Sighting: December 20, 1999

Miss Reinland called on behalf of the principal and asked when I could return to work.  I said that I had contracted chicken pox, that I never had chicken pox as a child, and that my case was particularly bad.  My voice became hoarse as if from coughing or a fight with a pernicious disease, as if I had become tired, resigned to a long fight with sickness.  I said, in order to avoid infecting the student body, I would be unable to teach until after Christmas. 

While we talked I could hear a clicking across the line, a mechanical noise of something not me or Miss Reinland.

I don’t go outside.  I know she’s out there.  She stalks around my house, tries to peek through the blinds.  I found fog marks on the outside of my windows this morning, as if somebody pressed themselves against the glass.  She wants in, wants out of the cold, wants to be back in time for Christmas, wants to be un-lost.  Her fingernails scrape the paint.   

Yesterday I tried to give her locket to a little girl slinging cookies.  She dropped a box of chocolate chip and ran away, her little mittens flapping like unfortunate wings on strings coming from the sleeves of her coat.  Like her hands had fallen off and were erratically waving goodbye.