ghosts on a walk

My wife and I and the kids were walking down Washington Avenue the other night. It was one of those nights, full up with energy. The air was just right, the moon was putting on a show, and there was no denying we were part of something bigger.
 
“Is that house haunted?” my wife asked, as she looked up at the giant three-story Victorian.  
 
“Yep,” I said.
 
“Oh no, really?”
 
“Not in a bad way,” I said, though I wasn’t really sure.
What I sensed first and foremost was a little girl on the very top floor looking out the window at us. I stared for a moment as we passed. She didn’t seem happy. Pouting, like little girls do.
 
“What do you sense?”
 
“The place has plenty of spirits,” I said. “I wouldn’t doubt it if that front room there was a funeral parlor of some sort at one time or another.”
 
And we walked on, with the kids far ahead out of earshot, and I felt thankful that we lived in such an historic town with big old houses and spirits and energy everywhere. And I was thankful that my wife let me be crazy like this and just as we were about to turn toward Third and head for home, I saw the old man on the porch across the street as I had so many times before. There wasn’t much to get–or as my wife would say–I wasn’t putting forth the effort, but it was comforting seeing him there. Out on the porch, smiling, waving, smoking a cigarette. Enjoying his home still today even though he’d left the physical world long ago.
 
I sped up to catch up to my son and daughter. They each held a hand.
“Time to go home?” My son asked.
 
“Yes,” I said. “Let’s go home.”
The big moon lit the hazy sky. I listened to my kids’ little feet on the concrete. I felt my wife’s warmth just two steps behind me. And I tried to do my best not to neglect all those spirits–in windows, on porches, on front lawns and sidewalks–because I knew that one day I would be there too. Waiting for someone on this side to talk to.

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