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The Perfect Orange Peel

 

A few years ago on a sultry afternoon, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother at her flat in Queenstown. We were remembering departed family members and friends from times long past over a pot of Chinese "oolong" tea. The fragrance of the black tea rose before us in little wisps of hot, curling streamers.

My mother (now in her eighties) had retired from teaching in her late-fifties to be the full-time carer for my father when his Alzheimer's worsened. During the last years of his life, Dad's decline also made it difficult to control his diabetes. His vision disintegrated, along with the rest of his physical and mental state. In the 14 years since Dad's passing, Mum has lived alone for most of this time. In recent years, she has consented to the services of a domestic helper, though she still refuses to move in with my older sister, preferring her independence.

As we sipped at the steaming tea, Mum told me that she had some vivid dreams about Dad in the months soon after he passed away. Sometimes, she would also feel his presence very strongly around the flat. Once in a while, she would catch unexpected whiffs of his scent, something that was uniquely Dad; the salt and muskiness of light perspiration and stale cigarette smoke.

Mum also received a few strange calls in the months following the funeral. There would be no one answering on the line, but she had the distinct impression there was someone listening on the other side. Fearing that she was being stalked by would-be thieves, we advised her to change her phone number and only give the new number out to close family and friends, or essential contacts like her doctor.

But there was one particular incident that really unsettled her. It concerned - of all things - a mandarin orange peel.

The Queenstown flat had a long galley kitchen and the bench top at the time was of brown, textured melamine and the cabinets were a light-coloured pine. Mum liked to have fresh fruit and would keep a bowl of oranges or bananas on the kitchen bench top.

One morning, she woke to find a discarded mandarin orange peel sitting on the kitchen bench top. It was perfectly peeled in a long unbroken strip and neatly arranged back into the rounded shape of an orange. She was sure it hadn't been there when she went to bed.

She had no memory of peeling a mandarin, let alone eating it. There was no sign that anyone had broken in past the outer security gate and the deadlock on the front door. Besides, what burglar would stay long enough to carefully peel and eat a fruit, and then not take anything else of value?

It was such an innocuous thing, that mysterious orange peel. After showing it to my Aunt Rose (not her real name), Mum found the sight of it so unnerving that she threw it straight down the garbage chute, which was located under the kitchen sink.

I discussed this incident with Aunt Rose when I heard about it. She thought that my mother may have taken a sleeping tablet or something else that night, woke up half-asleep and then peeled and eaten the mandarin herself. But when I tried bringing up this possibility, Mum was very adamant she didn't take any such medication that night and on the occasions she did, she only took half a tablet anyway. Mum was certain she wasn't imagining the whole incident.

Furthermore, she pointed out that in our family, only my father had the steady hands required to methodically peel the delicate rind of a small mandarin without breaking it. My sisters and I have all tried at various times to challenge Dad at this and none of us ever succeeded in getting a continuous length of orange peel. Mum never had the patience to even try; she would simply break away bits of the rind until she got to the orange segments inside.

So even if Mum had somehow peeled and eaten the fruit in her sleep, how could she manage to keep the peel intact when she couldn't even do that awake?

Who really made the perfect orange peel?

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Jubeele, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-04)
Hey Em, great to hear from you! ❤ How are things in Texas? Isn't it funny both our fathers shared this talent? Dad always showed off his masterpiece with a flourish too. I remember that "HAH" moment. I can't help this sneaky suspicion that Dad somehow, somewhere had a hand in that orange peel...
EmmalineTexas (10 stories) (163 posts)
+3
1 year ago (2018-04-03)
Jubeele - I wonder if your father tried to contact your mother to make peace but was unable to get the message through. Maybe he settled for a smile at the memory of those perfect mandarin peels? It's a talent! That reminded me so much of my own father carefully peeling apples in one perfect spiral. He always did it and was like HAH look at that. Maybe this was HAH I got through! ❤
Serenflipppity (guest)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-02)
Dad's a definite die-hard so don't expect him to go anywhere anytime soon, even though Mum's the sometimes scary matriarch:D Must have been a fun household to grow up in ^.^

Reading my way through all your stories and enjoying meeting all the 'characters'.
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-02)
Hi Serenflippity (that's a fun name 😜), thanks for reading and sharing your comment.

