She stood behind me in the mirror-like window on the second floor landing. She was at the top of the stairs and I was at the bottom. I cocked my head to the side. Who was behind me? I didn’t recognize her. She was elegant, elderly, her long, gray hair was up in a bun, neat. Her skin was silvery, so pale. She was tall and long, thin and light. She wore a long dress, with an apron. It was beige, her dress, high waist, short blouse, buttons going down the front. A pearl necklace, silver and beige, hung from her neck, silver and beige, and pearl earrings, silver and beige, hung from her ears, silver and beige. She stood, staring at a point above my head, at herself. I didn’t know who she was.
Who was she?
Everyone told me she was here. That this is where she always was. No one saw all of her. Everyone saw something. A flash of a dress, a flick of a hand, something out of the corner of their eye, always in the second story window. She’s always been there. No one knew who she was, no one knows how she got there, she just was and she would always be. I didn’t really care, normally. I don’t believe in ghosts, usually.
I don’t believe in ghosts. There must be someone behind me, at the top of the stairs, staring out the window. I turned to see who it was
No one. No one was at the top of the stairs. I turned back, confused, and she was there again, closer. She had moved down one step. She was looking at me now, her face empty, emotionless. I knew I should leave, that this wasn’t a game to play, but I was curious. She didn’t feel menacing. I wasn’t afraid. She felt calm and empty, I couldn’t imagine her causing me any harm. I turned again towards the stairs. No one. I turned back to the mirror. In the mirror, a step closer.
We continued our game, back and forth, closer and closer, her expression never changing, my curiosity growing and growing. What will she do when she gets to me? Will she disappear? Will I? Will she touch me? Will I touch her? I didn’t know and I shouldn’t have wanted to know, but I did, so we continued.
She was right behind me now. I could feel her cold breath on my back, could feel the chill radiate from her body. She whispered…
“one more go.”
A part of me wanted to walk away. A part of me knew I shouldn’t. A part of me begged to do it, because something might happen. A part of me knew she wouldn’t let me stop. I turned.
Her body is cold. We stand nose to nose, her freezing body, freezing me, my every breath, a struggle. Her eyes are beige, as much as the rest of her. I see wrinkles, around eyes and mouth, pale freckles on a pale face, still emotionless, still regal. She is menacing now. But I am not scared. In my mind. I imagine, a house. She stands before it. Just as she is now.
She slowly, slowly raises a hand.
She knocks on my door.
We are here,
We have always been here,
We were never here.
But we are.
And are not.
I am Her and she is Me.
And all of us are her, and all of us are me, and all of us are them, and all of us are no one.
There are others, many, several, played the game, all became us, all joined us. We knocked and were let in. Those who are not yet us, do they remember us? Did we cease to exist when we became whole? /Yes/No/Maybe/ We don’t remember ever hearing about people who were gone. Maybe we did. Maybe we did not.
I don’t remember.
We wait now, wait wait wait, for someone like me/us/we, to play our game, to play with us, to see us, no one does.
Who will it be
We know this.
We stand at the top
of the stairs
Second floor window.
Where we always are.
Some see a piece of us. Our dress, our skirt, our pearls, our hair, our hand.
Few see all of us, not all of us, but all of us.
She stands at the bottom of the stairs.
We are in the /mirror/glass/ window/
She looks up.
She sees. Her eyes widen.
We see. We remain expressionless.
She turns to us where we are not. The stairs.
Turns back to where we are. The window.
We step closer. She does not notice.
Play our game a moment, she plays a while.
We get closer, closer.
She stops the game, walks away.
She betrayed, our rules, she should have known, was never told. . .
We follow her.
To her home. All the way, she sleeps and we are here, she listens and we sing.
She hears and she makes us go. We never knocked. She never let us in.
We go back.
The second story stairs.
We want her.
She wants us.
Refuses to come to us.
She avoids us,
she never looks in the window.
She stays away from the building.
We are always there.
We are patient.
She will play.
We will have her.
Look in the window.
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