As I got to school age, I got a little more social, with real people. I learned from one or two small comments from neighbourhood kids and a classmate that nobody else saw the “visitors”. My sister and I talked about it a little (I did mention her in the first of my chronicles), but she and I never got too into it, as I didn’t really want to get found out by my parents. She was the golden child, who was never in trouble for anything, so if she said something they would have listened.
I saw some kids at school from all walks of life and religions, I later learned, and none of them ever mentioned seeing anything I saw. I felt sort of alone. But sort of special…I liked to have this secret. (I had a lot of things I couldn’t tell people so I guess this is why I am so bad with secrets now)
My Grade 2 teacher had a lady that followed her all the time and she smelled like a flower I still can’t put a name to. She was sweet, and I think it would have made her sad if I told her. I also made a friend the first grade who had a man that came once in a while, to look in on her you might call it, he wasn’t there all the time. I found out about a year or two later that her dad committed suicide when she was 3, but she didn’t remember him.
I stayed over at that friend’s house occasionally…and sometimes he was there, but mostly not. We became very close, and I asked her about him once or twice, but she didn’t really know very much about him, since she was very small when he left them. Her family of course barely mentioned him, and her mother was on husband # 2 and had no time for questions like that.
He was sad about what he’d done and though he never spoke directly to me, I always heard the words in my head: “I’m sorry for what I did to your mother; I know it will make your life hard”, and years later, I came to know what he meant. Her mother was pretty messed up, and shut my friend out of her life for being too much like her father, though that would never be the reason she’d admit to. It of course made little sense when I was that age, but I still remember it all. Ask me what I learned IN school? Not a clue. But the other stuff stayed with me.
I got bigger and my sister stayed cute and small, and the neighbourhood kids I played with gradually became interested in other things.
When I was in grade 5 or so, the elderly man who lived down the street passed away. (I mentioned being taken with the elderly before.) He used to let my sister and I in his yard…he yelled at all the other kids in the neighbourhood, because they behaved badly, but we were not like them he said.
He used to let me help him take care of his roses, and he got me to pull out the thorns he always seemed to have in his hands…his daughter made us tapioca pudding when she visited, and we brought him strawberries and green & yellow beans from our garden. He treated us as though we were his own grandchildren, played his violin for us, and on one occasion he actually gave me some his late wife’s jewellery. I knew my mom would think it was too much, but she actually let me keep it. I still have it, though I can’t bring myself to wear it, it still holds a feeling that I’m unable to bear for any length of time.
Back to his passing, he had been in the hospital for some time, and we wrote him letters and sent him a Valentines Day card, and I heard from him a short while after that. He came to visit me after school when I was doing my homework in my room…and told me thank you for the letters, they made him remember his roses, and his house, and my sister and I. He said that he was with his wife and how he’d missed her all this time…and that he hoped we stayed well, and that my mom was a special soul for letting us visit him the last few years. I knew he was gone and a day or so later his daughter called to let my mom know.
The next year…I discovered how much I liked boys my own age.