Excerpt from "The Ghost of Friends":
On Thanksgiving morning, I was making coffee when Jeff strolled out of his room. I debated what I should say. When my hands were busy filling the pot in the sink, I said, “I saw Blair’s ghost last night.”
“I haven’t seen him,” Jeff said, “but I’ve been pretty sure he was here.” I don’t know what I expected to hear, but that wasn’t it. Jeff is very down-to-earth, feet on the ground. If he could sense the ghost, then something must surely be there.
He told me, “One morning I was lying in bed in that half-awake state, thinking about the ghost. I felt a blast of wind blow straight up the length of my body into my face. When I opened my eyes, there was nothing to be seen—and nowhere for the wind to have come from.”
I shivered. Jeff slept in the bed where Blair suffered and died. It was all I could do to make myself sit on the bed when we watched a movie.
“Did he speak to you?” Jeff asked.
“I wonder what he wants.”
Of course, it could all be shrugged off as the power of suggestion on susceptible minds. I was very high, then sleepy; Jeff was half-awake. But it makes sense to me that if you don’t have a corporeal body to affect real space, you have to work in those times and spaces when people will be most likely to sense you. Or maybe he’s there all the time and we’re only able to perceive him when we’ve lowered our resistance.
The last time I saw Blair’s ghost, he was full color. He wore a red flannel shirt over black jeans, just as in life. His hands were linked behind his head as he lounged on the bed, ankles crossed. His black hair had grown out to the velvet stage. He looked healthier than he had in the entire last year of his life. His dark eyes sparkled as he grinned at me: Gotcha.
Immediately, I turned back to the stereo. It was Monday. Blair had died on a Monday. He’d died in the afternoon, in this room, on that same side of the bed.
All that flashed through my mind, followed by a rush of fear. I did not want to have my back turned to Blair’s ghost.
I whirled around so fast that I stumbled against the bookshelf and had to reach out to steady myself. The bed was empty again. Blair was gone.
I reached the incense down from the bookshelf and lit a stick of Blair’s favorite sandalwood. I waved the smoke over the bed and myself before leaving it to burn on the bedside table.“Be at peace,” I wished him, but I had the sense that he was.
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