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more than six figures a year at the time. The low, acoustic ceilings caught all dust and cobwebs, and tiny knick-knacks the first wife hadn't wanted to take with her, such as a heart-shaped wreath made of straw over the door, still littered the house despite my protests. A ripped couch his first ex-wife had wanted to get rid of sat in the livingroom, the tears so large my feet would frequently get caught in them if I tucked them under me. In the Wilson's house, the soft glow of the wood when the sunlight hit it, the smooth comfort of the limestone beneath my bare feet, the emptiness of it, were delightful to me. The hallways were eight feet wide, more a thoroughfare than a hall. It was my first real home with my new husband, and I imagined all manner of happiness possible there. Later there would be gardens filled with color outside the glass walls. There were so many perfect spots for a Christmas tree, I would never limit myself to one. The imaginary kids could play in the expansive back yard. I wanted to turn the basement into my personal art studio. The hammering started up again within days. Each time I yelled down the stairs, each time it stopped, although I did not go down to investigate the emptiness I knew I would find. I'll just focus on the living room, I thought. One evening, very late at night, on a new, lone couch I purchased from my own savings and had delivered, I lay down to rest my eyes. My arms were aching from stripping wallpaper, and I could feel the warm stillness of the house resting around me until the footsteps began. Ah hell, I thought, suddenly chilled, refusing to open my eyes. Maybe he would quit if I ignored him. There was a pause, and then it seemed almost as if he had backtracked to take the same purposeful steps in what sounded like men's, leather-soled dress shoes on the limestone floors. I lay very still, trying to keep my breath steadier than my heartbeat. He took the steps again and coughed loudly, clearing his throat like someone making a request for directions. "I hear you old man," I said, irritated he had come upstairs. After that, the Wilsons escalated their approach, perhaps due to my rudeness. I NEVER SAW A SPECTRAL VISION OF EITHER ONE OF THE WILSON'S, but once, when I was seven years old, I had seen the ghost in my parent's house. It had been late a night when I awoke from a deep sleep, instantly and unreasonably terrified. I put on my glasses. In the hallway a man's face peered through the open door, his expression unhappy, even a little angry, disapproving and bullish. As I recall, he looked something like a severely displeased Perry Mason. His face was gray and semi-transparent. I lay there unblinking, unable to move, until it gradually faded away. I had never seen him before, nor have I seen him since. By the time I was in my teens, the ghost found newer ways to torment 34

FUGUE#)!

Profile for University of Idaho Library

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho