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  • To be fair, we all live with ghosts in one form or another. Still, the shower ran ice cold for way too long, and when it did finally get warm there was this odd old odour to it. Dank could be the word to describe it, but I'm relying only on memory here; what do I know? Anyway, each time I waited, cold water pouring uselessly down the drain, I would watch my reflection around the crack in the mirrored wall. It was in interesting sort of crack, rounded, about 270 degrees of a circle. The wall surrounded a very elaborate, for the 80s, hot tub, which was now being used primarily as a place to store many pairs of men's shoes. They were very neatly lined up along the three steps one would have to climb to get into the tub, and one pair, or was it two? sat on the spacious shelf around the tub. Above the crack two glass shelves held a couple of abandoned ornamental glass bottles, now dusty and a lonely looking. Obviously not his. Obviously. The shower stall had a little window, like a cell, that you could see the tub, and the crack through. I stared at it, and once I even asked how it had happened. He dodged the question, and to be honest I decided I really didn't want to know the story.

    I decided it had been the most recent departed ghost who had left her mark in the grand bathroom. She had, in a temper, and by his own account, smashed plates in the kitchen one short month before she took the kids and left the country. The first times I heard him tell this story I nodded sympathetically, yes, of course, only a crazy person would do that sort thing. Who gets angry enough to break glass I said reassuringly. Naturally, there had to have been something mentally unstable about her. Naturally.

    I started seeing her in the shadows. She had to be the reason we never went upstairs after dark. There was something about being in that bedroom, with me, after dark that he could not deal with. There were other things, her paintings on the walls of one room, still dramatic and vibrant a year after she had left, and her hair ties in a kitchen drawer.

    Then there was the 40 year old stenciled ivy and flowers that his mother had painted, in a attempted to be stylish, that climbed around several bathrooms, and in the upstairs bedroom. The same bedroom we could not be in after dark. The same bedroom he shared with her, and the same bedroom his parents conceived him in, or at least his younger sisters in.

    Twice the house had held a family. Twice a family left it behind. Now only he remained, with his neatly arranged shoes, sleeping in his parent's old bedroom, alone. Alone, except for the ghosts, of course.
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