I wake up to Harrison smiling.
"It's time for school Mom."
I smile. "So it is! I have to get ready." He stands outside the bathroom, as I shower and get dressed, playing with his Switch.
"Dad didn't come home," he says. "He's not here."
I shrug. "He'll be here soon I'm sure."
I come out of the bathroom, taking his hand. "Come on. We'll go to school early, and stop by McDonalds."
"Is Dad okay?" He asks.
I shrug. "I'm sure he's alive. Did you do your homework?"
He nods, bouncing. "Can a I get a Frappuccino at McDonald's?"
"Too much caffeine," I shoot it down, grabbing the keys, I open the door, and there he is.
"Honey," he starts.
"Come on Harrison. It's time for school. If you want to stop, we have to be quick."
"Okay Mama," he pauses, seeing his father. "You were right Mama. He's not dead. Hi Dad."
"Honey, wait." He calls.
I keep walking. Harrison skips after me, and I get in the car, taking him to school.
When I come back he's there. I look at my watch.
I start gathering my things.
"Honey wait. Let's talk. I know I've made some mistakes. And I...I probably shouldn't have left last night. But they're gone, okay? And they won't be back for a while. Just talk to me."
I keep packing. I've got to back to my apartment. Thankfully I cleaned before I left. I hate coming back to my house and it's not straightened up.
"Jessica? I know you can hear me."
I should probably take some clothes for Harrison. For when he comes over. I want to design a bedroom for him.
He takes my hand. I look down at it. I stare until he removes it.
"Honey please, don't ignore me. And where are you going?"
It's crazy. When ghosts talk isn't it?
"Honey. You can't ignore me forever. What about Harrison? He'll notice that you're pretending I don't exist."
Pretending? That's funny. As far I'm concerned, he doesn't. That's why I'm so confused as to why he keeps speaking?
"Jessica!" He shouts. "What? You hate me because I went out with my friends?"
I pause. "Hate? Oh darling. You have to matter first. You don't even exist to me! You might as well be a corpse."
He stops. "I don't exist?"
I smile, grabbing my things. And then I walk away, opening the door.
"Wait! Don't leave Harrison. This was my mistake."
"My son has nothing to do with this. I'll come pick him up tonight."
"And take him where?"
"Home. With me."
It's not like he's here. He mostly leaves Harrison with a nanny anyway. So I'll keep him with me.
"Where are you going? Jessica stop. Please. Just listen to me please."
Things are different tonight. I'm finally free. I feel like a weight has lifted.
"Finally," I sigh, looking over the house at the stoop. My eyes settle on him. "You've finally died. Oh I'm so relieved. I can let your existence go."
I chuckle, feeling...happy.
I shut the door behind me.
• • •
My phone keeps ringing.
I look in the mirror. I swear I look 20 years younger. It's amazing what letting go does for you.
I'll pick Harrison up soon. It's cause for celebration! Maybe I'll bake a cake.
My doorbell rings. I answer it, cocking my head.
"I don't exist? How can you say that?"
Huh. And here I thought someone was here. I shut the door.
There's another knock. I'm so glad I learn from my mistakes. This time I don't answer. I put in my headphones and play my favorite song on blast.
I make that cake. It's his favorite flavor. Blueberry.
I dance in my apartment, my feet feel free. Like they've been unchained. My soul might fly away. How many years?
I pause. He's in front of me. What happened to my door? I glance at it. It's open. That's very unsafe for my baby.
He takes the headphones out of my ear. "I don't exist to you? Jessica. Don't say that. Now let's talk."
"Who are you? Why are you here? I'll call the police."
He scoffs. "It's not funny anymore. I know that I upset you—"
I cock my head, pulling up the phone app.
He snatches it from me. "Jessica just look at me please. Stop ignoring me. I'm sorry."
I frown. "Let go of me. I don't know who you are."
He closes his eyes. "Jessica..."
"Leave. Or I'll call the police."
He looks down. "There's gotta be...there's gotta be something I can do to make it up to you, Honey. Something to make you forgive me."
"Forgive you? The only think I would need to forgive you for is breaking my door down. You don't exist to me. Stop talking to me like you know me."
He clenches his jaw. "Honey," he whispered, he takes my hand. "I know I hurt you."
Hurt me? I chuckle. "Silly. I told you. You don't exist to me. There's not you could do to hurt me. I don't know you. Leave please. Strangers in my house freak me out."
He staggers away from me. I wipe my hands on my shirt.
People these days. So rude.