I awoke to a cold touch brushing my bare shoulder. It felt like wind but had an almost tangible feel to it. Like cold fingers had glided across my shoulder. But when I turned, the room was empty. Most people would play it off as a draft. But I knew what, or should I say who it was. I smiled at the thought of how considerate he was being.
“Josh?” I called.
“Is it okay for me to come in?” A timid voice that seemed to be coming from the room itself, asked.
“Give me a minute,” I said throwing on clothes that I had laid out on my dresser the night before. When my t-shirt and jeans were on, I yelled for Josh.
“Alright, I’m decent,” I said standing at my dresser, looking for my hairbrush. A shimmer in the reflection caught my attention. I looked up in time to see Josh vaporize behind me.
“Good morning,” he said smiling broadly.
I smiled back even though I wasn’t entirely excited for today. I never like going to school but I couldn’t tell Josh that. I once did and his response was ‘at least you can go…’
Josh can’t go to school anymore. He can’t do much of anything anymore. He died eleven years ago.
He had been my neighbor when I was little. He was also my baby-sitter. We became pretty good friends. Well, as good any child can become friends with their baby-sitter. I still remember being told the news by my mother and then again by Josh.
He was home alone one night when he decided he needed a shower. The door was shut tightly and the water was very hot. Suddenly he got dizzy and slipped, falling out of the shower. He hit his head on the sink and broke his neck. My mom told me it was instant but the one time I got Josh to talk about it he said there was a second where he felt his heart stopping and his last breath leaving him. He was only fifteen.
I have always been able to see ghosts but I never knew they were until I saw Josh at his funeral. I remember it so well. I was dressed in a black dress, laying a white rose on his body. I was only five and didn’t understand the concept of death. I remember asking mom why Josh was sleeping in the middle of the day. It wasn’t nap time. She shushed me and said that she would explain at the house. I turned back to my seat and smiled. Tugging on her dress I whispered, “Momma! Momma! I see Josh! He’s in the back!” She turned quickly and gasped. I felt her grab my arm and rush me outside, apologizing to his mother claiming an overactive imagination and that’s how I was “dealing with it.”
She took my outside where we talked with Josh. I was very confused but mom kept hushing my questions and scolding Josh.
“This isn’t good for her, Josh. She’ll never be able to understand death. You need to move on,” She said.
“Move where?” I asked innocently.
“I have to go Lyra. You won’t see me for a long time but we will see each other,” he said attempting to reassure me. I threw the tantrum to end all tantrums. I didn’t want Josh to leave.
The look on their faces told me I had won. We moved a week later and Josh came with us. He became me best friend and helped me grow up.
I watched as Josh floated around my room and glanced at the clock.
“I’m gonna be late,” I groaned. Josh disappeared for a moment as I gathered my stuff. I turned to go out the door; Josh was in front of me, holding out a piece of toast to eat ton the run.