by Bob'n Around
Finding love in forbidden places
|“I’ve heard of the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future. I’ve even heard of that strange non-human Easter Bunny dedicated to being such a good egg, St. Patrick’s day Elves with pots of gold, but nothing but bonding with leftover turkey for Thanksgiving. So. Who and what are you?”
“I am the spirit of ‘Thanks and Giving’, a ghost if you will, an ethereal presence unseen yet felt through the life of the heart.”
“You look like an ordinary person of indeterminate age, bearing, and income, waiting at this bus stop with me. If this is some weird kind of way to ask for a handout, donation to some unknown cause, or a come on, I’d prefer you stand a little further away.”
“You chose this shape which brought me here. If you find it not pleasing, choose another.”
“What? You think I am the one daydreaming this? You are the one speaking like a drug addict overdosed on himself. Please. Just disappear.”
. . . and that is just what happened. One moment, Jane was talking to this strange stranger and the next talking to thin air. “Maybe I was daydreaming. I am not yet ready to go insane. Can a mixture of morning orange juice, rye toast with marmalade, and two poached eggs do this? Some kind of chemical reaction combining with hormonal stress, maybe?”
The voice behind her back brought Jane up to her feet. It sent chills running up and down her spine that turned the scream in her throat to ice. “I love you Jane. I can’t stay away from you. I’ll be here if you need me.”
When Jane turned around the stranger winked before disappearing once more. It made her feel violated. What if this specter watched her at other times unknown? Her fingers stroked her throat, feeling her rapid pulse. The heated blush on her cheek made her feel faint.
“Are you getting on, miss?”
This was an entirely different voice, that of the bus driver newly arrived in standard travel mode. The bus’s brakes squeaked, hissed, and sighed. Jane found she could breathe again and said, “Sorry. Yes. Get me out of here.”
After climbing the steps she had to go back down to retrieve her purse. Change fought to escape her hand. She fled to the back of the bus, lurching from side to side as the driver swung back into traffic and on his way.
‘Be still my heart. You are going a hundred miles an hour.” There were the common lot of people going to work around her, busy with their solitary lives. Some read the morning paper, others sat ignoring the day and each other, communing with themselves.
“We have to stop meeting like this.”
Jane shut her eyes closed, clenched her jaw, and shook her head violently. “No. You are not here. I have gone crazy. You are a figment of my imagination.”
When she opened them, people were staring at her and the man resting a palm on her knee. He’d wedged himself warmly against her side rather possessively. “Do you see him?” she asked. “Does anyone else see this guy?”
People quickly looked away not wanting to get involved in some dispute between lovers. Newspapers were raised. Earplugs adjusted with the volume turned up. Glazed expressions faced the endless parade of traffic passing by.
“Give me a chance.”
“Look. Whoever you are, I’d feel a lot better if you at least planned these get-togethers. You are freaking me out.”
“Where and when? I do have responsibilities to Thanksgiving. It is getting lost between that horrid Halloween and the growing commercial feeding frenzy of Christmas time.”
Jane removed the stranger’s hand from her person to drop it into its own lap. The feel of his touch was strangely stimulating and calming at the same time. It confused her on what to say next.
“In your home tonight after Thanksgiving dinner, when all your guests have left. See you then, sweet Jane.”
The man without a name stayed with Jane in silence until she got off at her work stop. She felt haunted throughout the day, feeling invisible eyes upon her. The practiced routine kept her from making too many obvious mistakes to attract attention. No way would her mind let her go home.
“Mary? I’ve caught a nasty bug. Will you handle the Thanksgiving party at my house? It is too late to call it off. I’m at the doctor’s and will be here overnight for observation. Yes. I’m fine. I’ll call you later. Thanks so much. Goodbye.”
She didn’t want to be alone. Creeped out, she found herself taking an Uber out to her old boyfriend’s place. “Hey, sorry to barge in on you like this. Thought you could use some company when you said you were back in town.”
She took his kiss on a quickly turned cheek, shook his hand timidly and allowed herself to be escorted inside. “Hey babe, glad you changed your mind about us.”
The stranger sat waiting for her on the couch. “She’s mine.”
“What the? How did you get in here, buddy?”
“Never mind, Harry. It is no use. Don’t try to punch him. He’s a ghost. He won’t feel a thing.”
Harry tried it anyway with a wild left hook that unbalanced him and threw him onto his own floor. “Karate, huh?”
Jane stood in place watching Harry try a few more useless moves until he got tired of falling on his face.
“We’ll be leaving now. Thanks for trying, Harry. It was nice seeing you again.” Jane took the stranger’s arm, pulling him out the doorway. She was steaming mad, no longer caring where she was going. The man remained silent, floating along by her side.
“Get your act together,” Jane thrust a pointed finger into the ghost’s chest. It made her nerves tingle pleasantly. “If you are going to stay here put your ectoplasm or whatever into human form or we’ll both be in trouble.”
“So, you are saying I can stay.”
Taking the man’s hand in hers felt more solid. “Does it matter? I take it your ‘responsibilities’ are completed for this year? You are on your own time now?”
He seemed to have changed slightly, looked a little thinner, more intellectual than like his previous jock. His eyes had turned a vivid blue instead of the gray they had once been. “Yes. I am completely at your service.” There was a faint twinkle in the wink he offered, a cute twist to the smile at the edge of his lips.
“I can turn you into anything I want?” The thought came on its own into Jane’s head.
“Oh, no. Just the way I appear. I am entirely myself inside my aura just as you are within yours, though you think you change with age.”
“What’s it like on the other side?” Jane was finally accepting the impossible. “Why did you choose me? I don’t understand any of this.” She was beginning too, emotionally. Where the stranger’s hand connected with hers, there was a spreading sensual warmth flowing up inside her breast.
“Love is not a choice. It happens. I understood that the first moment I saw you.”
“What shall I call you? You know my name.” Jane felt her companion brush against her side leaving a trail of her favorite manly ‘Old Spice’ scent like her father had worn.
“Call me lover, sweetheart, whatever you want. Close your eyes. I want to try something.”
She did but only for a moment. The stranger’s soul kiss curled her toes. She felt his sigh flutter on her face as they shared the same life-breath. It was he who broke free, whispering her name as if there were no other willing to escape his trembling lips.
“This is what love feels like. What a gift humans possess. I had no idea. Why doesn’t everyone spend their lives this way?”
“I’ll call you Mike,” Jane’s fingertips traced her name on his lips where he kissed her touch. His warm embrace left her too dizzy to stand alone. She leaned into him feeling sheltered, secure, passion blooming from slow-burning coals into complete flame. “Harry never made me feel this way.”
“Ghostly spirits do have some attributes to recommend them. Mike it is. I don’t want to wear you out with too much of a good thing. I’ll surprise you in bed when you want me there. I’ll leave it up to you as far as to when. I love you, Jane.”
She knew he was gone. He took his time fading. She was able to keep him a bit longer than he thought. Jane nodded, letting him go wherever such beings went on their own. Having her own invisible lover guarding her life now made her feel treasured and safe. He wasn’t trying to possess her. There was a certain sense of balance between them. Each was thankful for the other while giving when it was wanted and needed.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Mike.”