As a poet, I have ghost stories and I have GHOST Stories. For now, I will share the tale of the ghost of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. He needs a name. How about Alfred. I have a friend who lives in Negril, Jamaica. His hair is so thin you can see right through it. His name is Alfred.
Recently, I spent two nights at the lighthouse with three other women. It was pegged as a time to get lots of writing (and eating) done. The weather was cool and though it never rained, it threatened each day. The gray sky turned a shade of light purple a time or two, and then it went to dark. It was excellent for being inside and taking walks long enough to get your shoes and socks wet.
One of the ladies, after a wonderful dinner of leek soup, vegan macaroni and cheese and varied conversation, told us she did not believe in ghosts. I was amazed, truly amazed. What was she talking about? I guessed she also didn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy? What about Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer? Because I did and do believe in ghosts, fairies and myths. I sadly shook my head. She looked at me like she wanted to say something, excused herself and mumbled something about being in the middle of editing Chapter 18 of her book. I ran my fingers over the gluten-free bread crumbs that had fallen to the table, all that was left of the mac and cheese.
That night I woke up with the distinct weight of someone beside me. It was a man. A heavy, quite large man. A snoring man. He had stolen some of the bed covers. I hoped that my husband had surprised me. But he was not invited, it was a woman’s weekend. I reached over to ask the snorer to roll over. I then had a better idea. I suggested he move on, into Norma’s room. She didn’t believe in ghosts, surely she would not mind.
Alfred left as soundlessly as he had arrived. The bed was warmer on that side, I rolled over and fell into a sweet deep sleep.
I woke early. I was the first one downstairs the next morning. Making myself a cup of tea I was startled to hear someone on the creaky stairs. In a house built in 1909 things creak and groan. Someone was making their way down in the weak morning, light. It was Norma. She looked exhausted.
“You will never believe this,” she said. “I woke up to the sound of water running, I’m sure I shut off the faucet after brushing my teeth last night and yet it was more than dripping, it was running. When I got up to shut if off I thought and felt that I wasn’t alone.” I hid my chuckle in my steam of peppermint.
“I was afraid to look up into the mirror” she appeared stunned with herself, with the possibilities of having encountered a ghost.
I told her about the heaviness in my bed, about how the man I named Alfred warmed my bed and I didn’t think she’d mind the same loving kindness. Again, she looked at me with wide eyes and a slight shake of her head. She mentioned a new chapter, the editing that had to be done. When she left, I made another cup of tea, placed it in the windowsill to steep, hoping Alfred would know it was for him.
Patty Joslyn moved back to Mendocino County in 2012 from Vermont where she worked in End-Of-Life Care, she is fascinated by death, as she is with birth–as passages into new realms. A writer, she has been published in El Calendario de Todos Santos, poetsonline.org, VOYA, several anthologies and has been a guest reader at many events. Patty has seven self-published chapbooks. She and her husband share four wonderful children. Patty still has not fully recovered from her empty nest syndrome. www.22pearls.blogspot.com