Every time I visit my father-in-law’s house, I have to look at this picture because it gives me the willies.
His house is pre-Revolutionary War and crawling with ghost stories.
There is the standard Lady in White, who haunts the upper hall. They say her son fell from the landing and died.
My cousin Gail says, “I saw her in the hall one time.”
“Yeah,” my husband says. “But you were hopped up on drugs.”
“Ssh,” she says.
Then they go out and tramp in the woods to visit the boy’s gravesite.
The stairs are steep and go straight up. We counted them once, there are twenty-one in total. My boys go up and down them. I follow at their heels, jumping at the slightest slip.
When we moved into our old house in Church Hill, I dreamt of a ghost in the hall. Another lady in white. The house was built in 1850 and had stained glass windows. The original heart of pine floors were ravaged by fire. I dreamt that she floated in the middle of the hall. Because she was happy that we were there.
But maybe it was just me. We had a big party that first night we moved in and when I got in bed, I had the spins.
Sometimes, the radio would turn on in the middle of the day to a light rock station, playing some Hall & Oates song.
“That ghost must love the ’80s,” my husband said.
A train would call in the middle of the night, choo-choo, from my son’s electronic puzzle.
When the wind blew, the house creaked. I would be writing, this novel that I’m still writing, and think that somebody was walking on the stairs, even though I was the only one home.
I looked at Google images of my old house the other day. And it was like seeing a ghost. The photos were taken when we still lived there. My son’s blue ball was in the garden. My heart seized.
Our past, captured as if it were the present, just out of reach.