Flumes Volume 2: Issue 1, Summer 2017 - Page 112

arrived at Mrs. Sousa's gate she could see her sitting in a lawn chair beneath the trees in the front yard. When she came closer she saw a bottle on the ground with the Wild Turkey picture on the label just like her dad's. Mrs. Sousa held a glass of whiskey in her right hand, her left hand tied up in a rosary. Staring at the empty chair in front of her, Mrs. Sousa spoke to Mena without turning around.

"Hi, I'm just keeping company with Mr. Sousa here in his chair. He's not gone, yet, you know. He's a ghost now. You see, Mena, no one ever really dies. Even your subdivision of new houses sits on top of old things"

Mena looked hard at the chair for a flicker of a movement or light but could see nothing but a worn out chair cushion with stuffing coming out.

"I can't see him, Mrs. Sousa," she said.

"That's all right, girl. It's enough that I see him. At night he comes and lies down next to me. His touch is cold. But I know he is just lonesome and doesn't mean any harm. Go back, I say. Be with your own kind. Then I feel him leaving, his spirit shrinking back through the walls. Sometimes I wonder who is keeping who company."

After Mena's visit with Mrs. Sousa she made the mistake of telling her mother about Mr. Sousa's ghost.

"That batty old lady," her mother said. "Those chickens and that old house she won't paint. I won't be buying eggs from her anymore. The supermarket is cheaper and who cares about fresh anyway. Maybe if all the neighbors stopped buying her eggs she would get rid of those dirty animals. You go rest in your room and don't believe a word she tells you. Why, she makes up things. From now on you don't go over and see her. Now you promise me."

Mena looked down at her feet, and with hands behind her back, fingers crossed, said "yes, mom." She then headed for her room finding comfort in sitting among her dolls on top of the bed.

When Mena's father came home she listened in by the kitchen door.

brings down the resale value of every house on this street."