking around and semi haunting me. The woman was willow thin wearing a white sundress with her long brown hair flowing down to the middle of her back. The large black Lab mix stood leaning against her leg. It wore a white bow around it’s neck. Like Nigel, she was young, in her twenties. The tallest of the men had dark hair with gray streaks along his temples. He wore blue scrubs, like a doctor would wear. The other man wore a bright red and blue Hawaiian shirt and shorts. He was a really big guy, not just fat, but big. He must have been about 6’5″. As usual Nigel was in a black dress pants, with a black shirt and black tie.
“So what did they do with your bodies?” I could hear the woman say.
“I was cremated. My wife had me on the mantle for a while until her lover moved in. Then I was dumped in the river during the Salmon run. The salmon part was the kid’s idea. They’re still pissed off at my wife. They found out she had been cheating on me for years before I died,” said the doctor.
“Oh man, that is rough,” said the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. “Cremated too. My family took me out on a fishing boat in the ocean. My son threw up over the edge after he dumped my ashes. Poor guy still feels bad about it. I was laughing the entire time. He’ll be fine, my son Kyle that is. I’m just glad I got to meet my grandkids before I died. How about you Angie?”
“I’m buried not far from Nigel. Roxie here was buried with me. We died together. Car accident. Anybody donate organs?”
The all shook their heads yes.
The doctor had slipped on some blood in the emergency room and hit his head on the side of a table. He’d died immediately. The guy in the Hawaiian shit had been doing some avian research with in Africa contracted a rare brain parasite. apparently Nigel was the only one who was murdered, as least as far as they knew.
The doctor rolled his shoulders and transformed out of the scrubs into a button down shirt and jeans. “Are we the only Ghosts in the class of 77? We’ve lost about 30 people so far. We can’t be the only Ghosts.”
“Deena Adams died of a drug overdose in 88,” said the woman. “Do you know if she’s still around?”
“Do we want her around? She’s probably some pathetic poltergeist, or worse. She was a pain in the ass when she was alive, so do you really want the dead version around?”
“Oh Nigel that is cruel.”
“No, it is the truth. She’d ruin the party for us and try to completely destroy it for our living classmates.”
I realized that they were planning their 40th class reunion.
Nigel looked up and scowled then flipped me off. I went outside and said, “Then get off of my fucking deck. Just you Nigel. Your friends can stay.”
I went back inside and finished up what I was doing. I swear sometimes I wonder what it is with Ghosts.
But I thought of them, the Ghosts, two middle-aged, two in their twenties, and a dog of unknown age, sharing memories of their high school years. Even ghosts have their own kind of catching up to do.
I think about my kids, and even myself thinking back. My children think back on when they were small. I think back when I was their age, then later. I’m one hundred years older than those ghosts out there and I still look back to 1877 when I was seventeen, almost eighteen.
More than anything I’m thinking ahead. What will the future bring to my children who are young adults? I should be thinking of my own future, but after doing that for so many years just don’t do it anymore. Maybe tomorrow.
Nigel did come back later. He stood in front of my bookcases and smiled, his ghost eyes twinkling under his long dark eyelashes.
“What?” I said.
“Nothing,” he said. Then he vanished without so much as a wisp of mist. That’s a ghost for you.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman