An excerpt from the short story, Blanket of Ghosts – Written by Melissa W.
Lia could always feel the rain coming. Even before the weatherman predicted it on the television, Lia knew that a storm was approaching. She would always walk out onto her back porch and watch the rain fall. It reminded her of days that she would rather not think about but she could never help seeing the thoughts that rushed through her head. They plagued her like constant nightmares that wouldn’t leave her alone.
“Man, it is pouring out here,” a voice Lia knew was her best friend, Jordan’s.
Lia didn’t turn away from the rain storm, and soon she felt Jordan’s presence beside her.
“What are you doing out here anyways? Wait. I already know the answer and you know I don’t like it. When are you going to give it up, Lia?” Jordan asked.
“I have,” Lia said. “I just like to watch the rain.”
Jordan looked at her in disbelief but didn’t approach the matter anymore. A puddle began to form in front of Lia’s back steps and Jordan laughed. Lia shifted her eyes suspiciously.
“Don’t even think about it,” Lia warned. “I mean it.”
“Oh, Lia. I would never think of doing anything evil to you. Including throwing you in that puddle.”
“Right. Just like every time we pass by a pile of branches in a yard, you wouldn’t ever throw me in that pile. Now would you?” Lia asked.
Jordan shrugged and Lia shook her head. She shivered and turned to go back inside. As soon as she got cold, she always went back inside. Lia didn’t like to shiver. It reminded her of…things.
As soon as Jordan came inside, she flung herself onto the couch and flipped on the television. “Stupid commercials. They are so boring. Meaningless.”
“You didn’t come here just to harass me and the television did you?” Lia asked as she headed over to the kitchen to make dinner.
Jordan shook her head and continued to flip the channels. “Nah. I only do that on Fridays.” Jordan began to laugh causing Lia to break her thoughtful moment and join her. She always knew how to make Lia laugh even in her darkest days. Even after that night when she felt she wouldn’t be able to pick herself up again. After the night he left, Lia wasn’t sure she would be able to function. And yet, here she was: standing, breathing, and living. She was doing this without him.
Lia’s concentration was broken when Jordan started to shout. The look on Jordan’s face concerned Lia and she had known Jordan through many days when Jordan was a bit.. Crazy.
“I know how to find you a man,” Jordan said, bluntly, causing Lia’s eyebrows to raise.
“We’ve already been through this before, Jordan, and I am not going out with any of your relatives. Going on that blind date with your cousin Nick was bad enough.”
Jordan shrugged. “So I forgot to mention that he has a slight aversion to deodorant and spits every time he talks. I thought you guys had potential.”
Lia just shook her head. There was no way she could ever have any kind of potential with Nick Riley. Ever. Not unless her sense of smell suddenly disappeared and she wore a rain retardant parka everywhere.
“Nope, Lia, I just figured out the master plan to find you the perfect man.” Jordan motioned towards the television in an impatient manner. Lia put down the dish towel she was holding and walked over to see what Jordan was meaning. Her heart sank and she groaned.
“You want me to post a profile on E-Harmony.com?”
Jordan stood up and started to fling her hands around in the air in the emphasized gesture she always uses when she is trying to convince Lia to do something she thinks is a ‘master plan’. “Lia, Lia, Lia. E-Harmony is the way to go. They say they will match you to the perfect guy based on your interests and compatibility. They’ll search through all those ugly duds and find you Mr. Right and Gorgeous.”
Lia watched with dismay as Jordan rushed to Lia’s computer and went to the website. She wanted to grab her laptop away and tell Jordan to go home so Lia could enjoy the rain in peace. Just let her enjoy the rain. But she couldn’t. She never could because Jordan always meant well. They all meant well. Her family, friends, employees at the blues club she owned in downtown Memphis. They all wanted Lia to be happy. And she thought she was. Even without Mr. Right and Gorgeous.
“Oh boy. Would you look at these couples? Wow, these two look extremely happy. And they got married a year later! Just think Lia. That could be you on this website a year from now. All happy and married…maybe with a kid on the way that you can name Jordan. It sound perfect to me. I’ll sign you up,” Jordan rambled, typing furiously at the keyboard.
There was no use trying to dissuade her from the idea, so Lia went back into the kitchen and looked out the window while she washed the dishes. I am happy, she convinced herself. But, maybe going out on a few dates won’t hurt. I could try.
Jordan clapped her hands signaling that she was finished. She ran into the kitchen and hugged Lia.
“I know this is how you are going to meet the love of your life and quit moping around thinking about you know who. He was a jerk and no good for you. I know this is going to work.”
At that moment, the rain stopped. Jordan laughed. “See? That’s a good sign.”
Lia wasn’t so sure.