I have something creepy to tell you and I hate it.
This past weekend, my next-door neighbor was here. She and her boyfriend are temporarily living with the guy next door, you remember, the guy who paints? Anyway, for now they’re living with him. They help him out with his light and water bills, and he gives them a place to stay.
The woman, who we will call Carol Ann, for reasons that will be obvious soon enough, is smart and I rather like her. She was in school getting her PhD when her life took a turn. Anyway she’s fun to talk to, and she enjoys gardening, so she just comes by and weeds my flower bed whenever she sees it getting unruly. I don’t mind extending kindness to hear even though the rest of the neighbors tell me not to. You’ve never seen such a gossipy place in your whole life.
This weekend, she and her boyfriend had an argument. When Chris and Lilly were on their way here to deliver my trees, I stood on my porch waiting for them and could hear Carol Ann and her man yelling at each other inside their house. After C&L left, I noted Carol Ann was sitting on her front porch looking despondent.
“Hey, Carol-Ann,” I said. “You want some cookies?”
She nodded her head like a child. It just about broke a person’s heart.
So I brought out the rest of the Milanos I’d gotten for when The Other Copy Editor came by and I’m just waitin’ for COVID, is what I’m doing. Waitin’ for COVID. Anyway I got out the cookies, and also one fortune cookie I had left over from Chinese food and why this behind end?
I guess the fact that I even had a fortune inside my cookie means I will survive the COVID when it inevitably hits. All my hobbing and nobbing as of late. Sure, it’s been all hobbing and nobbing outside, but look what happened in the Rose Garden.
Anyway, we talked for quite awhile, Carol Ann and I did, and by the way her fortune said, “Better days are ahead” and I saw her slip that into her phone case for safekeeping. We talked about everything and somehow we got to talking about our houses. All the houses in this little neighborhood were built in 1922, except our row, which was the very last row. Ours were built in ultra-modern 1932. They are still precisely like all the other houses, down to the last detail. In 10 years, it didn’t dawn on them to update anything for the mill workers, which just goes to show you.
I know who first owned my house. I mean, not personally. He doesn’t come over for Milanos and a bonus fortune cookie. But I know he worked in the mills, of course, and was a slasher, which is one of the hardest jobs out there. I’m sure he’d have loads of sympathy when I have to copy edit for 10 hours in a row.
Then I also know that the person who sold me this house had lived here since the early 1960s. My guess is no one else owned it other than them. I mean, I’m basing that on how long people lived in their houses back then, especially mill workers whom I doubt were rolling in it.
“I haven’t had any weird haunted things,” I told her. WHY DID I BRING IT UP? “I wondered if I would, this house being 88 years old and all.”
“Oh, I have,” she said. “Tommy told me four people have died in that house that he knows of.”
Tommy is the owner of the house, the one who paints. He has lived there his entire life. His grandmother lived and died there, for example. “I feel a presence when I’m sleeping, and that’s the room she died in,” said Carol Ann.
Carol Ann. If that’s not an “I was born in 1972” name.
“She feels like a nice presence,” said Carol Ann. “But then sometimes I feel others that aren’t.”
“Really?” I asked, intrigued, and WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
“Yeah,” she said. “Like, once, you had all your blinds pulled, and my boyfriend and I were in the kitchen. We could see our house reflected in your windows, and my boyfriend said, “Oh my god, look in the bedroom.”
Their bedroom light was on and, again, the reflection was in my window. There was … movement in the bedroom.
“It was like four people were walking back and forth, fast,” she said. “No one else was there. But something was in my room.”
Last night, I was going from room to room, pulling blinds. One thing I like about this house is that there are so many windows, but the pulling of the blinds is a 745-minute routine. Anyway, I was in my room and when I grabbed the blind, I noticed Carol Ann’s light was on in her room.
And I saw movement.
It was, like, this fast-moving back and forth. It wasn’t like how a person would move normally. It was too fast for that.
I pulled the blind, determinedly.
Then, to make myself feel better, I looked again. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? “You just THOUGHT you saw fast movement because of what she’d said last weekend,” I told myself.
So your very intelligent pal June looked again, saw EXACTLY THE SAME THING
It was a friendly laugh. Maybe it was my neighbor, though to tell you the truth she’s not Miss Mirth. She’s rather intense and focused. But maybe it was she.
Maybe she…got a Segway! Yeah. She’s over there on a Segway. In her room!
I’m sweaty now.
Let’s look at a photo of anything to get our minds off this.
Oh, look! Cats cats cats cats!!! Cats! Don’t think about black cemetery cat!
I feel clammy.
Did I mention?