This is only the second telling of this tale in almost forty years. In 1973, at the ever observant age of four, I had my first brush with the paranormal.
On a hazy autumn morning, my mother unexpectedly interrupted my routine when she dressed me in new "going somewhere"clothes. She explained to me that we were to attend a wake that day. Even at that young age I knew that a wake had something to do with death. Furthermore I could sense her discomfort, so I did not ask any questions. She did add that it was not for a relative of ours, but of her friend Geraldine.
As our taxi pulled into the funeral home, Geraldine greeted us and accompanied in to meet the family. Unlike my mother, I knew no one there and felt a little intimidated. So I was relieved when Mom asked Geraldine to stay with me as she went into the viewing parlour to pay her respects. Geraldine sat with me in the lobby as family members conversed in small groups. I looked around, hoping to see any children that might be there. There were none, but I couldn't help noticing one person in particular. An older gent, probably in his late fifties, was listening in on a conversation extremely intently. He was a little gaunt and seemed to be very worried. He stood there with his hand on his cheek, shoulder to shoulder with one of the mourners. I watched as he left this group to listen in on another and then another, looking a little more pained each time. No one even so much as looked at him, save me.
I remember wondering, with my innocent and limited grasp of the concept of mortality, if he was the man we were here to see. With that the man turned and looked directly at me. He looked at me inquisitively and then offered up a meek smile. My eyes widened and I turned my gaze away. My heart racing, I could not resist looking back once more as I tugged on Geraldine's blouse. I successfully got her attention but to my dismay (relief?) he could no longer be found. It was just then when my mother made her way back to us asking if I was ready to go home. I was more than willing. She thanked me for being a "big boy" and behaving so well while she was gone. Not wanting to ruin it (I was seldom a "big boy"lol) I felt I should keep mum.
I have always known that the situation could be rationalized as one not of a paranormal nature, but the feeling I experienced were so intense that no rational explanation ever has ever seemed to satisfy.
Why would no one acknowledge him and it seemed that he only saw me after I wondered if he were dead. I scanned the room thoroughly for him as we left to no avail. Whereas I easily noticed the strange man before.
To this very day, I have never been able to shake the eerie suspicion that I witnessed a ghost at his own wake.
What do you think?