A warm ghost possessed me. I let her in and she spread through me, like a wave the same temperature as my skin lapping at my ankles.
I could not tell whose surprise I felt when she used my eyes and my memories to look around at this life. The job – her. The body – her. But the hobbies, the friends, the dreams – the shock must have been mine. I wrapped my arms around myself, hugging her against me.
That warm little ghost prodded and pried and I let her. She riffled through my mind like a librarian thumbing through a book, too curious to pause on any one line. Pages and past lives flashed between us.
The thread began to fray. Whatever tethered us together, whatever allowed both of us to be at the same time and in the same place began to break. The tide went back out, leaving my ankles damp but cold.
“Visit your grandfather,” I said as she faded.
“Just do it.” I knew she wouldn’t. Time is fixed but not linear. We could overlap, but I could not change her mistakes, no more than she could wipe away the scars they’d left behind.
Totally separated, I could lift her now. God, had I ever been that small? Had I ever been that frail? I carried that hurt child and set her in the ground to sleep and dream. Had I ever believed in so much so impractically?
The tide went out, leaving my feet dry.