So we settled in and started our new life, pleased with our decisions, and always, always blessed with the company of our friends, children, and grandchildren. As far as strange occurances go, every now and then some small item would turn up missing, only to reappear in some unlikely place. We blamed this on the move, on being forgetful, or on our smaller grandchildren.
Then one morning--we'd been in the house about two months--I got out of the shower, wrapped a towel around myself, and suddenly got the urge to play the piano which was in the formal livingroom. The doors locked, the blinds shut, I had no worries about being caught half naked. I sat on the bench and played for about five minutes. Once finished, I replaced the cover over the keys. It was absolutely quiet. Then, from the kitchen, loud and clear, I heard an unmistakable whistle, the type that construction crews are fabled to blast at passing young women. Embarrassed and somewhat shaken, I investigated. But I knew from the start I would find no one there.
I suppose that this event 'broke the ice,' so to speak, for from then on, on the few occassions I was alone in the house, I never felt alone. Often I'd hear a breath or a soft whisper in my ear, or have the sensation that someone was passing me in the hallway. My husband, and two of my grown daughters, had the feeling of always being watched, as did I.
The days before Thanksgiving found me cleaning from floor to ceiling preparing for a houseful of company. On the afternoon before the holiday, I cleaned the spare bathroom and asked my husband not to walk on the neatly vacuumed rug until after the guests arrived. A few minutes after I said this, I heard him call me from the hallway: 'Hey, honey, look at this.'
My husband stood at the bathroom, door, pointing inside as I approached. It took me a moment to see what had caught his attention. On the carpet in front of the toilet were the indentations of a man's footprints. They were slightly spread apart and facing toward the bowl. There were no other footprints in that bathroom, nor had the carpet been disturbed other than that. What's more, the toilet was on the far side on the bathroom, about fifteen feet from the door. Unless my husband could fly, or his feet had suddenly grown two sizes, I knew we had a ghost.
We decided to spend Christmas at a cabin in the Sierra foothills (in no way due to our 'visitor'). Before leaving, we did a careful walk-through of our house, making sure all windows and doors were bolted and the burglar alarm was set. And off we were to enjoy the rest of our happy, if uneventful, holidays. We were gone for over a week, and despite the chilly air, the first thing I did when we returned was go through the house opening drapes and windows to get rid of the stuffiness. As I pulled open the drapes on the sliding door in the familyroom, the sun reflecting on the glass drew my eye to the mark of a hand print. It belonged to a man. I ran my finger across a small portion of it, and it smudged. It was on the inside of the glass.
Like a typically obsessive neat-freak, I had cleaned the house the day before we left (so that we could come home to perfect order!), including washing the glass in this door. Since our departure, my husband was the only man who'd been inside the house; furthermore, his hand was smaller than the print. Nobody had a key to our home, nothing had been disturbed during our absence. Had there been a break-in, the alarm would have sounded, and we would have been notified by our security company. There was no logical explanation, and I wanted there to be.
After seeing the hand print, the only thing I could imagine was the spirit of this young man staring sadly through the glass at the outside world, trapped inside this home where he had, without explanation or reason, taken his own life. The thought of this saddened me to the point where I called our priest to come and bless the house, and to commend this man's spirit to the world beyond.
The service was beautiful and brought a stronger feeling of peace to our home and to my heart. More than anything, though, I hoped our 'locked-in' guest had found peace and freedom.
Perhaps he had. The week after our priest's visit, I awoke in the middle of the night for no particular reason--there was absolute quiet both in and outside of our bedroom. As I shifted to my other side, I caught a glimpse of the bedroom door, and saw standing in it the form of a man. My husband snored at my side, and at any rate, the pitch black silhouette did not match his shape. I knew what I was looking at was not made of flesh and blood. I could not believe my eyes, but I was not scared. I watched, unblinking. The figure faced me, unmoving. The name 'David' drifted through my mind. I spent roughly the next thirty seconds trying to identify his features, but he lacked detail, seemed only to be a shadow. Finally, without noise, he faded into the darkness behind him. Somehow I sensed he was leaving forever, and for some reason felt compelled to say good-bye to us.
I appreciated him for that, since good-byes seemed to be difficult for him while he lived.