I see them in reflections - the orange juice glass at breakfast or my iPhone where they can pop, like notifications - I keep my phone face down.
They usually want to tell you something - how it was for them - their history. I discount these emotional messages - they come with the jester's assumption that I care - that I need the performance and will get involved.
“What are you doing?” My mom asks, as I’m taking all the shiny, mirror-like ornaments off the Christmas tree.
“The glare gives me a headache” I say, without stopping.
“Your Grandma does that too”, she says, wiping her hands on a Santa-themed dish-towel.
“Really?” I say, but I know that and I know why.
I started having nightmares, when I was in first grade. My mom thought I had an overactive imagination but when she described it to my grandma, she soon showed up for a visit.
Over the next few weeks my Grandma told me about our “gift”. About how we were both born on the same day, under a waning third moon, in Autumn. That we're both “Yins,” doxies (sweethearts) of the dead and that we could, at times, see and hear people who were between stops on their way to their after-lives.
That’s why the dead parachute into my unused moments from reflective surfaces. They can be anxious or in despair - when their death is cruel or sudden but I'm an adolescent - I'm in school - what can I do??
The presence of water discourages them - which is perfect - can you imagine seeing spirits in the reflections of your bath? EEUUUWWW! You’ll hardly ever see me without a water bottle or polarized sunglasses - which seem to break-up the images. I'll not be smothered in other people's afterlives.
Growing up, I lived in China, my Huàn gōng (au pair) would entertain us with tales from Chinese folklore like wandering ghosts (You *** ye gui) and the Yins who could communicate with them.