Staring out my slightly open window, watching the snow fall gently to the ground. The world sleeps, rests, renews while the stars twinkle brightly, the moon high above me, the hour late. Christmas is only a couple more sleeps away, and I already begin to feel the excitement.
I will try to sleep again this year but already I know the cause is lost and that I might as well find another way to occupy my time. Every year, every Christmas, it’s always the same. As a child my patience was necessary, I would wake earlier than everyone else in the house, probably earlier than anyone else in town if I am honest. I would allow my sister to sleep for at least an hour, sometimes I would be kind and leave her until 6. Then Dad around 6:30 or 7, but Mom was always to be left until at least 7:30 and no presents were to be opened until after breakfast. And no, the orange in our stockings was not breakfast. I know, I asked.
As I grew I was still up at the same time, 4am comes early but sleeping later than that was impossible. After I moved away I found myself rattling around all night, disturbing my roommates. So I began my yearly routine. I would wait for the house to fall asleep and then go out for a walk or a drive. Of course I hadn’t planned anything more; I was merely trying to occupy myself. Then HE happened.
I drove to the park. You know the one? Down at the end of Main Street. Of course you do. I sat on the swings, under the gently falling snow. The night was much like tonight, perhaps that’s why the memory is so strong. The swing slowly moved, my feet touching the ground just barely, my breath steaming, drifting into the night sky. The night was quiet, peaceful. Until “Would you like a push?” I don’t believe I screamed but if I didn’t it was a near miss. This is going to make me sound a little crazy, I’m well aware of it but although he was standing there behind me, he wasn’t really there. I mean he was, I could see him, I could hear him, but I absolutely could not touch him. My hand passed right through him.
It didn’t stop him from giving me a push on the swing though. Somehow he was able to affect it, and me. I spent the night swinging back and forth, chatting with…. a ghost I suppose. As dawn began, as the sun began to send its rays across the snow causing the world to glitter, he asked me if I would come back. He’d been alone for so long, he was so lonely, I couldn’t say no. But the only time he’s around is Christmas, or at least it’s the only time he can interact with the rest of us, with the living I suppose.
I’ve gone back for the last five years, every Christmas Eve. I sit on the same swing and wait for the sun to set. I’ve got my own place since then, no more roommates to disturb but now I couldn’t stay home even if I wanted to. He needs me after all, he has no one else.
It’s Christmas Eve. It’s cold out tonight. As time’s gone by he’s been gaining substance. Last year I was finally able to hug him, even kiss him. He was cold, and after a short period of time my hands slipped through him again but I did touch him. Is it possible to fall in love with a ghost? How am I able to touch him now? I’ve been trying to figure it out for the last year but it’s not exactly something you can find in the library or online. Of course there are theories. None of them seem feasible though. I’m hoping desperately that it’s the same tonight. I’ve been dreaming about touching him for 365 nights, and tonight I’ll find out.
“Would you like a push?” He’s here! I get off the swing and I’m in his arms. He’s solid! How is this even possible? “I hope you weren’t waiting long.”
“Only a year love, not long at all.” I smile at him, and then he’s kissing me. I’m on fire, every cell in my body yearning for him. How can he do this? No more thinking, just feeling.
This was by far the easiest transition yet. Foolish woman. She let me in, more and more each year. I need to learn about this “internet”. It wasn’t around last time.
As he walks away the swing slowly stops moving. The woman’s hands frozen to the metal chains, her cheeks slowly losing their vibrant pink, her last breath drifting to the sky.
Silver Tongued Duchess