TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Linda glanced over at Melody, again. She knew she wanted to know all about her brother, Ghost, but she knew it would take time for Ghost to feel comfortable opening up to his sister.
"I know you want answers, Melody," Linda said. "I don't know when Ghost will feel ready to say more about his life, and his life with Steve. When he's ready, I'm sure he will. He may feel you're not ready to hear it, yet." She sighed, knowing there was still so much Melody had to learn about her new family.
Melody shrugged, "Guess I'll just have to wait, then." She looked out the window of the van, looking at the passing scenery, but not really seeing it. Her thoughts were on Ghost.
After a little while, she asked quietly, "He has problems, doesn't he?" She was frowning, and biting her lower lip.
Oh, God...she is so like Ghost in the way she looks, and moves...how on Earth, what on Earth can I say to her?
"Honey, Ghost has been through more than anyone should ever have to deal with," Linda said. "He has problems, big ones, serious ones, but he is doing his best. He's the sweetest person I've ever met, though. Just take him like he is...just love him...that's all he wants." She took a deep breath, collecting her thoughts. "I will warn you, though, he does have seizures at times, so don't be afraid when he does. Just comfort him, and see that he doesn't hurt himself. It's scary, but so far he's come out of them ok."
"Oh, Linda, that's awful, but thank you for telling me," Melody said.
They drove in silence for a little while, then Linda asked, "What about you? I know you were adopted when you were a baby, but they never told you until recently?"
Nodding, Melody said, "Yep, that's about it. It was just out of the blue that I found out. Well, we never really got along. We argued all the time, my mom and me, then right in the middle of yelling at me, she blurted it out. I was shocked of course, and didn't believe her. But, the more I thought about it, it made sense, I guess. We were nothing alike." She shrugged. "You know, I was grateful that someone took me in for all those years, but it wasn't Disneyland, for sure."
"Were there any other children?" Linda asked.
"Nope, just me. After I found out, I didn't see any reason to stick around. I was old enough to leave home, anyway, and be on my own. So, I just went here and there, travelling as much as I could. That's when I saw Ghost and Steve at a place, playing a gig. That was so freaky. I had no idea what to do, ya know, seeing that Ghost looked just like me. I was scared to find out who they were, and where they came from. I wish I had, though." She laughed, as she remembered that night.
"Wow, it sure must have been unsettling to find someone that looked like you, that you'd never heard of before," Linda said. "I understand how you were hesitant to find out."
"Um-hmm...I was at the time." Melody took a minute, before she continued. "You see, Linda, I did have a pretty normal growing up. There were good times, too, don't get me wrong. My friends had the same complaints about their parents as I did. You know how teenagers are." She rolled her eyes, and smiled.
"Yes, I do," Linda said, "and I'm trying to be prepared for when Stevie and Mandy are that age."
Melody looked in the back seat at the kids. "They are awesome kids, Linda. I don't think they'll give you much trouble."
Over in the U-Haul, Steve was singing along to the songs on the radio, and tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. Ghost had been asleep quite a while, but was now waking up, and singing along with Steve.
"You awake, yet?" Steve asked.
"No, where are we?" Ghost asked.
"Well, hell, sit up and see for yourself."
Ghost raised up a bit, to look out the front window. "The mountains...Steve, it's our mountains!" he was grinning big.
"Yep, the very ones," Steve said, and laughed. "The Great Smoky Mountains. We'll be up there pretty soon, and in North Carolina. I'm thinking we can make it all the way to the visitor's center, and the cabins, before we stop."
"Yes...don't stop until we get there," Ghost said.
"Well, unless you'd rather stay at the haunted old house, like that one time we did."
"Uh-uh, no way, Steve. That old lady was mean."
"I know, so the cabins it is," Steve said. "Why don't you call Linda's phone? Melody will answer, and you can tell them our plan, ok?"
"Oh, good idea. Just remind me of the letters to push, again." He took the phone from his backpack, and called Linda, with Steve's instructions."
In the van, Linda's phone rang. "Hello?" Melody asked.
"Um, hey...it's me Ghost."
"Oh, hey, what's up?"
"We was gonna tell ya we're going to the mountains, and...oh, yeah, there's some cabins we can stay at tonight," Ghost said.
Melody relayed this information to Linda. "She says that sounds good to her."
"So, that's all I guess," Ghost said. "Bye." He turned the phone off, and looked at Steve. "Now what?"
Steve shrugged. "Keep driving for now. Oh, see if there's a snack or some water in here. I need some of both,"
Ghost reached for a grocery bag down in the floor board. "Here's some water," he handed the bottle to Steve.
"So, how's the hangover, today?" Steve asked.
"The what? Oh, I don't guess I had one. Or it disappeared, or...well, I feel good," Ghost said. He got out a package of peanut butter, cheese crackers to share.
"Well, I'm surprised, since y'all were drunk and high last night," Steve said.
Ghost shrugged. "I don't remember."
"Do you remember sleep walking and climbing a tree?"
"No, just you saying I did."
"Hmm, odd...well, did you have any weed left?"
"Yeah, a little bit. Ya want some now?" Ghost asked. "I can roll one."
"No, we'll wait until tonight in our cabin. Sound ok to you?"
"Sure," Ghost said, and grinned. He caught the underlying message Steve was suggesting. "We can do that, too."
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing