"The trailer next door to the Finleys is for rent" I mentioned that night as I grated the cheese for dinner. My Mom stood right next to me in the tiny kitchen, stirring taco meat.
"Which trailer?" she asked, disinterested.
"The blue one." I replied, not quite sure why I'd brought it up.
My dad walked in, his hands stained orange from sorting cherries and circles under his eyes from teaching driver's ed. "We don't want a blue trailer. We already have a gold one." he joked, yawning and mussing my hair.
I put the cheese on the table next to the diced tomatoes and the sour cream, and then heard the front door slide open. Rose was home. I didn't even have to take a step to grab another plate out of the cupboard and put it on the table for her.
She poked her head into the kitchen, "Mm, smells good, Mom." My Mother beamed at her, "Staying for dinner, Rose?" "Um, yeah. Think so. I'll be here tonight." There was a tiny hesitation in her voice that I noticed as I placed a fork next to her plate. She glanced at me and then looked away.
"Hey, kiddo" my Dad said to me as he plunked himself down into his seat "You wanna get in your pajamas and go to Brewsters for 'Free Ice Cream if you Wear Your Pajamas' night?"
I nodded vigorously, already going through the list of flavors in my mind. Grasshopper... Cinnamon... Chocolate Explosion... Graham Cracker...
"Are we not invited?" my Mom pretended to pout.
"No. You always complain about being seen in your pajamas in public" Dad teased back.
Half an hour later I was standing in front of Brewsters, considering the list of ice cream flavors. I was wearing my fuzzy purple pajama pants and an old t-shirt with my slippers. My dad was wearing matching navy blue silk pajamas with a black robe. We'd given them to him for Christmas. Former students gaped and giggled, and he smiled at them good naturedly. He already knew what he wanted "Fudge Brownie Mud Slide." I couldn't decide between "Jamaican Me Crazy" and "Birthday Cake Confetti", and then I saw the Flavor of the Week: blackberry.
Blackberry. Who was that girl? I'd kept looking for her, everywhere, in the couple weeks since I'd seen her there, in the blackberries. I'd purposely wandered through all the neighborhoods anywhere close to that wild berry patch, and never seen the slightest trace of her. I was beginning to think that maybe I'd seen a ghost.