Since our daughter, her husband and their three little ones moved in with us while waiting for their new house to be finished, I’ve had a most peculiar feeling.
It’s an odd feeling—as though I am not entirely alone.
Oh, I catch glimpses of shadows now and then, long hair flying around a corner, muffled laughter, but I do not see the ones to whom the shadows, the hair and the laughter belong.
They’re quick, so very, very quick.
I dash up the stairs and faint echoes of footsteps trail behind me.
I stop, the echoes stop. I resume the stairs, the echoes resume.
I turn into the bathroom to put on my makeup and see my cosmetic drawer is ajar. I would never leave it like that.
Or did I?
Or did someone else?
But who? It’s unlikely the husband has developed an interest in blush and mascara. The hairbrush and comb are out of place. Two tubes of lip gloss have lip gloss sliding down the sides and are missing caps.
I straighten the drawer, fix my face and step into the bedroom.
Indentations pockmark the bed—like divots on a golf course. Odd. The bed was made more than an hour ago. Muffled giggling comes from the other side of the bed and the bed shakes ever so slightly.
Strange, simply strange.
I return downstairs and pause at my desk. The tape dispenser is empty. Again. For the third time in three days. I don’t remember using vast amounts of tape. Maybe I need more sleep. Maybe I tape things in my sleep.
The stapler is open and empty as well. Surely, I would remember flying through 300 staples. But then I don’t remember creating this pile of drawings with colored markers—pictures of people with beady eyes, crooked smiles, wild hair and stick bodies with disjointed arms and legs.
The scissors are out as well. They’re the good scissors—the pair that is sharp and not for children. Strange, I don’t remember cutting.
Something among the pieces of paper lying on the floor catches my eye. It is a long golden curl of hair. I don’t remember cutting my hair.
I certainly don’t remember being blonde.
“When did I use up the tape?” I mutter aloud. “When did I empty the stapler? When did I create these marvelous, wonderful, beautiful drawings?”
The door to the closet beneath the stairs softly closes. Laughter emanates from behind the door.
Creeping to the closet with the stealth of a sneaky cat, I fling open the door and yell, “GOTCHA!”
The phantoms tumble out, arms and legs flying in every direction, screaming and shrieking with laughter.
“You scared us! How did you know we were in there?”
“Oh, just a lucky guess.”