Rachel and her ghost were sitting on a bench in Grant Park. A few feet ahead of them was the joggers’ track. The breath of the joggers’ mingled with the cold air, tried to stay alive, but died after a few seconds.
‘It is chilly today’, said Rachel, tugging her ash tweed coat close to her. Rachel hasn’t gotten used to Chicago’s cold weather yet.
‘ It is good that you are all covered up’, said her ghost.
‘Do you ever feel the cold?’
‘I used to … but not anymore’
‘Hmm…’, Rachel fiddled with the bronze buckle on her purse and looked at the jogger who passed by.
Rachel asked, ‘Do you think he will come?’
‘The way he looked at you yesterday in the pub, he is attracted to you. I think he will’
‘Did you like his ghost?’
‘He is too silent for me’
Rachel looked at her ghost. She was a young woman in her twenties. She had a translucent body, through which everything permeated. Her name when she was alive was Sylvia. At the time of her death, Sylvia was doing Masters in Anthropology at University of Illinois. On the day of her death, Sylvia was cycling to school. A cab hit her. The impact killed her instantly. The cab driver said that the brakes failed. He warned her, but her headphones blocked the cacophony on the street.
The sunset colored the sky with streaks of deep orange. Rachel rubbed her hands together.
Rachel saw a man walking towards them, covered from head to toe in black.
‘There he is! He is finally here’. Rachel was relieved that he arrived on time. The cold was getting unbearable by the minutes.
‘I don’t see his ghost with him’.
‘Yes, he isn’t there’
‘Do you want me to leave?’
‘Hmm…it is up to you, you can stay well’
‘I will leave. There are too many joggers’ today. I am planning to make their jog more interesting. Remember what we talked about. Call me when you are done’.
Rachel nodded her head. Sylvia disappeared.
David came to the bench where Rachel sat. Rachel got up. She wondered what she should do next, should she give him a hug or a kiss on the cheek. She did not do any of that. Their acquaintance was too short and her meeting with him yesterday didn’t go as well as she intended.
‘Hi’, said David and sat on the bench
‘Hi ‘, said Rachel and sat down too. After a moment of silence, Rachel asked, ‘Where is your ghost?’
‘Oh! You mean Andrew. He isn’t my official one. He is my friend. He hangs around sometimes. Other times he is gone’
‘Oh! I thought he was yours’
‘Nope. What about your ghost? I don’t see her’. David looked around. They were surrounded by trees cloaked in white.
‘She has gone to play some mischief on the joggers’
‘I don’t know if you mind. Can I ask you a question?’, David said that and looked into Rachel’s deep blue eyes. He was attracted to Rachel the moment he saw her eyes. Her shiny black hair fell silently on to her shoulders.
‘Of course not. What is it?’
‘Why do you have a ghost? Is this your first one?’
Rachel sighed. He deserved to know the truth, after what happened last night at Starbucks. ‘I was assigned to Sylvia. She is my first one. The reason is …’ Rachel said that and opened her purse. She took out a beautiful watch. It was a stainless steel watch with a navy blue dial.
David grabbed it out of Rachel’s hand. ‘Hey! It is mine. I thought I lost it. You know, I went to Starbucks today morning and enquired about it. How did you get this? Did I leave it on the table or something?’
To be continued … tomorrow
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