If you asked me about my Aunt Bertie, I would answer that she was a smoker. She smoked a lot. That suffocating odor of cigarettes would haunt her warm embrace. Velvet, white wisps curled across her lips. Her eyes were soft clouds drifting over love and memory. This is what I remember of her.
She pulled my mother aside one day. She told my mother that I didn’t like her. She could see it in my face. What she didn’t understand was that it was not her that I didn’t like. It was the cloud of smoke that chased her across the room.
My parents didn’t tell me that she died. They didn’t tell me when the funeral was being held. They kept silent, believing my aunt’s words. They believed that I didn’t like her, and maybe it was better if I didn’t know.
Mike and Regina were driving me home. It was night, and the stars were out. I loved star gazing, and I sat close to the passenger-side window looking upward. My eyes drifted down toward the side view mirror, watching headlights bounce off the glass, and my gaze met his.
He was positioned as if sitting in the car. His eyes were dark, black. He reminded me of The Undertaker from W.W.E. His gaze penetrated through me like the deep, cold chill that rattled down my spine. He was telling me something without speaking. He nodded. Message received, and he disappeared in a blink of an eye.
I threw my parents’ bedroom door open. They jumped out of bed. I was hysterical, furious, and I screamed at them. How could they not tell me that she had died? How could they not tell me that the funeral was today?
They were shocked. My brothers didn’t know. My friends didn’t know. They only knew, so how did I find out? They asked me that. I had no answer. What was I going to tell them? A man appeared in the side view mirror and told me? They didn’t believe in ghosts, so why tell them the truth? Why tell them anything? Instead, I turned around, walked out of their room, and disappeared down the hall.