Blake and I recently made a trip to my hometown of Savannah – A Haunted Trip to a Haunted House in a Haunted City.
One of the highlights was seeing Georgia, a dear friend of mine from years ago. Georgia moved away with her family when we were children. Now that she’s grown, widowed and has three children of her own, she returned to our lovely little haunted town.
George doesn’t see ghosts. But she doesn’t mind that I do. That always endeared me to her.
While Blake went to meet an eccentric client, I met Georgia at her home in the historic district. She and her two girls had moved into her parents’ elegant home which had been sitting empty most of the year. Her parents love to travel. So, when Georgia’s husband died they insisted she move back and live in the home where she had been raised. “It will bring you good luck,” her mother told her. “And we can help you raise those sweet girls. Turn them back into proper Southerners.”
When I first saw Georgia, I also saw someone else in the room. Her deceased husband, Andrew. He hadn’t crossed over yet. Great.
Georgia never told me how he died. Well, she said he had pneumonia. But I knew she was hedging. There’s always more to every story.
Andrew didn’t hedge, though. “I was gay,” he said while Georgia and I hugged hello. “Tell her I’m sorry. Tell her I’m just so sorry.” He was near frantic.
I didn’t tell her. Not at first. Telling someone, even a close friend someone that you know their intimate secrets, is kind of a buzz kill. Especially if you launch into that kind of information too soon in the conversation.
But after a glass or two of Prosecco in the sun room…
“So, Andrew passed. I’m so sorry, Georgia. How are you and the girls handling everything?”
“Oh, fine. Fine. You know it’s hard. But he was sick. They didn’t want him to suffer anymore.”
“What else do they know, sweetheart?” I placed my hand on Georgia’s hand and the tears fell almost immediately.
“Is he here?” Georgia rubbed at her red cheeks. “I feel him with me all the time. I know he’s still around.”
“He’s here.” I said as I gave her hand a light squeeze. “He says he’s sorry.”
“Oh, God, Andrew. I’m not mad. Not anymore. I just need this nightmare to be over. He was so – sick.”
“He had AIDS?” I asked.
“Are you and the girls healthy?”
“Oh, yes. We’re fine. You know the sex left our marriage a long time ago. Obviously I now know why. You know I thought he was older and single because he just hadn’t found the right girl, yet. Turned out his grandmother was going to write him out of her will if he didn’t get married. I was just the fool who couldn’t see what was really going on.”
Andrew stood behind her, shook his head vehemently and passed a critical message to me. “George, he’s saying that’s not the way it was. He’s saying it was his fault. That he didn’t mean to, but he fell in love with you. And he thought he could make this work. He just keeps saying he’s so sorry. Tell her I’m sorry.”
As usual, ghosts impart more meaning and story with feeling and pictures than with words. And Georgia and Andrew’s courtship presented itself for me like a mini-movie.
“You know, George. It’s like you to blame yourself when something goes awry. There’s a price we pay for doing that. Plus, Andrew’s saying this was his fault, not yours. And he seems to feel really badly about it.”
Andrew showed me his life before Georgia, lots of men, lots of dating. And then – whoa. Someone that looks like a wealthy older woman.
“George, his grandmother – she has silver hair and it looks like three gold rings on each hand?”
“Oh, that’s her.” Georgia rolled her eyes and shook her head.
I took a deep breath as Andrew smiled and sent me his message.
“George, you’re about to be a very wealthy woman.”
“What do you mean?” Georgia wiped the tears from her cheeks.
“Andrew tells me he’s on his way to meet his grandmother. He’s part of her welcoming committee.”
Georgia’s eyebrows climbed as high as her Botox injections would allow. “She’s about to die?”
I nodded and laughed a little as Andrew broke out in a fit of laughter. “He says you’ll inherit everything she leaves behind.”
“I can hear him laughing,” she said. “You know, just a little. Like a distant echo.”
“That’s him.” I said.
I watched Andrew lean down and kiss Georgia on the cheek. “I’m sorry, love. I really do love you.”
Georgia rubbed her fingertips against her cheek and a double breath escaped her lips.
“He really did love us.”
“He really did, sweetheart.”