(there is a version of this on PW, because I needed feedback from a more open-minded bunch…)
I have two fears in life – spiders and ghosts. It matters not whether or not you believe in ghosts, because I do, and they terrify me in ways I can’t understand or rationalize. Yet I love ghosts stories they way some people love romance novels. The creepier and more outlandish the better.
I’d rather not talk about spiders.
Last night we went to be early, my husband and I, just before 11:00PM. This is *very* early for us, considering we’re up until 1:30AM during the week. Bedding down that early always means an early wake up, which on a Sunday I’d rather not have, but it will be a busy day, so I concede.
Sure enough at Butt o’Clock in the morning, I’m drifting awake. There are no cats stalking the bedclothes, because even they have the sense to be asleep, and the husband’s breathing is even but not deep. He’s coming around, too. Then he calls out, “Hello,” and not in a “hey, how’s it going”, more like a “excuse me but you may be lost in my apartment” kinda of way with a “maybe you should be going now” edge to his tone.
Tiny prickles of anxiety (we writers call “the icy fingers of fear”) break from their glacial shelves of Rational and Sensibility but I don’t panic. That would wake the cats and then we’d have get up and feed them. Instead, I mumble something that sounds like “hmphmnn?” Which every married couple interprets as “whazzat, baby?” The husband says, “dreamin'” which is fine. We both talk in our sleep from time to time. I snuggle back down thinking maybe I’ll get another hour before the cats get up, but he chases his somnolent declaration with, “Someone just walked through the room.”
Now I’m awake. Wide awake, and like a child I pull the covers over my head.
As the husband gets up he tells me about his dream, which has nothing to do with ghosts, in fact he never mentions “ghosts.” His dream is about me writing, and in his dream I’d gotten out of the “trap” of writing for a living. He said in his dream I was known as “the interesting one” which was better than the “loud-mouthed one”, referring to another woman with whom I was chatting. He said, “You told the woman that she talked and talked, but no one was really listening to anything she had to say.” My husband then crossed the foot of the bed, heading out the door to the hall, and with his right hand pointed down and behind him to the corner he’d just walked past and said, “Someone walked through the room.”
The language of marriage involves not only the verbal but the physiological. The sideways glance to the corner, the reluctant point – all basically said Doug wasn’t getting up to use the bathroom. He was up and it was going to be a permanent thing and coffee would be involved. I decided at that point I was done with sleeping as well and maybe the living room would be a nice change of scenery. It was 5:00AM. 10 minutes later we’ve turned on the lights, the TV, and the coffee is perking. So long sleep.
If the southwest corner connected led to any other part of the apartment, like the living room or even the kitchen, it would be easier to believe we were being burgled (yay! home invasion! the comforting alternative!), but it shares the outside wall. There’s nothing over there but a rollaway shelf, some stuffed animals, and on the other side, the below freezing temps of the driveway.
I’m back in the bedroom writing this, because if I don’t think, if I don’t believe it’s an isolated event, I’ll never be able to sleep in here again, and it’s the only apartment we have right now.
If this were a horror movie, I’d be calling an old priest and a young priest, but I’d really rather leave it be. It could be an isolated incident of bi-location, or maybe the misfire of a synapse in my husband’s brain. It could be someone (something) simply passing through, folding time and space like a Mobius Strip to walk across the flattened intersection.
Except I’m a writer, and we all know how this is going to end.
I will now open the floor to wild speculation.