I Need to Get Out More

This morning, as I prepared my breakfast, I spilled some sugar on the kitchen floor. No big deal; the dustpan and brush were on top of the dryer, which in our little place is right next to the kitchen. I cleaned up, dumped the sugar in the trash, and put the pan and brush back on the dryer.

It was a normal morning. B went to work just after 7, and I was already a couple of pages into a chapter of the textbook I’m editing. Throughout the morning, I took breaks, got myself a glass of soda, used the bathroom, etc.

In the afternoon, after hours of the usual silence, I got up to make my lunch. Took my Lean Cuisine out of the freezer, and as I closed the door, something caught my eye in the laundry room.

The dustpan and brush were laying aside each other on the floor. Neatly, as though someone had placed them there intentionally.

Huh? I knew I’d put them on the dryer. Right? I must have; I certainly wouldn’t have put them on the floor. Did I knock them off? I didn’t think so; that would have made a hell of a racket, and B had been asleep when I’d had breakfast. Then I remembered something else that had happened: when I first got to the kitchen in the morning, the pantry closet had been wide open, which was weird; we keep it closed because when open it blocks the whole kitchen.

What the hell is happening?

I assume most normal people would just chalk it up to “whatever” and go on with their day. Others might be concerned that there’s someone in their house and perhaps become nervous.

But no, I went straight to: the apartment is haunted! I actually began arguing with myself out loud about how silly that was… because places don’t just suddenly become haunted for no reason. Right? But what if it’s a ghost that’s been trying to get my attention all this time, and only just figured out how to do it?

And the pantry door. Of all things, a closet door being open?

We had a ghost in the house where I grew up, the original owner of the house. Dad was the one who had seen him, and when he described the ghost to a neighbor who had known the man when he was alive, she nearly had a heart attack. But several of us had had “experiences,” and one of mine related to the closet door in my bedroom, which I would close and then pull on every night to make sure it was secure, but would be wide open when I woke the next morning. One morning the contents of the closet were actually strewn out across the floor.

So an inexplicably open closet door would have meaning for me, see?

This is the weird, wondrous way my mind works. I watch hours and hours of true crime TV, women being assaulted and killed while alone in their homes; rapists and murderers who sneak in through an unlocked front door while the victim went for the mail or ran next door. Yet when faced with unusual happenings, do I grab a knife and start checking the apartment (like every stupid horror movie victim)? No, I think “ghost” and start panicking. I start thinking about burning sage and pouring a salt circle around my desk chair.

When B came home, I started telling him about the dustpan and our new ghost.

“Oh, that was me,” he said.

Aha! But what about the pantry?

“Yeah, that was me too.”

Maybe I’ve watched too much Supernatural.

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