How Ghosts Work

Last night, much like two years ago, I watched fireworks from a carnival at Jen and Ron’s church. Having narrowly missed the display last year, I opted to drive to a nearby playground ahead of time instead of meeting at their house and walking there.

I was about 10 or 15 minutes early, so I climbed to the top of the tower with my tiny bottle of wine and nestled on the floor next to the cave-like entrances of two slides. For some reason I started thinking about my dad. I realized it had been exactly two months, and I mulled that over for any meaning. I dangled my feet off the edge, laid on my back, stared at the moon and told my dad about my day. I poured out a tiny bit of wine for him, laughed to myself about it, then tried to recall if I had ever seen him drink wine. I decided that I hadn’t. I wondered why he was so present in my thoughts right then, right there, surrounded by empty swings and wood chips. I bit my lip, tried to absorb the tears back into my eyes before they spilled over, and then I glanced over and saw the silhouettes of Jen, Ron and Nick making their way toward me.

Then: fireworks. Slow but loud, thanks to the chill in the air. I shrieked with joy during the unexpectedly huge finale.

This morning my mom asked me where I was the night before. I described the carnival and the parish school. I said the name of the road and she said the name of the church with surprise. “By the train tracks,” she clarified, not a question. I nodded.

“Did you know that’s where Dad went to grade school?” she asked. I hadn’t.

After the fireworks, we had relaxed in Jen and Ron’s living room and talked about ghosts. They mentioned a friend of Ron’s mom who claims that she summons spirits.

Next year during the fireworks I’ll remember to say hi to my Dad’s kid ghost, who was probably sitting right next to me and not on the moon like I had assumed. And I’ll pour out a juice box instead, or maybe a beer, because my dad was the type of Norman Rockwellian 1950’s kid who would probably sneak up behind his dad Findley and steal a sip or two. That’s obvious to me, now that we’ve hung out and all.

I drove all the way downtown just to tell you that story. Wasn’t that nice of me?


Filed under Sam I Am

2 responses to “How Ghosts Work

  1. Jen

    Thank you! A damn near perfect story, if I do say so myself πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    I think you should bring your dad’s kid ghost something fun – like sparklers and maybe a snake or a toad.

  2. Vern

    Very touching and spooky all at once. I recommend Bazooka gum. πŸ˜‰

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