17 May 2005
I woke to a phone call from Lori, who was crying as she told me about the police coming by. I could barely make out what she was saying, except that it had to do with Mark and she felt terrible. I told her I'd be right over.
When I got to her place she was sitting in the living room, still crying, and holding a VHS tape. I held her for a while until she was ready to talk, and she began to explain that the tape was from a school play in second grade where she and Mark had met after being given parts that mostly appeared in the same scenes. I didn't understand why that was important enough to be bringing up at this point, and she freaked out at me when I asked. She got up and stormed to the middle of the room, where she started pacing. Something really weird was happening with the ripples she left in the world, but I couldn't quite place them. It wasn't like anything I'd really seen before, almost like multiple very strong emotions were trying to cancel each other out.
I explained that I couldn't understand what she was saying on the phone, and she finally calmed down enough to tell me that Mark had died the night before. It seems he had arrived drunk at her place some time after I dropped her off, got inside the apartment, and started some fight with her. She said she saw him run off, and didn't hear anything else until the police came by to ask about a noise complaint from a neighbor. She told them what she knew, and when they realized she was talking about him they informed her that he had been in a fatal crash just a couple blocks away, and she broke down again while telling me about it.
I comforted her for a while, then let her go clean up and change so we could go to his mom's house. While she was in her room, I noticed a cup on the floor that had apparently spilled a while ago and put it in the kitchen for her. I offered to clean up the apartment for her, but she said it could wait, so instead I just waited for her and we headed out.
Mark's mom and stepdad already knew, as the police had called shortly after finding him. Lori spent some time talking with them while I tried to just be supportive and made phone calls to people she told me should know, and we left when they were due to go talk to the funeral director about plans for the ceremony. She was reluctant to go home, saying that all she could think about there was the fight they had as their last interaction. I brought her to my house, made sure she got some rest, and once she was asleep I went back to her place to grab some things she would need for the week. Jackie called while I was there, to talk about Alethea, but I didn't really have time for that. I suspect I won't have time for much of anything for a bit.
4 April 2005
Charles and I arrived a few minutes later than Lori had asked but since I was under the impression the actual trivia didn't start until nearly an hour later, I was sure it would be fine. She looked angry, at first, but then very quickly shifted to a smile and came over to meet us.
"Matteson! You brought a friend," she said, looking Charles over.
"Yeah, I mentioned that. Sorry we're late."
"Did you?" She waved her hand as she turned and started walking toward the table. "Doesn't matter, we still have time to eat and get some drinks first, right?"
"What is she, a gym teacher?" Charles whispered to me as we started to walk. I smacked him.
"It's more distinct than John," I whispered back. He looked like he was thinking about that for a moment.
"What are you guys whispering about back there?" she asked as she got to the table.
"Nothing important," I said. She looked at us for a moment as if sizing up that answer. The guy at the table stood from behind her and extended a hand.
"The famous Matteson, I presume?" he asked. I nodded and shook his hand.
"So it would seem." Lori lightened up and introduced us to Mark, who had just shaken my hand, as well as Beth and Bob, and I introduced Charles, before we all took our seats. As we all talked and ate and drank, Charles got into the idea of calling me Matteson and seemed to hit it off well with Bob. By the time trivia started, the two of them were cracking jokes while the rest of us tried to handle the questions. Lori started to lean against me and I had my arm around her when I wasn't the one writing. We were actually doing pretty well when a question about the difference between naiads and dryads came up. Charles, by now a few drinks in and on a roll with Bob, decided to tell his new friend about nymphs showing up at my house over the weekend. Lori sat bolt upright and stared at him, then at me. He stopped dead in his tracks and looked around at the table, with everyone stopped and looking confused.
"Nymphs?" Mark asked. "Like...the water spirits?"
"Yeah, Matteson," Charles started, "he...has he not-"
"It's not something I lead with, Charles," I hissed.
"What's this about them showing up at your house?" Lori asked, her eyes boring into my skull.
"Those are fake, though," Beth said, looking around for support. "Right?" Bob and Mark nodded.
"It was a prank, from a...friend. Thought he was helping me out. I sent them home," I answered, quietly.
"He's clearly a bit drunk and confused," Bob said, slapping Charles on the back. Charles laughed, and Beth and Mark waved the situation off and started writing the answer to the new question that came up.
"I don't think I like this friend very much," Lori whispered. I shrugged.
"I don't think we'll be seeing much of him for a while, anyway," I said. She scowled, then took a deep breath. She smiled as she turned back to the others. I glared at Charles, who mouthed an apology and then turned his gaze away to knock back some more beer.
"How was I supposed to know you didn't tell 'em you see shit?" Charles yelled, slightly slurring, as I drove him home.
"Seriously? Think about how literally everyone reacts when they first hear it," I said.
"I thought you liked the attention!"
"Oh yeah. The years of mockery and the way so many people avoid me is definitely the highlight of this ability."
"Does Lori at least know?"
"Why would she?"
"John! You're dating this girl and didn't tell her you see ghosts?"
"We aren't officially dating, and it's hardly relevant!"
"Look, man. If you do see what you say you see, it's always relevant."
"And I'm right! You need to tell her if this is gonna be a Thing." I sat quietly for a moment, then turned up the radio. He rolled his eyes and leaned on his window to watch the lights the rest of the way to his place.
The blog of John Matteson.