The Ghost by the Sandbox
Grand Rapids, Michigan is a horrible city to grow up in for an only child seeking adventure. No 500 year old cathedrals cast long dark shadows over the ground, no witches live in Victorian houses surrounded by cold steel gates and no ghosts haunt ancient cemeteries. I know, I looked for them. For years, whenever my parents bought me a new necklace or ring, I’d put the trinket on and hold the metal tight, waiting to feel a tingle of magic, even from the cheapest chain store jewelry. I liked to pretend each plastic jewel came from Egypt, its magical properties remaining unknown until it fell into my hot, little hands. All of my solitary childhood quests for mystery, adventure and what I realize now to be individuality proved unsuccessful. One time in the fifth grade, however, I wasn’t alone in my search.
The adventure started with a thunderstorm during class. The power went out throughout the entire school. Windows rattled in their frames and students jumped in their seats or under their tables with each bang of thunder. I spent much of the dark hour looking out the window as large angry drops of rain pounded against the clear surface. When the light returned and the students calmed, one of my friends, a pale brunette and fellow fifth grader named Kyra, approached me and whispered that she had seen a shimmering ghost during the power outage.“She was outside. On a tree branch.”
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