Little Sister

“Whose jacket is this?” Mary asked me, as she grabbed her wrap from the coat rack on the wall.

I look at it as she lifts it up, “I don’t know. Maybe it belongs to one of the kids. Could have left it when they were here last week.”

“You’d think one of us would have noticed it before then,” she said.

In a hurry to get to work, she hung it back on the hook and headed out the door. I returned to my keyboard and computer after seeing her off, without giving the jacket another thought.

Around 11 that morning, the doorbell rang and light knocking came at the front door. I had jus’ filed my first article and was needing a break anyway.

I opened the door to a young man of about 15-years.

“Hi,” he choked, obviously shy and uncertain about what he was about to say.

“Hello,” I said. “What can I do for you?”

“Umm, I’m here to see Marcy,” he tried smiling.

I must have given him a hard stare, because he stepped back from the doorway as if he thought I was about to punch him or something.

“Are you sure her name is Marcy?” I asked.

“That’s what she told me last night after our walk around the neighborhood,” he said.

“You and Marcy went for a walk? Last night?” I asked.

“Yes, sir,” he answered.

A teenager using the polite word ‘sir,’ turned me. I had been thinking he was there to pull some sort of prank on me and I was trying to decide if I should shew him away or invite him in for a further conversation.

“Come in,” I smiled.

He hesitatingly step in the doorway as I made my way to the kitchen.

“Wanna cup of coffee, a soda, some water?” I asked.

“No thank you,” he answered. “I jus’ wanted to see Marcy again and get my coat from her.”

“Is that your coat then?” I asked, pointing to the one we hadn’t recognized earlier.

“Yes,” he said, adding ‘sir,’ following a pause.

I sighed heavily, then said, “Well, you best come in and sit down. I’ve got somethings to tell you.”

Hesitantly, he walked around and sat on the couch.

“Be right back,” I offered.

With my coffee cup in hand, I walked down the hall to the back room and pulled down a photo album, and returned to the living room. I slid a chair across the floor so we were nearly knee-to-knee and opened the book.

“Is that her, Marcy, I mean?” I asked.

“That is,” he answered.

“I thought so,” I returned.

“She does live here, doesn’t she?” he asked.

“Well,” I stumbled, “Yes and no.”

He knitted his brows as he tried to make sense of this last statement.

“I’m not sure who or what you took a walk with last night,” I began, “But know it wasn’t Marcy – at least in a human form – you see, my youngest sister died over three-years-ago at the age of 47 and you see that redwood box on top the Ethan Allen?”

He looked towards where I was pointing and nodded.

“Those are her earthly cremains,” I continued, “So, yes, she is here and no, she’s not. I’m sorry.”

He sat for a minute, looking stunned before saying, “But she was so real.”

“I honestly don’t know what to tell you,” I replied.

Still in shock, he rose, offered his hand and said, “I’m sorry for your loss and I’m sorry to have bothered you like this.”

We proceeded to the front door as I told him, “Thank you for the condolences and you haven’t bothered me a bit. You see, this isn’t the first time Marcy has done this.”

He looked blankly at me as I nodded my head, before adding, “If you need to talk about this some more or if you happen to see her again, don’t be afraid to drop by as I’m always open to talking about her, it, when ever you would like.”

I handed him his jacket and as he looked down at it, I could tell he wanted to ask how it came to be hanging inside our house, but I answered before he could say a word, “I have no explanation, so your guess is as good as mine.”

I closed the door as soon as he left the porch, side-eyeing the redwood box as I passed by to continue writing up my next news assignment.

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