I see my little ghosts every now and then. They appear and vanish as I walk through our house, the house we’ve lived in for twenty-four years. There, in the corner of the dining room that was time out. Then the five-year old sneaks out of time out as I watch him reflected in the foyer mirror.
I see my little ghosts being pulled across the hardwood floors as they sit giggling on the old comforter. Walking past the bathroom at the end of the hall, I see the blond-haired girl dropping a wriggling kitten into the bathtub as my son takes his bath. “She needs a bath.”
When our house became quiet, being in it by myself fueled my melancholy. My imagination, of which I am so proud and grateful, became a curse. Memories are unearthed like greedy miners searching for diamonds.
My ghosts followed me on evening walks on the streets of our neighborhood. A perfect Dorothy clicking her ruby slippers and James Bond leaving me for a buddy on Halloween. The three of us piled on a sled, sliding down the longest steep street in the cold, still night. While missing my children’s childhoods, was I missing my own?
Then, a miracle happened. My little ghosts became friends, visitors to lighten a stressful day, to heal an injury. I guess my imagination decided to give me a break or become a friend. Now, I remember reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Harry Potter to them before bed. I remember the tiny little girl splashing in the large washtub on a hot summer day. Her laughing puts a smile on my face. Or maybe, just maybe, my little ghosts are blessings reminding me of how lucky I’ve been.
- Owen R. Minter
Finding an old photograph, I wonder.
I’m guessing college days, early nineteen fifties. Looking into these eyes, what’s he thinking
about? He’s in his twenties, getting ready to graduate. It’s springtime in southern Virginia and the campus
is in the early stages of bloom after a long cold winter. Green shoots are popping out on black limbs and
grass is viridian, having changed from the dull, lake mud green of bitter February.
Is he thinking about the Art History paper he doesn’t want to write for Dr. Thompson, or the party
planned at the nearby lake? The party that will have the jazz combo set up on the back of his fraternity
brother’s flat bed. The jazz combo, the jazz music, he doesn’t even like. Even though, the female singer
can sing, a strong alto.
Is he thinking about working his uncle’s farms in Leatherwood again this summer? That high
school did offer him the football coaching job. No, that would mean teaching. He didn’t want to teach.
Football, it was always satisfying to show those private school guys from Richmond what being hit was
really like. They’d laughed at his 225 lb., five-foot six frame. They soon stopped.
He could join the merchant marines. He and Pete had talked about it. Both had only seen the
ocean one time. Perhaps he could sail around the world like James Fenimore Cooper and later write
stories of the sea or the American frontier. The army wouldn’t take him. Four F. Did he know the
merchant marine recruitment officer would tell him to come back tomorrow morning and when he did,
they were closed?
Looking into these eyes, the world is ahead of him. A world as vast and rich as the Bach Mass in
B Minor or as beautiful and sad as a Hank Williams lyric. He won’t write the Art History paper. He’s
thinking about the party.
- Owen R. Minter
Owen R. Minter was inspired to write The Shrouded Sword, a fantasy story filled with ancient magic and time travel, after creating a drawing based on Arthurian legend. The Shrouded Sword is the first book in the Gramarye Cycle series. When he’s not writing, Owen makes paintings with a leaf blower, reads, and enjoys coaching Special Olympics Athletics.
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