Authors: S. Swan
. J. Swan
Copyright © 201
2 S. J. Swan
All rights reserved.
To Dad, I miss you.
Special thanks Derek, Savannah (
for 5” wedge heels
), and Jamie for the support; Marlee Rose for proof reading; Carlita for the encouragement; thank you to my friends for inspiring me.
Mom appeared at the kitchen table. We argued earlier. Now, Mom blasted me with her cold stare, but refused to speak. She could be so childish. She sported a red flight attendants uniform, circa 1963, complete with red pill box hat and red and white polka dot scarf.
Why does she always have to wear those stupid uniforms?
Mom was a flight attendant for thirty years. She insisted on wearing in a uniform each time she visited.
My mother suffer
ed from an unusual condition, death. Four years ago, Mom died in a fatal house cleaning accident. Attempting to remove cobwebs from curtains, she lost her balance; fell out the window and down three stories. Her neck broke on impact. A week after her burial, Mom appeared in my bed room “Don’t think that my death gives you the right to lie in that bed all day,” a voice said. Not just a voice, Mom.
I shot up to find Mom sitting at the end of my bed. I took a deep breath, closed my
eyes, and re-opened them. Mom’s image remained. I touched Mom, but my hand went through. I looked at my hand slick with condensation. Mom consisted of fog made up of cold vapor. It felt like slime.
I wiped my hand on the blankets.
“Ecto Plasm, I guess
,” Mom said.
“What are you?”
, as a kid, how you loved the movie
Mom asked. “I’m like those ghosts now.” I stared blankly at Mom. A hysterical scream rose up in my throat, but refused to come out. “What?” she asked.
“That doesn’t change the fact that I’m still your mother.”
“But, you’re dead!” I
shouted on the brink of hysteria.
“Cassandra Rose! Calm down!” Mom reserved my full first and middle name for when
I upset her. I eyed her, terrified. She softened “Cassie, Dear, don’t look at me like that.” She touched my face, but her hand dissipated to mist. I shivered. “I don’t like this anymore than you do. I’m dead, for heaven sake!”
“Why are you here?” I asked
Her form flickered like a projection. “It’s probably some kind of transition period.”
“Do you think so?”
“Maybe we all go through it.” Mom shrugged. “Do you see ghosts often?”
“Just you, why?”
“Maybe it’s normal, but you’re not supposed to see me.”
Yes, I’m the one with the problem.
Mom made my room cold. I shivered and pulled the covers around me. “Maybe I have unfinished business with you,” Mom said. “I’ve read that spirits can’t cross over if they have unfinished business.”
For the last fo
ur years, I’ve tried everything to help Mom cross into the light, or whatever it’s called. Nothing worked. I hired mediums, psychics and paranormal investigators with no relief. We made discoveries about Mom’s condition. She toggled between my apartment and the spirit realm, which she called the “green room,” because it reminded her of the waiting room on the Tonight Show set. Instead of waiting to go on stage, these guests wait for their turn to go behind a curtain. What’s behind the curtain? No one knew. Once a soul went behind the curtain, they never come back. Mom disliked the green room. It depressed her. Mom can’t materialize anywhere else,
d with other spirits, but could only communicate with me and one other living person, Jimmy Kim, a Korean-American psychic. He walked into my apartment and immediately asked, “Did your mother die in a plane crash?”
“Why is she dressed like a stewardess?”
Mom folded her arms and stamped her foot.
Jimmy looked at Mom and said,
“flight attendant, my mistake.” He could see and hear Mom. Jimmy was the real thing. I let out a sigh of relief.
Having my mother around cut into my social life.
I set up ground rules: no moving objects in front of anyone other than Jimmy; if I ever had male company, Jimmy not included, she stayed out of sight; no snooping in my things; and finally, she had to leave when I told her too. For the most part, Mom wasn’t a bother, but there were days, like today, when having Mom as a spectral roommate, annoyed me.
“I don’t see what the big deal is.” I said over Mom’s icy stare.
“The big deal is that you don’t want me around,” Mom said. I rolled my eyes. “Cassandra, don’t roll you’re eyes at me!”
Earlier, I told Mom that Jimmy Kim was coming over, and I
needed her to leave. Honestly, I didn’t intend to upset her. It was a request for privacy. However, the damage was done. “I don’t mean I don’t want you around
. I want some privacy tonight.”
“It’s just, Jimmy.”
Mom’s eyes lit up and she smiled “Is something going on?”
,” I said, squirming in my chair.
“What does that mean
?” she asked.
“It means that nothing will happen as long as
you’re always sitting between us.”
“Oh, Cassie, why didn’t you say it sooner?”
Mom bounced with excitement. “I’ve always thought you guys would make a cute couple.” Now Mom practically glowed.
“Mom, don’t get your hopes up.” I cautioned.
Shortly after Jimmy and I became friends, I fell in love with him. I wanted to tell him, but feared he didn’t feel the same. I asked him to give me a psychic reading. I hoped Jimmy would divine my ardor for him. “Read me.” I held out my hand to Jimmy.
He gave me a crooked smile.
“I can already read you,” Jimmy said, but took my hand anyway. He sandwiched my hand between his and closed his almond shaped eyes. Jimmy stayed quiet for several minutes. He screwed up his face, thinking. Jimmy’s eyes popped open. He let go of my hand like it shocked him. A sad expression crossed his face and then disappeared. “What?” I asked. “Is it bad?”
Jimmy let out a sigh. “It’s not bad.”
He bowed his head. “It was a good vision for you.” The look on Jimmy’s face said differently.
“Then what did you see?”
He doesn’t feel the same for me.
“I saw you in the arms of a man.”
“Who?” I wasn’t a social butterfly and didn’t date. I only knew one man, Jimmy.
