I believe in ghosts. Or a ghost...singular. The ghost of him...when he was him. He can appear anywhere when I least expect it. I caught a glimpse of him through my kitchen window last weekend. He was on trampoline in the body of a new neighborhood boy flipping and stuffing a basketball in a suspended hoop. I found myself mesmerized by this child so clearly embodied by HIS ghost. Memories pelted my brain, both visual and auditory. The incessant squeak, squeak of the trampoline bouncing coupled with throaty laughter and grunts of disappointment when a death defying flipped was not quite reached. Before I knew it, I was white knuckling the kitchen sink, eyes full of tears, heart full of pain yet unable to look away because I didn't want to miss a moment of HIS specter.
Then one day this week I saw him walking down the street just outside his old elementary school. He had a skaters cap on and his long shaggy hair hung down over one eye. The hair was lighter than HIS but it didn't fool me. I'd know that swagger-filled gait anywhere. I watched longingly from behind the wheel of my car wanting to once again brush that hair from his face and have him pull away. A hearty "honk" from a car behind me alerted his ghost so that the boy turned back into an unknown pre-adolescent, and because I didn't know how to summon HIM back, I drove on so that the impatient driver behind me could get home to his family.
His spirit is channeled through the familiar as well. November first is a big day in our house. It is the day the Christmas music comes out. When the Muppets and my daughter sang along to The Twelve Days of Christmas, I could have sworn I heard HIS voice come from the backseat making fun of Beaker's "mi mi mi m mi mi." On my vanity mirror, his eyes twinkle in a picture of HIM. They ask me to make some food; grape jelly meatballs and fettuccine Alfredo. They tease me, dance and blink with amusement, but I can't laugh. Those ghostly blue eyes bore into me until I take the photo and place it in the hall closet where he can't haunt me anymore.
I sometimes see him at the head of a pack of cross country runners, long legs reaching, arms pumping, brow furrowed with concentration. HIS natural born speed creates an illusion of flying. He is there-flying by me-until he disappears rounding a corner with all the other runners trailing behind him.
His ghost visits at night during those in between moments of wake and sleep. I hear his voice, his laugh, his protests. I feel that spirited boy zoom by me as if a hot summer day was calling to him. I sit up and dangle my feet over the bed, listening intently for the slight possibility that it just may have really been HIM calling to me, needing me, flying in the door to tell me the latest news in the sports world or play me the newest song he loves on Youtube. How I wish to be jolted out of bed by one of his boisterous proclamations. But all is quiet, he is gone again and all that is left is the sound of sadness for what might have been and what used to be a very long, long time ago.
I believe in a ghost. I BELIEVE in that ghost. He is here. HE is there...somewhere waiting to take his rightful place back where he belongs in the body of the young man he somehow tragically got separated from. But until then, that ghost, HIS ghost will continue to haunt me, to stay with me, and I will keep him safe and remind him that he's loved just as if I was his own mother.