Mister Loves Sunshine.
Ava loved to dance on that wood floor. She twirled and flounced like only a 5 year old could. She would always dance when the sun shone through the window, and the music would be as loud as she could make it without being told to turn it off.
I would be puttering around the house, cleaning, or cooking, or sometimes knitting. She would not dance if she thought I was watching. If she causght me watching, she would get so angry with me.
“Mom, this is for Mister, not for you. I’m going upstairs,” she would say to me.
The few times I was able to observe her finish her dance, she would curtsy very formally into the same spot, to the right of the fireplace.
When we first moved here, there was some falling apart old furniture, and the spot she chose to curtsy to used to be the home of the most beat up rocking chair I’ve ever seen. It was moved to the basement, for eventual re-finishing. Just another line on the long list of to-dos.
I was home alone one afternoon, Ava was out playing with a friend, and I saw the kindly image of an elder man sitting in that chair, in the afternoon sun. He nodded toward me, then faded away.
Ava began taking Mister with her almost everywhere she went. Outside to play, and with her when she did her chores. He finally got a place setting at the dinner table. Long conversations were had with Mister, and Ava wanted to go visit him. She told me he was dead, and she could find his grave marker if we went.
Ava started having nightmares, evil men chased her into the basement. She would wake screaming, and run into my room. She didn’t have bad dreams when she slept in my room with me. That became the norm.
One night, I felt so tired from a long day. Ava was fast asleep and I crawled into the king size bed with her. I was half dreaming when the whole bed moved. Instantly awake, I checked that Ava was still in the bed. She was still asleep.
A shriek above the bed woke her up and scared me half to death. She crawled into my arms, and I got up carried her out into the livingroom. We stayed there, awake the rest of the night.
I watched those crazy shows on TV, and wasn’t about to stick around for months of night time torture. We moved the next day.
Ava left her favorite teddy bear, with a goodbye card to Mister. I still wonder about that house, if the next family met Mister or anything else in the house.