He has to be seeing himself
“I couldn’t see him
,” Jimmy said. “You were straddling him.”
“Were we having sex?”
Great he saw me naked!
My face flushed.
. You were both dressed. You wore a black cocktail dress. You were kissing him. Your back was to me, but then you turned and looked at me. He had his hands around your waist.” Jimmy rubbed his forehead.
If you couldn’t see the man, are you sure it wasn’t you?” I asked.
I’m sure,” Jimmy said. “This man is your soul mate.”
You’re my soul mate.
“How do you know?” I asked.
“It was an intimate moment. You love this man. I felt it.”
“How do you know it wasn’t you?” I asked
again. I refused to believe it wasn’t Jimmy. I often fantasized about Jimmy in intimate ways. It fit with the vision.
“Cassie, I know it wasn’t me
,” Jimmy insisted. “You haven’t met this man yet.”
I still hadn’t met
the man. I spent most of my time with Jimmy. He was my best friend. Tired of waiting for the mystery man, I decided to act. I loved Jimmy and he was real, not a vision. I knew he had feelings for me too. I could persuade him to date me, if I could get him alone, but Mom never left us alone.
I planned a
romantic evening: candle light dinner, romantic movie, and the whole nine yards Wise to my plan, Jimmy insisted on my apartment for our evening, knowing Mom would chaperone. I didn’t let the location detour me. I worked too hard to make the evening enjoyable. I even bought a new outfit, which stretched my budget, since funds were always limited. I loved my position as a resource counselor, but it wasn’t a high paying job. I worked at Mary House in Indianapolis, a non-for-profit residential treatment facility for prostitutes. Grants and donations funded my salary. I made about thirty thousand a year. I didn’t work at Mary House for the pay. I loved my job and passionate about the cause.
I only bought new clothes for funerals.
As much as I adored my job, it came with heart ache, especially when I invested so much time in a woman for her to return to her old life. I saw potential in the women, but beaten down, they couldn’t see it for themselves. Some never figured it out, and ended up overdosing or killed on the streets. I went to about one or two funerals a year.
Mary House encouraged the staff to dress casual. I usually wore jeans and a sweater or polo. I rarely dressed sexy. It felt odd to purchase a new outfit to impress a man. Not sure what to buy, I settled on a satiny blue tank that accented my breasts and some tight fitting Capri’s. I owned a pair of cute strappy sandals that matched the outfit.
I exited the bathroom.
“Look at you,” Mom said. Normally I kept my dark curly hair in a pony, but I left it down for the evening. It hung to the middle of my back. “Cassie, you’re so pretty!” I wasn’t nearly as pretty as my mother. She was fair with natural curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Before she died, she passed for my sister. I, on the other hand, favored my dad. I inherited his dark hair and olive skin. My eyes were the color of stormy skies, a combination of Mom’s blue and Dad’s brown eyes. I inherited my mother’s big breasts, if not for them, I appeared completely plain.
doorbell rang. I looked at Mom for final approval. She nodded. Giddy, I ran to the door. “Hi,” I said, opening the door.
,” Jimmy said, kissing my cheek. “What’s the occasion?”
“I just wanted to look nice for once
,” I fibbed. Jimmy appeared tall for being Asian descent. He stood right at six foot tall. I was five foot seven inches. With the wedge heels, we were almost eye to eye.
I examined Jimmy as if he w
as a work of art. He hung like long black silk to his shoulders. He pulled top from his face with a black leather thong. His fawn complexion accented his peridot eyes. Jimmy was thirty-one, but had boyish good looks. When he smiled, deep dimples creased each cheek. His face made my knees weak, but his exceptional physique drove me wild. Muscles rippled down his arms and across his chest. He wore a basic black T-shirt and blue jeans. The outfit complimented his well-defined body.
“Cassie, are you alright
?” he asked.
,” I lied. Jimmy’s appearance made me breathless.
Jimmy looked past me.
“Hi Carmen,” He said.
What is Mom still doing here?
“Hey, that outfit, is the bomb!” Jimmy had a soft soothing voice. I found it odd to hear him speak. My brain, naturally expected an accent, but Jimmy spoke perfect English with a slight northern accent. Jimmy was born in San Francisco, but his family moved to Chicago when he was five.
,” Mom said. If she wasn’t dead, she’d blush.
I rolled my eyes at her.
“I brought over Thai, and...” Jimmy pulled
out a DVD. “Just for you, Carmen, the new Bruce Willis movie.” Mom loved Bruce Willis. I narrowed my eyes. Jimmy played dirty! He knew mom couldn’t pass up seeing the movie. She’d been dying, no pun intended, for the DVD release.
“Oh, that’s so sweet!” Mom said. I shot her a warning glance. “But...” She stopped.
Mom looked away. Her gaze oscillated around my apartment. Obviously, she searched for an excuse to leave. Mom couldn’t lie in life, but found it impossible to lie as a ghost. Ghosts didn’t have the same agenda as the living, so it was physically, or metaphysically, impossible for them to lie. “...I can’t stay,” she finally said.
“Why not?” Jimmy asked. He knew she hated the green room. It was easy to
lose track of time. She once told a story of a man who thought he’d been there for an hour, but when his son showed up as an old man, he realized he’d been there waiting thirty-five years.
…” Mom disappeared.
So much for subtlety.
Jimmy stared at me. I shrugged. “I wonder what’s up with
her,” I said, innocently.
Jimmy gave me an accusing look.
“Can’t I have an evening alone with my best friend?”
“It depends on your intentions.”
“Strictly harmless.” I held up two fingers in the Boy Scout sign.
Jimmy continued to stare. I shifted out of his gaze. He smiled. I exhaled. For a moment, I thought he might call it a night and leave. “Hungry?” He asked, holding up a carton. “Peanut noodles.”