Happy is he who...writes from the love of imparting certain thoughts and not from the necessity of sale-who writes always to the unknown friend.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)





Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Nice Pair of Shoes

“I am getting mud all over my Jimmy Choo’s!”

“Then why are you wearing them?” Becky asked as we made our way through the darkened graveyard.

“Because they look cute with my outfit.” Lisa replied.

“Becky, why are we here?” I asked weaving between the branches of the pine trees. They grew like sentinels along the wrought-iron fence that marched around the perimeter of the cemetery. The white fire of the moon barely penetrated their dense growth offering us glimpses of a trail that was meant to be trod by day.

“It’s All Hallows Eve,” she said punctuating her words with a wave of her fairy wand. Her fake fairy wings brushed against me, shedding glitter. I sighed, I would never get all that glitter off.

“Becky, if you start with that “tonight is the night that the walls between the worlds grow thin” nonsense I am going to hit you with my matching Jimmy Choo bag.”

“Cute bag, by the way,” I said.

“I know!” Lisa squealed. “And I got it on sale,” she whispered conspiratorially. She was dressed as Marie Antoinette. Well, how Marie Antoinette would have dressed if she had a pimp.

I was still wearing the scrubs from my shift at the hospital. I hadn’t expected to get off work in time to take part in the festivities. I was on call and fully expected to have to go back. Ask any paramedic or police officer about the full moon and they will all tell you the same story. It brings out the crazy in people. No idea why, but it does.

I hadn’t been paying attention to where we were going. I had been too busy fighting branches and avoiding spider webs that spanned the distance from one tree to the next like silver necklaces that danced with dew.

I almost collided with the bustle of Lisa’s dress when we stopped suddenly. The un-weathered marble of the tombstone marked this as a new grave. I did not need to read the name to know what it said. I came here often.

“Becky,” I exhaled.

“I know sweetie, but it has been almost a year. You need to deal with your grief and put it behind you.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean why?” Becky asked shrugging her shoulders which caused a dusting of glitter to settle around the grave. I sighed again. It was getting to be a habit.

“I mean, why do I have to move on? I loved him. Why is a year all I get to mourn?”

“It’s just no good for you to carry all that sorrow around,” Lisa said as she moved to stand on my other side, aerating the soil with the heels of her shoes.

“Listen, I know you two mean well. But it’s too soon. Just give me some time.”

Becky had brought along a huge bag that no self-respecting fairy would have dared carry. She patted me on the shoulder and put the bag on the ground. As she began to unpack it I couldn’t help but think of Mary Poppins. Sweet ways to make the medicine go down began to filter through my brain.

“Great, I will never get that out of my head now,” I mumbled as she continued to unpack.

Becky was a Wiccan. Judging from the items she was pulling out of her bag, she viewed it as a religion. I wondered when all this had happened. But then, I will not profess to have paid much attention to my friends in the last year.

I watched as she drew a circle around the grave in salt. She placed four black candles on the ground and lit them. Chills ran up my spine as she began to chant. Lisa chanted along with her in a strong confident voice. They had obviously been planning this.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“We are going to raise his ghost so that we can find out who his killer is,” Lisa said nonchalantly. “Maybe if we can get him some justice you will be able to move on.”

A wind picked up, scattering the fallen Maple leaves that had left their trees barren skeletons. I watched as they swirled and eddied, and yet inside the circle the air was still. The flames on the candles never flickered. The hair on my arms stood on end as I turned back to Lisa and Becky and the ghost of my lover, Brett.

My mouth feel open as I looked at him. He seemed so real. No transparent ghost here, but lifelike, corporeal. “Brett, who killed you? Can you spell it?” Becky asked holding up a Ouija board for him to point to. He didn’t need it. Instead he raised his arm, clad in the suit his mother picked out for him, and pointed to me.

As we stood there the ghosts of all the others gathered around outside the circle. I saw my neighbor who always stole my paper. The guy from down the street that let his dog use my yard as his personal toilet. My old gym teacher from high school. He was my first. I killed him after our final track meet when he caught me alone in the locker room. I was proud of that one. I turned to look at my two friends who were staring at me in shock and horror tinged with dawning comprehension.

“Well, this is really annoying” I said taking the scalpel from my pocket. “I told you two to leave things alone. But you just wouldn’t listen.”

Afterward, I cleaned the blood of my two friends off on my scrubs. As their ghosts joined the army of phantom onlookers I reached down and slid Lisa’s shoes off her feet, grabbed the matching bag and dumped the contents on top of her.

“There truly isn’t anything like a nice pair of shoes.”

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