He rolled over, suddenly aware he wasn’t alone.
Dark-brown eyes met his, mysterious, but surprisingly tender.
“Who’re you?” he asked the woman sharing his bed. He could not remember bringing anyone home the night before.
“Willie-Willie,” came the reply.
He had heard that name before, but as he racked his brain for just where, the answer continually eluded him, lurking just out of reach as if teasing him.
“Did you come home with me last night?” he asked.
“No,” she replied, a half-smile forming on her lips. She seemed to be amused at whatever expression he was making at the moment.
“Then how did you get into my bed?!” he almost screamed, holding back just in time. Instead, he said calmly, “Ok.”
“Then how did you get into my bed?!” she shouted.
“You wanted to say that, didn’t you?” she was grinning now, the soft light coming through his window from the street reflecting on her teeth.
There was something teasing in her tone — inviting, but forbidding at the same time.
“How the…” he blurted out.
“…hell did you…” she completed what he was going to say, stopping where he would have ended the open question. “Because I can read your mind, Bright.”
“Bitch,” he thought.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said, moving closer.
“Idiot. Bitch. Idiot. Bitch”, he thought, wearing his best smile.
She had a puzzled expression, and for once, he had the upper hand. There was just no way she could read his mind. The big question was who she was.
“I’m leaving,” she said finally.
She didn’t fade away or put her hands on her head. One moment she was there, the next she wasn’t. It was that simple.
Just as suddenly as she vanished he remembered where he had heard the name “Willie-Willie”, but he didn’t care.
Bright didn’t believe in ghosts.
“What’s your name today — Nchele?” he asked when he woke up the next night and found her there.
“Will you call me Mammy-Water next?” she retorted.
He reached out to touch her, not completely surprised his hand did not go through her cheek.
“I suppose you do have substance,” he concluded aloud.
“Of course I do,” she looked a little miffed.
He matched her gaze, and they looked at each other in silence until the only sound he was aware of was his breathing.
“You’re a strange one, aren’t you?” she asked.
“I get that a lot,” he replied, completely deadpan.