Do You Believe in Ghosts?

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“Do you believe in ghosts, Mimi?” asks Josh, his blue eyes curious.

I love this boy, and a smile comes easily to my face. “What a question! What makes you ask?”

“Mom says there’s no such thing, but I think there are.”

“Are you seeing ghosts?”

“Not me! I was just wondering. I went camping with Jimmy and his dad last week. We sat around the campfire telling ghost stories.” He pauses as a blush moves across pale, freckled skin. “I got scared.”

Smoothing back his unruly hair, I drop a brief kiss on his forehead. I know a grandmother shouldn’t have favorites, but there’s something about this boy. He’s the youngest of my daughter’s three children; perhaps that has something to do with it. Or perhaps it’s the look that appears on his face when he’s curious about something, a look as beloved as it is familiar.

“So, Mimi,” he repeats, “do you believe in ghosts?”

I blow gently against the surface of my coffee, trying to cool it. I use those seconds to look around the garden.

It’s peaceful sitting here with Josh, feeling the slight breeze against my face, inhaling the scent of roses and honeysuckle. It reminds me of other times.

You and I used to sit here most mornings, drinking coffee, listening to the music of the birds, the playful barking of the pups. I’d be telling you my plans for the day and you’d be saying, “Yes, dear,” pretending to listen but focused on your crossword puzzle.

Last week I was cleaning out the back room and came across our photo albums. I pulled out the one we’d put together when Audrey was a little girl. I never understood what people meant when they said a thing was bittersweet. I do now. There you are, holding onto Audrey as she tries to take her first steps. You’re looking into the camera, a bright, happy smile on your face.

I lost myself in that album; nothing got done the rest of the day. Instead, I sat on the floor, leafing through old photographs, searching for you, studying your face, remembering the sound of your voice. Lately, I struggle to remember its timbre. The thought of forgetting terrifies me.

There are times, not often… but there are times when I have a sense that something or someone is close by. It’s an odd sensation, one that makes me want to look up, that makes me wonder if a fleeting shadow might be something more. And so I do look up, I look around. But there’s nothing…

We had a good run; forty-five years. But it went too fast.

“Mimi?” says the little voice next to me. “Are you okay?”

I swallow back tears and smile. He reminds me of you, this boy. The eyes, the expression… the joy.

“I’m fine, Josh.”

A white butterfly flutters out of the honeysuckle, and lands on the startled boy’s nose. Giggling, he playfully swats it away.

And just like that, you’re here with me again, appearing in the surprised laughter of a seven year old.

I take a deep breath and feel better for it. “You know, Josh… about that question…”

The boy looks at me expectantly.

“Yes… yes, I do believe in ghosts.”

Β© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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54 Responses to Do You Believe in Ghosts?

  1. Lucy says:

    What a great write. That was excellent. I’m getting old. Lucy

    • Kate Loveton says:

      We’re both getting old, Sistah Grime. Time stops for no woman. Damn, don’t you hate that? πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

      • Lucy says:

        Your writing is too good for these challenges. Have you submitted anything to Yeah Write? I missed your stories. We need to be on a challenge together. I’m still with Inspiration Monday and Friday Fictioneers (when the photo moves me–sometimes I don’t have a thing for the photo).
        My appt with the surgeon was changed. I’m going this Tuesday. I’ll email you, okay? Yours in Grime, Lucy

        • Kate Loveton says:

          Hi Lucy, I’m not familiar with Yeah Write. I’ll have to look into this via google. I need to get back to the Inspiration Monday challenges – I like the odd prompts that Stephanie offers up. She really forces a writer to come up with something unique to use them in a story. Some of my favorite pieces of blog fiction have come as a result of her challenges.

          My weakness is photo prompts. I’m not very good at them and tend to generally avoid them. I’m not sure why they are so difficult for me, but they are.

          Yes, please write me. I want to know what’s going on. If I don’t hear from you by Monday, you can expect a guilt-inducing email to come your way! After all, twisted sisters stay in touch. πŸ˜‰

        • Lucy says:

          Give me til Tuesday. I see the specialist ortho surgeon. I’ll be able to tell you what’s going on, I hope. Stop by thestalkingdog.wordpress.com if you get a chance. your twisted sister

        • Kate Loveton says:

          Okay, let me know what you find out when you have time. I’m going to check out the wordpress blog now.

  2. Wonderful story. I’ve been reading so many shoot-em-up thrillers, I forgot how wonderful the literary approach is. Thanks.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Jacqui, thank you. This story came together very quickly for me, and I had a very clear picture of that grandmother and her grandson. I’m glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  3. Unfolds very sweetly, Kate. It was poignant how she lost the day in the photos while searching for him there. I read the post aloud to T (including the one with Skywalker – he told me to stop when he saw the pic. =) )

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Is T a fan of Star Wars? Does he enjoy having you read aloud to him?

