I was on a mission. I was out to prove, to my good friend Trini, that ghosts and spirits don’t hang out at the cemetery. I’ve been in many situations where I was in proximity to the spirits of people who had passed on, but I’ve never had it happen in a cemetery. Trini, on the other hand, was raised by an extremely superstitious grandmother who lived in the West Indies, who insisted that ghosts can only be found around their headstones. I knew she was wrong. I’ve had many experiences with the after life in my house, in hotels, and even in my car; but ironically, never by the their graves.
Anyway, it was a Thursday night, and the setting was perfect. The full moon had cast a misty, white haze around the earth, giving off just enough light to pave our way. I quietly got out of the car and walked over to the old and weather-beaten headstones, which dated back to the 1600s. Trini was still sitting in the car, too afraid to come out.
“Come on,” I whispered loudly, waving at her.
She vigorously shook her head and yelled through the closed window. “No way!”
I pulled my collar up and then folded my arms against my chest to keep warm. “Will you come on? Ghosts don’t hang out here. I’ll prove it.”
She opened the door and looked up at me. “You only telling me dat because you see dem all da time, you voodoo woman.”
I rolled my eyes.
“I don’t see them. I only smell them. And I am not a voodoo priestess. Okay?”
“Den how do you know tings before day happen? Huh, huh?”
I let out a bored huff. “Your sarcasm is duly noted, and if you don’t get out of the car, I’ll put a spell on you.” I knew that would do it.
She quickly got out and came over to where I was. “Okay, don’t put no spell on me. Trini don’t need to be quackin’ like a duck.”
I decided to ignore her voodoo duck remark and pointed to a group of headstones that were nestled near an overgrown oak tree.
“Let’s go over there,” I said.
All I could see was the whites of her eyes. “Do we have to?”
“If I’m going to prove to you that spirits don’t hang out by their graves then yes. Come on, you big baby. How can I take pictures if I don’t go by the graves?”
“You got dat zoom ting in your camera. You can take the pictures from here.”
“No, I can’t. I have to get up closer. It’s too dark out here.”
I proceeded to walk with my camera around my neck and with Trini clutching on to the back of my jacket. As I moved, Trini moved. As I took a step with my right foot, Trini took a step with her right foot. I felt like an Abbott and Costello vaudeville act.
“Trini, can you relinquish your hold on my jacket? You’re choking me.”
“Vallie, I ain’t letting go.”
I was beginning to gag. “I’m choking. You’re going to kill me.”
“Well, we in da right place if I do.”
I yanked away from her grip. “Oh, so you’re a comedian. Well, if I die here, I’m coming back to haunt you.”
“Vallie, I sorry. I’m scared. What if we see a ghost?”
I sized her up and down. “You have nothing to worry about. They’ll never see you. You blend right in.”
Trini put her hands on her hips and cocked her head. “Woman, are you sayin’ dat Trini is black as night?”
I shrugged. “Yeah.”
“Oh. So dat’s good. The ghosts won’t see me. Day only see you? Phew. I didn’t know dat.”
I let out a deep sigh and shook my head.
I continued on, with Trini hanging on for dear life, when I saw what appeared to be a haze of white mist floating past a grave? Did I want Trini to run? No, I didn’t, but at that point, it didn’t matter. Trini saw it too.
“Dear Jesus and Mary! Lord, help us. Vallie, did you see dat?”
“See what?” I casually asked.
“Vallie, you didn’t see dat ting of white floating by? Vallie, let’s get out of here. Der are too many dead people around here, and day not happy.”
I stopped to rebuke her statement, only to have her crash right into me. “Trini, will you give me a little room?”
She stared at me, spewing Island slang through her gritted teeth.
“I don’t need no bloodclot suckin’ the life out of me,” she gushed.
“Bloodclot?” I repeated. I was trying desperately not to laugh.
“Vallie, I tink dat dare are vampires around here. Girl, we best not be messin’ wit dem.”
“Trini, get a grip. You bet me that there were ghosts in graveyards, and I brought you here to prove that there aren’t.”
“But we just saw dat white ting float by.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you what. You stand near that grave, and I’ll take a picture. Then we’ll leave. Okay? Just one picture and we’re out of here.”
I could tell that she was thinking–I could see the whites of her eyes moving back and forth. “Just one picture?” she said.
“Yep, just one.”
“Yep, I promise.”
“Okay, but let’s be quick about tit.”
I proceeded to manuever through the thick fog, mesmerized at how the moon’s glow turned the air into white streams that extended across the field. A cricket’s chirp echoed in the empty courtyard, and it made me sense how eerily quiet it was.
“Trini, you okay?” I whispered behind me.
“Vallie, let’s hurry,” she said.
“Okay, stand by the grave.”
She carefully walked to the grave while searching the air.
“Is this good?” she whispered loudly.
“A little more to your left,” I whispered back.
She inched over to her left. “How’s this?” she asked.
“A little more,” I said.
She was right next to the stone. “Is this good?”
“Yeah, that’s great. Could you rest your right hand on the top of the stone–to make it look good.”
“How’s this?” she asked.
“It’s good. Stand straight. You’re hunched over.”
“It’s dis damn bra, Vallie. I took a size smaller to hold me in. Can you tell?”
“I thought you looked smaller. That was a good idea. What brand did you buy?”
“I got me a Playtex Cross Your Heart, wireless. For big girls.”
She turned to her side to show me her profile.
“I don’t fit in Playtex bras,” I answered. “They’re uncomfortable for me?”
She waved a hand at me. “Vallie, I must have tried on a dozen bras and dis one was da only one wit support. I bought four of dem.”
“You know what brand I happen to like the best? I like Warner. Did you ever wear one?” I yelled to her.
“Ooh, girl, I love dem underpants. I just bought ten pair for seven dollars.”
I gasped. “You did? Where? I need some new underwear.”
“JCPenny. You want to go?”
“Yeah. We can go over the weekend. You doing anything?”
“Just got me some laundry but dat’s it. And maybe we can go to dat chocolate shop down on Picard? Oh, girl, I can’t wait.”
“I have a great chocolate recipe that I’m dying to try,” I said enthusiastically.
Then from nowhere, Trini belted out a roar of laughter.
“What?” I asked her.
“Vallie, tink about it. We standing in a graveyard talking about bras and chocolate.”
I was still aiming my camera. “You see. It’s nice here. It’s really not as scary as what people make it out to be. Hold still while I take this shot.”
She smiled, showing off her big chicklit white teeth.
“Great! I got it.”
She started walking towards me. “I can’t wait to see da picture. You should put tit on your website.”
“And what would I put as the caption?”
She laughed. “I know. You can put like dem commercials do for pork.”
“For pork?” I repeated.
“Yeah, you know. You can say, ‘cemeteries, they not just for dead people anymore.”
I rolled my eyes. “Get in the car, you sick woman.”