To Live as a Ghost

There’s a woman who lives in the neighborhood who surely must feel like a ghost, or perhaps she’s just incredibly shy. I’ve known of her existence every since she married her husband, and I’ve known him for somewhere in the vicinity of 15 years. Not that we have ever been on really friendly terms, but we’ve never been on bad terms, not face-to-face anyway. My husband used to call him semi-frequently to get a river report perhaps or some other news. She never answered the phone to my knowledge.

Yesterday, I saw her for the second time since she’s been out here. The first time, I wasn’t sure who she was. Even though we both spoke with her husband briefly, she never approached, merely remaining seated in their boat until her husband had finished getting their plane ready. They went to town.

Like that day, only much closer physically, she never said a word to me. She and her husband, and I and the remaining staff from the lodge were on the beach waiting to meet a plane. Two planes, actually – she and her husband were helping the owners of the neighboring lodge meet a plane, and I and the caretaker of the lodge where I work were waiting to put the last of the departing staff on another plane. Both planes were arriving at the same time and would be parking at the same sandbar.

I spoke with her husband, joshing with him about his new 4wheeler – it looked like a miniature yellow jeep – really kind of cool, with a little tailgate and everything. He was going to be looking after that lodge for the winter, he was helping the owners with all their luggage and such. I got involved because I bought some fuel right then and my little drum was added to the trailer hitched to his baby jeep.

So this ghost woman stood there while I asked for the fuel. She stood there through it all. To the best of my knowledge, she spoke to no one, though she might have spoken to those lodge owners at some point. Like last time, her husband didn’t bother to introduce her, though I admit, before she was nowhere near as close. Surely curtsy should have required her husband to at least make an introduction. Surely he realized we had never met.

What must her life be like? Does she speak to anyone? Does she have any friends out here? I would not consider her husband a gentleman. He is the type of person who thinks they control all they survey, as the old saying goes. Does he control her in the same way? I hope not.

I knew his first wife. Their’s was a marriage of convenience, I believe. Though I don’t know for sure, they were married long enough for her to get her citizenship, I think. To the best of my knowledge, he was good to her. He even helped her build her own house after they were divorced. She used to handle bookings for several of the lodges around. It paid the bills. That place has now sold and she has moved to town.

But I digress. That woman was much more animated, more outgoing. This ghost stands quietly, or sits primly, and is always silent, never a wave or even a glance, let alone a smile. Sad really.

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Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very sad, Anna.

  2. I guess you could introduce yourself the next time you are in a group. Not saying I would have thought to do it at the time. I would have been surprised, too. Maybe she’s that shy, afraid of people. There are those.

    Interesting story.

  3. I suppose I could next time I see her. Might be some years before I do.

    • Hehe. You made me laugh–years before you’ll see her again. I love Alaska.

      • That’s just an indication of how often either she or I get out. I’m pretty stranded here for the winter. We could dig ourselves out but really there’s no place to go, and if I want to go to town, I’d much rather catch a plane and packing a runway is tons easier than packing a trail out to go anywhere around here.


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