Peek-a-Boo (A Short Ghost Tale)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: Based on a story told to me by a dear relative.]

Margie Caroline had decided to sell her home. The same home shared with her husband for more than sixteen years, and then only with his memories for a year and a half after he had passed away. She remembered fragments of him in very room and object—from the refrigerator magnets he would arrange into bird shapes, to the walls filled with photographs taken in the woods near their home of rabbits in the undergrowth and their dogs at play. Even the hallway, where her husband had sometimes liked to hop out of the doorways to surprise her in an affectionate form of “peek-a-boo,” was intolerable because she kept expecting him to appear.

                Her home . . . now just a house full of memories.

                The whole situation became too much to handle.

                Eventually, Margie had accepted an offer to live with her sister, near many of their relatives, in another state. It would mean a fresh start, and a means to bond with family members she had seen and spoken to only on occasion since her time in college.

                Furniture and various items made the slow migration to either local charities or her sister’s house, depending on what space would allow in her new residence and what her heart refused to let go. Thankfully enough, the same relatives who had helped to sort of all the paperwork and other loose ends associated with the loss of her husband also knew a great deal about real estate—since they often fixed up houses and sold them for extra funds. So, they were able to give her advice on how to go about the process.

                But Margie made a point of being the one to show any prospective buyers around her house, because she wanted to make sure it went to a family who would fill the place with love.

                Then a couple came, accompanied by their young daughter. They were kind-hearted and obvious nature enthusiasts, who spoke of wanting to live in a quiet region away from the type of commotion found in many large towns or cities. Meanwhile, their daughter—in the way of curious children everywhere when set loose in a large, unoccupied building—rushed about in her exploration of this new environment. Every now and then, they would hear her giggle with excitement.

                In her heart, Margie felt that these were exactly the people who deserved to live here, although she wished that her husband could have given his approval of them as well.

                Her reverie got interrupted by a particularly loud burst of giggles from the daughter, who had been running up and down the hallway and gazing into the doorways for the last several minutes.

                “What’s so funny, pumpkin?” the mother asked.

                The daughter turned toward all three of them with a huge smile on her face. “I was playing peek-a-boo with the happy man!” she declared. “He’s really good at it, but he says he has to go now.” With that, she skipped down the hall to the living room.

                The couple must have noticed Margie’s shock at the comment, since they made a hurried comment on the active imaginations of children before moving onto questions related to what she knew of the local school and community. As she answered their questions, however, her eyes kept straying to the hallway, and an odd sense of tranquility overcame her.

                It could have been the fanciful game of a child who loved peek-a-boo . . .

                . . . but now Margie had confidence her husband would have agreed these people were perfect for this house—their new home.             

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