As I look back and open the memory box in my mind, I recall a Halloween night in the mid 1980's. My boys were grown and rather than go “Trick-or-Treating”, they would go to the local park and watch the little kids' Halloween parade. They, too reminisced about when they did the same thing. Through the years while my kids were growing, my friend Anne and I had gotten into the habit of weekly family dinners. We were both divorced and our children were still little. We kept this weekly ritual even after our children were teens and no longer wanted to spend every second with their moms. We'd have dinner, and they'd leave before dessert. Anne and I would laugh as we called them “typical teen”. One night, we were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying freshly brewed coffee. Anne and I became best friends while we were married and comforted each other through our divorces. Each week when we'd get together for dinner, we took turns cooking and visiting each other's house. This time it was my turn to cook. Anne arrived with her son and daughter and we all enjoyed my homemade baked ziti. After our meal, as I brewed a pot of coffee, the kids said their “See ya, later” comments and left. Then it happened. I anticipated something; I just didn't know what or when. I never told anyone fearing they'd think I was losing my mind. Now, there was a witness. My secret was out. How could I possibly explain the situation without losing my best friend? I wondered if any friendship could survive this kind of secret. Anne brought a delicious cake for dessert and I placed it on the table with the hot carafe of coffee. As we sat and talked after dinner, I noticed Anne's half-filled cup of coffee slowly moved towards the edge of the table. I didn't say anything wondering if she saw what I did. She did and became very quiet as she sat completely still and stared at the cup not quite believing what she was seeing. When the cup reached the edge of the table, even slower than before it slid off the edge, stayed verticle, and gently lowered itself to the floor - never spilling one drop of coffee! It was as if it had been guided and yet, if I had tried to do that, there would be drops of coffee splattered everywhere. Anne inched her chair away from the table and almost jumped out of her seat. She backed away from the table and stood behind the chair tightly gripping its back. Her face was pale, almost white with fear. The wild look in her eyes was a mix of fear and confusion. She opened her mouth but at first no words were spoken. Trying to take control of the situation, I tried to explain that this sort of activity happened frequently but rarely in front of visitors adding that other similar events also happened. I told her about the dish cupboard doors rattling; faucets turned on and off on their own; the dog refused to go down the basement stairs and frequently sat at the basement door, growling while showing her teeth. These things and more are events I'd already gotten used to seeing. They didn't bother me and no longer frightened me. I just accepted them. I shrugged and tried to make light of the situation as if all these things were completely normal. They weren't but I didn't want to frighten my friend any more than she already was. Anne said that she found the situation bizarre and difficult to accept as she walked out of the kitchen and vowed to never step one foot inside my house again. Although we stayed friends for the next ten years, she kept her vow. As for our weekly dinners? When it was my turn to cook, I'd prepare the meal and bring it to her house. She was much too traumatized to come back to my house. And while she kept my secret, never again would she enter my house that was inhabited by my uninvited poltergeist.
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