P. D. Lyons
The Ghost of my Mother's Lover
Sometimes I would find the things he left, loose change under the cushions, a little red box of wood matches (that my mother took away), black liquorice candies wrapped in stripped silver foil.
And once a big silver skeleton key — that he really left for me.
One night I woke up, hearing his voice, his voice from my mother's room, his voice talking and talking. I went up to the door which was not quite closed — they were in bed together. He was sitting up and mother lay with her arms around him, head on his bare chest. He wasn't just talking he was reading, so I sat down there in the hallway and listened about Morgana the sister of a king.
I guess he didn't notice my mother was asleep because he kept on reading and whenever he turned the page I thought he would look right at me and smile.
I listened as Morgana looked into the water for pictures of the future and how some of the knights did not like her but there was one, one with dragons on his arms who loved her very much, how it was Morgana who taught the little girls of Avalon to serve the Goddess.... And I thought I have to ask him, who is this Goddess?
I must have fallen asleep there on the floor by the door of my mother's room because the next thing I remember I am being carried and in his arms! My face against pictures of blue stars and a black winged horse on his shoulder. His smell a little like the ocean mixed with something from my mother's kitchen. His muscles so great that with one arm he held me while with the other pulled back the blankets, swung me down into my bed so fast I almost laughed out loud then tucked me in.
Through my half closed eyes I could see his face coming closer and closer, then his lips touched my forehead — but soft like mother's kiss even though his breath of smoke and prickly chin were not at all like mother. As he pulled away he said so that I could hardly hear, "Sleep well. Sleep well little Morgana."
Then I remembered I wanted to ask him.... I sat up and said "Tell me—" But he was gone and already the light in my mother's room put out.