I have memories of time spent playing in the attics of a large house; four stories with servant’s quarters on the top floor. I was wearing a white mid-calf length dress, frilly and old-fashioned; pretty ballet pumps made from soft leather, and stockings trimmed with fine hand-made lace. Black hair, styled in ringlets, cascaded down my back. Trunks of clothing and furniture were stored in the attic rooms where I was allowed to play. I raced through these rooms accompanied by another child.
This memory, and my companion, have been with me throughout all my life. I mentioned him, just once, to my mother.
“Don’t be stupid,” Mom hissed, “there are no such things as ghosts.”
“But Mom, he isn’t a ghost. Jonas lives in my bedroom.”
“Stop all this nonsense. Go out and play with your friends.”
I watched Jonas as he strolled around the room. A fleeting glance, his expression bereft, he beckoned me to follow.
Mum screamed my name, over and over again. When I turned, intent upon returning to my home, Jonas took my hand in his. Neighbours raced past me, oblivious to my presence.
Sensing my disquiet, he knelt beside me. “Your second life has ended, but this is only the beginning of your journey to immortality.”
I was seated beside Jonas as a carriage, pulled by four black horses, entered the graveyard. My parents and sister were dressed in black. A veil covered Mom’s face.
Bethany glanced at me and smiled as my coffin was lowered into the ground. A look of sweet innocence, a quick glance at our parents, and she crept towards the copse of trees.
“Sis,” she whispered, “Mom thinks you are dead.”
“I am, but I wanted to say goodbye. Don’t be sad, Bethany, my life hasn’t ended. I’ve moved on, and in time so will you. Just remember when your time comes that there is nothing to be afraid of: Death is the beginning, not the end.”