When my friend Robert suffered damage to his home from a tornado, he rented a place on Lafayette, in Georgetown, from a young man whose aunt had just passed away. It was temporary until the damage to his own home was fixed and it was habitable again.
The rental house was completely furnished since no one had bothered to clear it out, yet. It had everything Robert would need including utilities. It was also in dire need of repair from years of neglect, but at $300 a month plus the utilities, he jumped on it.
Since he didn't drive, I drove him over to his new home and when I walked in the door, I could feel it. There was absolutely no mistaking it; the house was haunted.
I didn't say anything to Robert because in the past, whenever I would tell him about a ghostly experience, he would just roll his eyes at me and walk away.
"You don't believe me?" I would ask with a chuckle.
He often gave his customary response, "I don't want to talk about it."
Although I did not say it out loud that his temporary dwelling was haunted, I did turn to look at him. I could see by the look on his face that he knew it, too. I realized then that it wasn’t he didn’t believe, he was just afraid to acknowledge it out loud.
I got a call early one morning. It was Robert, "Michelle, can you come get me?"
"Sure, want to go to breakfast?" I offered half-jokingly.
He has always, with emphasis on always, turned me down. Robert was raised in an era that a black man and a white woman seen together in public could be disastrous especially, if she were married. Today, though, Robert said yes to the offer.
"Okay, what happened?" I asked over breakfast. I knew something had happened for him to jump at the chance to leave the house.
"I woke up feeling like someone was staring at me. I rolled over and there was a black lady standing right next to me by the bed staring at me. She didn't look happy, either."
"Holy scrambled eggs! Did she say anything? Who was it? Did she run out when you woke up? How did she get in the house? Did you lock the door before you went to bed?" I could not stop my mind from the possibilities, except for one...
"She vanished...into thin air!" he answered animatedly.
I shook my head, "A ghost?" Robert nodded in agreement. "A full apparition; head to toe?"
With a tone of sarcasm, he answered, "I don't know; I didn't bother to see if she had feet when she disappeared. And, that's not all, either. The other morning, I was in the shower and when I turned around to rinse off my back, that same woman was peeking around the shower curtain at me, only this time, she was curious, like she was trying to figure out who I was. I hear someone in the kitchen like they're cooking all-the-time! Sometimes, I even smell the food and when I go look, nothing!"
I was in awe. "Was the shower incident another full-body apparition?"
"No," he answered, "I could tell it was just her head and the hand she was using to pull back the shower curtain. I haven't showered since, I just been washing up and I'm not going to sleep in her bed anymore, either. I'll just stay on the couch."
We had already offered our spare room to Robert when we picked him up from the hospital after the tornado and he refused. I made the same offer to him again: to let him stay in our spare room, free of charge, until he could get back on his feet again.
He refused again...it was the black-white thing. I understood. It was the way he was raised. In the end, I took him back to his haunted rental house on Lafayette and just kept checking in on him until he could move back to his own home.
It seemed that if he stayed out of her shower and out of her bed, she left him alone. If he moved something in the house, Robert would wake up in the morning and find it back in the original place. The daily phantom sounds of someone in the kitchen cooking with occasional scents of food never did go away, though.