Wet amber stories

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The depression and sadness of this moment felt like such a block to creativity that I felt haunted —and then I realized I could write a story about THAT. The ghost lives in a home that is haunted, by her feelings of inadequacy, by all of her missed opportunities. The home is swollen with the spirits of all the lives she never lived, the chances she never took. The ghost lives in an old brownstone, a fourth-floor walkup with only one washer and dryer in the basement. Every Tuesday, the ghost floats down the stairs, slowed slightly by the heavy laundry basket full of sad underwear and sweatshirts.

The ghost almost never encounters any neighbors and slides into the wall when she hears approaching footsteps. The ghost uses generic laundry detergent and never bothers with dryer sheets. Her sheets, pillowcases, and socks are oatmeal-colored and already soft. The family: a mother, an older daughter, a younger son. They are aware of the ghost, but they try not to disturb her. They avoid her whenever possible; they step around the dark, dense hole in the fabric of their home. Unlike black holes, she both repels and attracts. The small son is drawn to her sadness and thinks he would like to try it on.

The mother is afraid of the ghost, but also given to sitting quietly with her on Saturday afternoons, listening to the children build their imaginary kingdoms. The daughter allows the ghost to braid her hair, but mostly she is angry at the ghost. The ghost listens in when the daughter talks to her friends. The family has explored ghost-removal solutions. The apartment is small, and it is difficult to have these discussions out of earshot. They are not, of course, quite Wet amber stories how much the ghost can hear. The mother has attempted to discuss the subject with the ghost herself, but on being confronted this way, the ghost retaliated Wet amber stories camping out in the kitchen, reorganizing the silverware drawer, and eating all of the salted-caramel ice cream during the middle of the night.

The family has largely given up on ghost-removal and has instead focused on constructive ways to share your home with a ghost. The ghost enjoys these tasks. Their banal sameness does not remind her of her former life, does not provoke nostalgia or regret. In return for the chores, the family sometimes takes the ghost to the playground, or to the old movie theater.

The ghost likes the swings but finds the sunlight ghastly. She prefers the cool dark of the theater, the pictures not so different from the ones she once enjoyed. She lets them fill her, move through her ghostly mind, replacing the memories of her own gray life with the memories of a Technicolor world. She shares popcorn with the son, and she lets him eat the buttery pieces first. The ghost is a downer ghost, not a rage ghost.

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She does not throw things, or harm anyone, or raise whirlwinds. She does not open doors to demon worlds. She does not manifest in terrifying forms, or grow extra he, or have powers, or appear without warning. The ghost, also: radiates feeling, intense, driving feeling. It surrounds her like an aura; it is strong and hungry, a sucking feeling the color of a sob. The ghost Wet amber stories not call herself a haunt, except, perhaps, as a small joke. If the ghost made jokes, which she emphatically does not. The ghost would say that this is her home. A man lives next door to the haunted family.

He works in finance, and like the ghost, he rarely leaves his apartment. The door opens—though, having been solidly fastened to its hinges init does not creak. The neighbor sees no one, only a small pile of half-folded laundry on a much-loved paisley sofa. He hears no one, only the faded treble of Edith Piaf in her later years. He worries the door has opened by accident, that no one has opened it. He does not think ghost, because he is a modern, if reclusive, man, analytical and logical. He thinks, no one. He closes the door, and Edith Piaf goes mute, cut off mid-note.

He he back to his own apartment. He does not wonder; he is satisfied with theafter all. The next day, he does not hear any music. Once again, the door opens, silently.

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The neighbor sweats and steps inside. He considers himself very unfashionable and suddenly worries about what his neighbors will think of his sweater. He twists the hem of his sweater. It is red, his least favorite color. The sight of blood makes him faint. Just down. Your kids are so quiet.

They must be well behaved.

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Well, then. He turns to leave and hears her clear her throat. The ghost. She materializes in the narrow hallway near the kitchen. The kids are at school, she says. She is wearing black sweatpants and a white Champion sweatshirt. She is holding a glass of orange juice. He feels better about his sweater. The orange juice has vodka in it. So they do. They sit across the room from one another, so her strong gravitational pull does not affect him. She says, several times, you can see me, and he says, well, of course. There is no love story here, no pottery being made, no chains removed or souls released.

The neighbor just likes midth-century singers. And he is lonely. And the ghost is lonely. And they are both very unfashionable. They spend days together while the family is at school and work, listening to music, and sometimes the neighbor helps the ghost fold laundry, or go grocery shopping. Sometimes he tells her about his own sadness, about the marriage that died and the son he lost custody of. He supposes it is instead his first opinion, that she is no one, the way a confessional priest can be a no one.

She turns down the heat because he sweats so much. The son, as is often the case, is unhappy. He does not speak yet, not much, but mothers are quick to intuit such sadness. And so the mother is reading the son a bedtime story, and the daughter is pretending not to listen. She wonders, not for the first time, why the illustrator of this book had chosen the colors of the High Gothic period, flat and lurid as playing cards.

Did you know, she tells the grandmother goat, that Americans introduced the joker into Wet amber stories playing-card deck? T-shirt after T-shirt, red and green and yellow and pink and blue, a High Gothic rainbow. You should stay in this dream forever, she Wet amber stories the mother, where you can see me. The mother wakes up, alarmed.

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She looks over, and the ghost is under the comforter, a familiar shapeless shape in the gauzy half-dark. The ghost is awake, though no one would know it. Her breathing is silent in the chill air. On the weekends, everything is a ghost story. The daughter is obsessed with bones; she spends long hours watching shows about bones and blood and the human body. The mother is crying in the bathroom, silently, but she is also Wet amber stories tough nut to crack; she turns on the water when the ghost tries to question her.

The son is hiding under his bed. He tells the ghost he is afraid of ghosts. He has placed a sock in an old 1 Mom mug, and he says it is his campfire. The mother dresses fashionably and clicks on New York Times recipes she will never make. And they call the ghost a ghost? The whole apartment is cursed on Sundays. Even the cat, Mr. Cheese, seems fixated on shadows.

Wet amber stories

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Island Tales : Caribbean Folklore Stories by Amber Drappier (, Trade Paperback)