Ghost Story

I don’t believe in ghosts. I’ve never met one, don’t see how they could exist and have never believed that any so-called sighting would stand up to any serious scrutiny

But I have made my own. Sort of.

This last weekend I was at what we now call my mum’s house. It actually belongs to us, but out of respect to my late mum we still think of it as her's. It was my parents’ house. My dad, gone now for over five years, left my mum a brief period to be herself before Alzheimer’s came along and took that away. Because of this short period when she was her own person, the house became hers.

Despite having more years off the planet than mum, my dad has not faded away. I still feel an urge to call him up with news and when my son asked be what my three wishes would be, one of them is always, “I’d like another chat with my dad.”

So there I was, at my mum’s house. The children were upstairs, my wife was talking to the neighbour. I was standing at the dining room window, looking out at the garden. I got an idea in my head that I’d like to conjure my mum and dad up. Get them back.

Both of my parents loved their garden. Both of them would default to being outside if they had the chance. I looked at the plain, untended garden and tried to wish them back, knowing if they were going to re-appear anywhere, this would be the place.

And then suddenly they were there. Mum with her white sun hat on, pruning flowers at the borders, my dad leaning on his spade, turning over the soil on the vegetable patch. He turned my way and waved a friendly wave. Unconsciously, I waved back and then tried to decide whether to go out to see them or wait for them, him really, to come back in the house. Dad smiled and returned to his work. My eyes filled with tears and, after wiping them, the garden was empty.


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