      I’ve often lost myself in old photos. This story was partly based on such an incident.

      There’s something painfully sweet about looking at old photographs. Last Sunday I was cleaning out closets and came across a photo album of my dad when he was in the service. I lost a portion of the day as I thumbed through that album, and then another, and another, looking for photos of him. You see, I know how the story turned out for the young man in those early photos – and I remember our shared history. Even so, there’s much I can’t remember – and when I see a photograph of my very young father hugging his one year old daughter (me!), I’m transported. I like the look on his face – a look that perhaps was often there, but one I was too busy to recognize when he was alive.

      I guess like the grandmother in my story, I believe in ghosts, too. πŸ™‚

  4. jan says:

    How lovely – what a beautiful story. Just the right economy of words – well done. Bravo!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thank you, Jan! Your comments make me happy. It’s a challenge, isn’t it, to find just the right words and the right number of them to tell a story effectively. I’m feeling pretty great right now, thanks to your kind words. πŸ™‚

  5. Glynis Jolly says:

    The innocence and candor of a child can bring a person to the honesty that lurks deep inside him or her. A beautiful touching story, Kate. (I believe in ghosts.)

  6. Deb says:

    Yes, I believe in ghosts. Maybe not ghosts, but spirt. Mike’s spirit busts me often. I think you have just given me a post topic! πŸ˜‰ thanks!!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      So, Deb – did you write that post? I’d like to read it! (Forgive me for asking – I’m a bit behind in my reading.)

      I think people who have a profound impact on our lives never really leave us. That goes for both the good people and the bad. They continue to live in memories, our emotions, and continue to impact the ways in which we conduct our lives.

      I’m not sure I believe in ghosts beyond that – but as a writer who likes to dabble with ideas like that, I’m certainly open to the possibility. After all, as Shakespeare said, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

  7. macjam47 says:

    A beautiful story. I love that Josh’s Mimi gave him permission to believe in ghosts.

  8. Beautiful and touching, Kate ❀

    I have a feeling that I know what inspired this piece and if so, I think you did a wonderful job with bringing it to life in story form.

    Superb ❀

  9. Julia Lund says:

    So poignantly, beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my mouth. Thank you.

  10. This is such a lovely touching sweet story. Beautifully written and a real pleasure to have read.

    Do I believe in ghosts? Yes, I do πŸ™‚

  11. noelleg44 says:

    Sweetness and light, and yes, I believe in ghosts. You are SO talented, Kate.

  12. sknicholls says:

    Awww. I love it! The boys’s mind and the lady’s mind. Him with his innocent fears and her with the serenity of knowing a loved one was near. Perfect. I do believe in ghosts.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Susan. I enjoyed juxtaposing the boy’s uneasy uncertainty with the grandmother’s different take on what a ghost was. I’m really glad you mentioned that, and that you liked it. πŸ™‚

  13. Very cool, Kate. I like how you transition away from the question to connect to your ghost and all the details that make one remember another. I can’t imagine losing a spouse after 45 years.

  14. The circle of life keeps turning. We are replicated time and again. How can we ever forget those who are gone when we have young faces to remind us of them?

    My heart grows and I smile at this story. I love the grandmother and am totally in love with that little boy. ❀ ❀ ❀

  15. Tidalwavelet says:

    Sweet – and not bitter sweet either. I see my wife’s playful grin on my daughters’ faces, daring me to call ’em out when they are trying to get me to buy some tall tale, and I hear her laugh sometimes when they are all together and cutting-up. I expect I’ll see that in my grand children someday, well, at least I hope. She sees me in them, BTW, but I sure don’t.

    Others probably put it better, but the last verse of Bob Dyan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” came to mind:
    “……………………
    You’re gonna have to leave me now, I know
    But I’ll see you in the sky above
    In the tall grass, in the ones I love
    You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go”

    • Kate Loveton says:

      What wonderful comments – and thank you for sharing the lyrics of Dylan’s song.

      Interesting remark that you see your wife in your girls; she sees you in them (yet you don’t). I suspect we look for traces of the people we love in our children. It’s a comfort and joyful experience when we find them.

  16. Prajakta says:

    I am in two minds now…

  17. I believe in ghosts – more so now that I’ve read your story.

  18. Such a sweet story. I love that your ghost story is not scary but about the memories of someone loved and missed, but maybe still present.

  19. Thank you, Kate. Beautifully told; I really enjoyed it.

  20. Very touching Kate. This could have been J in the alphabet set.

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