As if anyone needed concrete evidence that I’m just slightly right of weird, here’s more proof, I guess.
My wonderful husband should have, “Are you kidding me?” tattooed across his forehead since I seem to bring that sentence to his lips on nearly a daily basis. It might save him some time if when I opened my mouth he just pointed to the tatoo with a raise of his eyebrows and a tilt of his head.
Most of the time something completely rational-sounding in my head escapes my lips and loses something in translation—that is the woman-to-man, husband-to-wife translation. This weekend was the latest installment of what I like to call, “Things that sound normal to me, but cause small strokes in my husband’s down-to-earth-logical- linear-thinking brain.”
Saturday morning as the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted through our sun-bathed kitchen, we talked about our upcoming move to San Antonio, Texas. We had been so busy lately, we hardly had any time to sit down and actually talk about little, inconsequential things like…oh, I dunno…where the heck we’re going to live once we get there. It’s not as dire as it sounds. We’ll be assigned a house according to my husband’s position. A week previous, we had made an educated guess about which house would be ours by figuring out where the guy whom my hubby will replace lives. These are beautiful, historic homes. A little bit of internet stalking and I had an address and a Google Earth satellite picture.
My husband stood by the coffee pot leaning on the counter while I poured two cups.
“I will feel better once I have some pictures of the interior,” I said. “I’m dying to know what the house is like on the inside.”
“Oh, yeah. I meant to tell you. I talked to Smith (not his real name) about his house. They aren’t sure of their moving dates and they may be there until late summer. But, he said there was a house down the street that will come open before his will so we shouldn’t worr–”
“What?” I turned to look at my man. I handed him a cup of coffee. “No! No! No!”
“What’s the matter?” He took the hot beverage out of my hand like I was nervous Private Pyle with a hand grenade. His expression told me he was girding his loins against a possible pre-move meltdown. (I’m entitled to one of those every single move—and we’re facing our 13th meltdown.) He usually talks me down from the ledge in his calm, reassuring manner by reminding me that ‘it all works out’ and I need not stress six months in advance.
That’s generally how it goes anyway.
But, this wasn’t one of those ‘they’re going to ruin our furniture/lose my rugs/break my china’ moments for me. No, this time, his words about the housing situation set my heart pounding.
“Another house? We don’t want another house. We want the Smith’s house!” I stared at him wide-eyed.
We moved to the table and sat down across from one another. “Oh, is that what’s wrong? Well, Bergie, don’t worry about it. All the houses are basically the same size on that street. It doesn’t matter which one we get.”
“No, you’re wrong!”
“No, I’m not. Pull up the floor plans online. They vary so slightly you would never–”
“Floor plans? I don’t care about square footage and bedroom placement. I want the Smith’s house!”
“Why? Because it’s across from the club pool? Any one of the houses we’d get assigned surround the pool. It doesn’t really matter.”
“No! We have to have that one because I think it is the one that comes with a ghost!”
He looked at me blank-faced as if he wasn’t sure he’d heard me right. Or maybe he hoped he hadn’t heard right. Or maybe he hoped that I was kidding, but subconsciously knew that I wasn’t. Yeah, that was the look.
“What did you say?” He smiled his doubtful, slightly crooked, smile at me.
“I want the Smith’s house because it comes with a ghost!”
He chuckled and took a sip of his coffee. “Yeah, right.”
I stared at him dead in the eye.
He tilted his head to the right. That meant the next thing out of his mouth would be a statement. “You aren’t serious…” But, it always turns into a question. “…are you?”
“Omigod! You’re not joking.”
“Well, whenever I tell anyone about our new assignment, they say, ‘Oh! You’ll love it there. Except, don’t get the Smith’s house. It’s haunted’.”
“And of course, when you heard that you didn’t take it as a warning, did you?”
“Heck no! I’ve heard it from three different people who heard it from three different former occupants. Honey! We must get that house.”
He scoffed. “That’s ridiculous.”
“No,” I challenged. “That’s a story!”
A look of slight fear crossed his face. It had little to do with the ghost and more to do with the fact that he knows he lives with a pycho. “Couldn’t you get a story about the ghost without having to actually be roommates with it?”
I shook my head. “Can you get the taste of strawberry shortcake without having experienced it on your tongue?”
“And I’m guessing you want to taste this ghost.”
“Sure. Think about it. Actually living in a haunted house. Why, the story ideas are endless!” The words left my mouth fast and full of excitement–and the caffeine hadn’t even kicked in yet. “I mean, it’s not like it’s killed anybody yet.” I smiled.
“Yet.” He sipped his coffee, studying me. “Let me get this straight. You’d rather wait to move into that house because of some ridiculous rumor?”
“And if it turns out to be untrue?”
I smiled. “It won’t.”
“Not with your imagination it won’t.”
“Don’t look at me like that.” A blush heated my cheeks.
“If I mention the reasons for your wanting that house, Bergie, I might not be the only one to look at you a little strange.”
“And like I would notice?”
“Good point. You’d have to get out of your own little world to do that.”
“That’s why I like it up here.” I tapped my head.
“And I guess that’s the end of that discussion.” He shrugged. “Whatever.” Suddenly his eyes got wide. “You aren’t going to write another one of those novels that makes me sleep with one eye open, are you?”
One of the greatest compliments my man has ever given me involved a horror novel I wrote two years ago. After he finished reading that book, my sweet, darling husband looked at me before I turned off the lamp to go to sleep. He set the manuscript on the nightstand and said, “You scare me.”
And he meant it.