I am searching. Slowly, but purposefully, walking down a line of closed apartment doors that feel distantly familiar. I am also distracted; talking on the phone with my mother and trying to untangle plastic shopping bags twisted uncomfortably around my wrist when I reach the right door.
It is the only one open.
I recognize my aunt’s body moving around inside, hunched over, cleaning up. She sees me and brightens but quickly turns solemn. “There’s not much time,” she says. “We’re going now.”
I am trying to figure out what my aunt is talking about when I catch another person’s movement off to the side. “I’ve got to go mom,” I say and hear the touch of disappointment her voice gets whenever I have to hang up. “There’s not much time,” I repeat my aunt’s words, “I’ll call you back.”
I watch her come toward me; her red hair darker than I remember, thick and vibrant, piled high on her head, her makeup perfectly applied. She looks trim and ready to go out, dressed in a fashionable printed button down hanging long over a pair of pants. The smile on her narrow face broadens, revealing strong white teeth. “So good to bite you with,” she used to say before taking a little nibble from my arm, thigh or any bit of revealed skin. Why was she going now, I worried momentarily, with some vague feeling that all was not well. She didn’t look sick. She was beaming.
“My Alisee,” She greets warmly, the way she always has and reaches out to me. I stand on the outside of the doorway and lean in to hug her, my absolute joy overwhelming. Her body feels surprisingly small, but my happiness at seeing her face fills me with such emotion, such elation, that I give her slender body another squeeze and instantly explode into tears so strong I immediately wake up.
I lay in bed feeling her presence, wanting to go back to my dream in the worst way; closing my drowning eyes, trying to hold on to her image, her smile, her love that filled me, trying to continue a conversation that we didn’t even start. “My Alisee,” She had said and I replayed her warm, throaty voice over and over in my head like a lullaby. But there was no way I could go back to sleep or back to her now.
From the moment she died, I wished she’d come ‘visit’ me. Somewhat psychic in life, seeing dead people and knowing things before they happened, I trusted her when she threatened to haunt me. “Promise?” I’d reply and receive a small smack on my thigh.
It’s been over three years. Finally she has come but my aunt was right. There wasn’t enough time.
If you’ve got a minute, check out my new essay up on Kveller. Click here… It’s middle school angst -mine. 🙂