Mum showing the middle? Haha - must tell her that. She rigorously cleansed the flat of Dad's belongings after that incident. She wanted nothing of his around. Did I mention she still has issues? 🙄

Soon after that, I started having a few dreams that Dad came to visit me. Nothing spooky; just dreams of him being with us at mealtimes, doing regular stuff. Who knows? Maybe he was making contact with me since Mum had warded the flat against him. Poor Dad. But there's one rule in our family - don't make Mum angry! 😟
Serenflipppity (guest)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-02)
Hi, Jubeele. I don't have much experience or knowledge on the subject of ghosts etc but I would surmise it was your dad's way of letting you know he's watching over your mom - so don't worry about her too much. Conversely, it could have been your mother's way of showing your dad the middle finger - I see from your comments she wasn't altogether happy with him.

Great read. Thank you for sharing.

All the best, Maxine
CuriousDee (8 stories) (630 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-02)
Jubeele: Now I understand. I'm glad it has settled down there. Thank you for responding.😊
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
Hi CuriousDee, the orange peel was Dad's special trademark in the family. Mum strongly felt he was around at the time. It really bothered her because there were unresolved issues between them and even to this day, she's still not happy with him. 😠

The flat in Queenstown was built over a Chinese cemetery. Around the time, they also renovated the whole housing estate. I've wondered too if that stirred up a bit of activity around the place again.

But the flat was fairly peaceful when I visited a few weeks ago. It wasn't as unsettled as I remembered from my childhood. Maybe my personal shield is actually working... 😉
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
It was one of Dad's special skills, lady-glow. My sisters and I have all tried and failed to peel mandarins the same perfect way as Dad. I think we also lacked the patience. I still can't get to the end of the rind without breaking off a fragment.

Glad I could share Mum's account with you. ❤
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
Hi Fergie, I've gone over the details a few times with Mum on this. 😉 But even after all these years, she's still absolutely convinced it was Dad.

In the months after he'd gone, there were times she was sure he was standing right behind her in the flat. She could smell his particular scent: cologne, perspiration, cigarette etc. She was quite taken aback. 😲

Glad you enjoyed this. ❤
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
Hi Roy, I've wondered if her medication could somehow make her sleepwalk too. Then again, I'm not sure if sleepwalking could make her fingers suddenly extra nimble. 🤔 Still, I prefer the thought of that than my Mum with a burglar in the flat - now that's seriously scary! 😨
CuriousDee (8 stories) (630 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
Definitely strange. Do you know why the orange peel would upset your mom? Does she believe your dad is still around the house?
lady-glow (11 stories) (2395 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
Jubeele.

That's puzzling. If peeling oranges in such a neat way was your father's signature, it's hard to think someone else than himself would have done it.

Great read.
Thanks for sharing. ❤
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
Jubeele, that is truly weird. 😲

I would conclude, if your dad was the only one to do something like that... It must have been the old man himself.

Thank you for sharing another fascinating narrative. ❤
roylynx (guest)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
Very odd encounter indeed!
Sometimes a person can be so perfect during the time they are "sleep walking" and could be clumsy when they are awake. I am not sure if it was a joke, my friend said that her uncle use to sleep walk ending up on a roof top but then he will not be able to go back down when he wakes up LOL

If we want to be positive about it, let it just be a sleep walk lol

E.Lynx
Jubeele (17 stories) (755 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
RC, you're the first! I asked Mum about this again a few weeks ago. She still insists it wasn't her who ate and peeled the orange. It's a mystery. But at least Aunt Rose did confirm the existence of that orange peel. 🍊

Thanks for reading. 😊
RCRuskin (8 stories) (548 posts)
+2
1 year ago (2018-04-01)
I got nothing.:P Certain medications can result in doing things while not being aware or remembering afterwards. Such as the time I had a specific medical exam. I remember getting the sedative, and then arriving home from the appointment; a friend drove. I had a $10 bill in my wallet. The next morning, which is the next clear day I have memory of, I had $5 in my wallet and a sandwich in the refrigerator, so I must have walked or driven across the street to buy it.

If someone could not peel the orange that way while aware, I doubt they could do it while medicated. So either there is someone else in the house, or dad got hungry.

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