Becoming a truly effective haunt takes practice. When I first aimed my sights on revenge, I felt so much anger that I wanted to jump out at MIchael and make things go BANG in the night. “No-no-no!” my more experienced ghostly colleagues told me. “You want to be subtle and make him discount the possibility that you’re causing the disturbances… you want to make him think he is losing his mind. I accomplished this by making little things disappear; I sat on his chest at night and he thought he was having a heart attack! The smell of my perfume invading his nostrils drove him crazy, and I also used music to the same effect – I made my favorite songs repeat and repeat in his ear.
I kept this up for a year, and I almost felt sorry for Michael; he soon turned into a bundle of nerves. I also visited my actual murderer from time to time. He had done one bad deed too many and wound up in the San Antonio Federal Penitentiary – hard time. Through his dreams, I convinced him that confession would be good for the soul, and he told more than a few fellow inmates about what he’d done to me. Word travels fast in The Joint and before I believed possible, Inspector Robbins reopened my case.
The police had never believed in Michael’s innocence but they couldn’t prove anything. However, once the caged bird sang, they offered him special considerations in exchange for the skinny on Michael. Armed with new facts, the good inspector and my twin sister Rose began searching for my husband. It didn’t take long to locate a single male traveling with his daughter. He stood out like a sore thumb in Puerto Paz. On October 31st, the year Janet turned six, the two of them showed up to get their man and bring him to justice.
The birthday party had done Janet the world of good. She’d made friends with other little girls and Señora Sonia’s heart opened up fully to the motherless child. Janet spent more and more time in the cozy bungalow close to the beach. Michael meandered around town like a zombie. I had intensified my nocturnal sit-ins, and because of his sleep deprivation, he’d lost his edge.
Rose and I are identical but since he never spent time with my family, and he never listened to my stories about them, he didn’t know about her. Not bothering to take off his shoes, he slugged through the soft sand to where she lay sunning her long lean body. . She had undone her bikini top so as not to have tan lines across her back, and when she shifted, Michael caught a flash… She and I have the same cherry colored birthmark on the underside of our right breasts.
“What the hell are you doing here?” he asked. “You are dead!” Rose knew what to do. “Obviously I’m not,” my sister said, “I want you to take me to see Janet.”
When my daughter saw her aunt, she ran to her. I had visited Janet every night, and she had formed a mental image of what I looked like. Burrowed in my twin’s arms, she said, “Mommy… Mommy…” I had been hovering on the perimeter watching the emotional scene. It seemed right that my daughter should substitute my sister for me. I summoned up my full maternal feelings and blew an intense love cloud over to envelop the two. I knew Rose would care for Janet as well as I ever could have done.
Inspector Robbins could not have arrived at a better time. Michael was half crazy by this point and blathered out the whole sad story. “I’ll be taking him north with me tonight,” he told Rose, “What are you going to do?”
I’m going to stay here with Janet and Señora Sonia; I’ll bring my niece home and catch up with you next week.
In México, on November 1st and 2nd all departed souls are invited back home to congregate with the living. I took advantage of the occasion to spend this special time with my loved ones. Señora Sonia possessed the spiritual sixth sense common in many Latin women. “Your sister is here with us, in this room,” she told Rose. She believed this, and yet I could tell she yearned for more. “I wish I could see her,” said Rose.
Señora Sonia spread her arms wide, looked around the room, and her eyes fixed on a spot beside the colorful plaster statue of the “Mother of Heaven.” My spirit form jumped at the chance when the kind woman asked: “Do you want to use me?” I slipped into her ripe brown body and I hugged my sister. I smothered my baby with kisses and told them how I now felt peace. Rose promised to care for Janet and assured me that every year on Los Días de Muertos, they would visit Señora Sonia’s home on the Sea of Cortez and have a reunion with me.
Satisfied, I sighed and left the generous body that had allowed me to say goodbye. Finally I crossed over to where I belonged.