Lovelight's first encounter with a so-called ghost was when she was three. She had been in the garden behind her parent's house as usual for her to be during the day. Her Mom would sit on the back porch swing, knitting clothing for her, at least that's what it looked like at the time, while she hopped, skipped, leapt and twirled her arms, singing her favorite Disney songs, or wisps of classical music which she would hum since she didn't know any words to them.
Her Mom would look up from time to time and laugh, or sometimes put down her work and clap her hands if Lovelight made a particularly interesting twirl, or made up lyrics that were cute and adorable. And they were. She could still hum them even at the bright old age of seventeen. She'd stand in the bathroom, brushing the snarls out of her long blonde hair, and sing like her favorite character Snow White, or Cinderella about a Prince who would come to rescue her some day and kiss her sleepiness away.
She had to smile about that because the Frog Prince was not a tale she could ever really get behind. The idea of kissing a frog to get a Prince to marry was just horrible to her. She didn't hate frogs, but something about them reminded her of other things she could see from the corners of her eyes sometimes. Not ghosts, but things. Creepy things. Scary things.
Later on she would realize and learn that the creepy things were ghosts, or people who had sunk so low in their evolution that they had become animal-like, or like monsters. She would then realize where the legends of demons and monsters came from. When people became so dark and negative their entire physical body would deform. Not their earth physical one, but their etheric body, the one everyone called a ghost, but were really just earthbound people. But more on that another time.
So she had been doing her usual jig about the backyard, diving into bushes of overflowing marigolds and daisy mums, and then charging like a bull rhino through cascades of grape vines her grandfather had installed on a large overhead gazebo she would dance through in and out of the myriad plants and flowers in her backyard.
Her backyard was her Wonderland. She didn't need to drop down a hole to find treasures and adventures, not to discover talking rabbits and door mice. Her wonderland was filled with remarkable things, like tiny gnomes with peaked brown hats, long suspenders that held up green pants, with thick beards and mustaches and glowing brown eyes that would dance about the plants, singing to them to help them grow, and sometimes rubbing their kind of magic into the bark of the plants to help nourish them.
They knew she saw them, but ignored her for the most part, though sometimes they would take a break and dance in wide circles about her, their arms and hands linked as they danced and sang their merry little faces alight with the joy of life. She had loved those moments. And even in her later years as a teenager, she cherished those moments, those sparks of life and light, for they had helped to form her into what she would later become.
She was charging into a darker corner of the backyard, where some plants were withering for some unknown reason. Her mother had become worried about that part and asked a professional gardener for help, but he had looked at the plants and scratched his head, then felt the soil, even tasted it, after which he had made a face and spit it out. "Something's wrong with the soil here, M'am," he had told her Mom. Then he had refused to be paid and taken off as fast as he could, looking back at the corner as if it were somehow watching him, or at any given moment might leap out and attack him.
As a small child she had remembered that incident afterward. She had been unable to sleep. For some reason she couldn't understand at that time, but took for granted, her mother had come into her room and sat her on her lap and stroked her hair to help her relax.
"Yes, Hun, I know. The garden frightened you."
"No, the man. Why so scared?"
She had stopped stroking her hair a moment as she considered what to say next, and then turned Lovelight around so she could look into her eyes. "He wasn't scared."
"He looked scared."
"It was more than that." She explained, searching for the right words.
At the time she couldn't understand why her Mom wasn't answering her more clearly, but after she laid her back down to sleep and kissed her forehead. She had fallen into a deep rest, which in the early morning was broken by a strange dream. She saw this animal trapped in the corner of their yard. It was crying. Lonely. Afraid. It made her want to cry it was so sad.
She woke up immediately, felt her face. It was moist from tears. She ran into her bathroom, scrubbed her face with a washcloth, and then run into the garden with her pajamas on. Mom had still been asleep in her room, but her door was open. She had peeked in, wanting to tell her about what she had seen, but she looked so peaceful, and she had let her alone.
When she reached the corner of the garden, she spread the dying shrubs apart to look into the area where the two fences, the wooden and the stone in back met in the corner. There, huddled in the corner, an arm wrapped tightly about itself was a person. Well, actually not really looking like one, but later on she would realize it was, though at the time her definition of a person could extend to a flower she loved, a canary her Mom kept, or to a squirrel chittering at her from one of the trees.
"Hello!" She had greeted the person.
It had remained still, arms wrapped about itself.
She felt sad for it for some reason and ran back into the house and grabbed a big oatmeal cookie her Mom had baked the night before and a glass. Filled it with milk, and then ran back outside. She shoved through the shrubs and set the milk and cookie down before the person. She didn't touch it. She remembered that much after all those years.
It hadn't stirred.
She didn't tell her Mom.
But each day she would go back in there and bring back a new glass of milk and another offering of food. The milk was never drunk. The food was never touched.
But after two weeks of doing that on the beginning of the third week she came back and both the milk and the cookie, a big dark Oreo, had been missing. She clapped her hands.
The person moved ever so slightly.
"Please don't be so unhappy." She had told it. "I love you."
It didn't move.
She kept returning and telling it she loved it, depositing a glass of milk, of juice, of water and a cookie or bread. Each day kept hoping it would move again, but it didn't. But each day she came back the food and drink would be gone.
One night, after she had gone to bed, she fell into a strange dream and felt herself rise above her bed. She looked down and saw her body beneath its sheet and covers, but wasn't frightened. She floated out her window and down into the corner of the garden.
As she alighted the person began to raise, its face as bright as the sun and the entire garden was filled with this beautiful golden light. The person physically changed at that moment, turning from its uglier look into something so wonderful and beautiful that Lovelight gasped at its beauty.
It looked her in the eyes, and then smiled.
Next it raised its arms and rose like an angel on wings of white light, then stepped onto an ascending ladder of light that reached a tunnel of pure white light that stretched from over their house off into the stars above.
The person had stepped into the tunnel, turned back, and then waved.
Lovelight had felt tears of joy wetting her cheeks and waved back. The person had smiled, then turned into the tunnel of white light and entered. The tunnel closed behind it and Lovelight had awoken with morning sunlight splashing across her face.
She sat up, and then was surprised to feel wetness on her cheeks. She felt her cheeks and they were wet from tears.
And you know from that day forward she was never afraid of ghosts. For she knew from her own experience that no matter whether they were happy ghosts or angry and dark ghosts, dark ones with their bodies disfigured from all their anger, lust and greed, they were still people. Just maybe a little lost.
She knew from that moment on that she had a mission in life; even if not totally clear yet. She had cleaned up, and then run downstairs into the kitchen where Mom was making pancakes and bacon and grabbed her legs and hugged tight. "I love you!" She had told her, her heart bursting with a fullness that made her feel giddy and lightheaded.
Her Mom had set her cooking aside and swung her up into the air and twirled with her. "I....love....you...too!"
Lovelight had giggled and giggled and giggled as the kitchen twirled around her, filling her heart and soul with so many happy and precious memories.