The Rain is Full of Ghosts - Excerpt
Ingeborg is nervous about telling Tony that she’s expecting. All day she’s drifted around the house with her stomach clenched, unable to settle to anything, waiting for Tony to come home. She’s done two loads of laundry, changed the bed, and bleached the stainless sinks in the kitchen so they sparkle. The shower rod in the bathroom holds two of Tony’s wool shirts. The drying rack that dangles from the ceiling next to the woodstove in the living room is laden with other not-to-go-in-the-dryer items, namely Ingeborg’s fancy underwear. Tony is partial to black and red.
Tony is down at the boat. That’s what they call her most of the time, “the boat,” as if there were no other. Ingeborg wishes she was with him. The loves the smell of the troller—diesel and used engine-oil, dampness, the hot stove, the lemon
Pledge she shines the woodwork with. But come winter-time she isn’t much use, and Tony gets mad if she brings a book down. He likes her to be doing something while he works.
He will be glad, surely?
Ingeborg goes to the door and calls the Family Ghost. She takes great pride in the aunthetic Ah-honka ah-honka calls she makes. They are indistinguishable, to her ear at least, from the real thing. The big Canada goose drifts onto the porch. It appears to be flying, but Ingeborg has never been able to track it for more than a few feet in the air or on the ground. She wonders if the Ghost has a real existence pretending to be a bird after it leaves her, or whether it goes somewhere else entirely. Winks out here, appears elsewhere, or goes into stasis.
“You might speak to me if you’re going to call,” the Family Ghost says crossly. It waggles its bottom, deposits a slimy turd on her immaculate porch.
“Ah, for an angel, or whatever, you’re an awful messy creature,” she scolds.
The Family Ghost gives her a preening, sideways look down its black beak. “Rules, I am afraid,” it says. “’If you are going to appear in the guise of a terrestrial creature you do so with all its limitations.’ Well, most of them.”
“Then you shouldn’t be able to talk,” Ingeborg says. “Ghost, I am worried.” A trace of Danish accent slips into Ingeborg’s speech so it comes out more like “vorried.” “Are you sure I am doing the right thing? Tony did say he didn’t want kids. . . .”