Don't say that, Raimunda, or I'll start crying. And ghosts don't cry.

(VOLVER)

You leave Boston when you are twenty and silly and full of ideas, full of ideals, full of hope, full of love for a man who will later fail you.

He builds a house; he builds a house for you and it is truly the loveliest house you have ever seen.

He makes sure there is chestnut wood; he makes sure the blue matches the shade of your eyes perfectly.

He betrays you, later. He never did anything but.

When you were twenty-six, you wake up dead.

You wake up dead and you go to bed dead. You do this for days and days and days and you don't realize you are doing it.

You feel off, you feel strange and there is blood on your pillow when you lay your head upon it.

Charles shuts himself up and mutters to himself in the basement. The girls stop coming and when you speak to Daphne, she acts like she can't hear you. You try to fire her for her, but she keeps coming back until one day, she stops.

After a month of Charles and Daphne ignoring you and the blood on your pillow, you catch something out of the corner of your eye as you rouge your cheeks in front of the window – Charles is digging in the backyard.

You catch a flash of your own face, your own hair, your own perfectly preserved body as he tosses it carelessly into a hole. No words are spoken, no friends and family gather around to mourn you. You don't even get a tombstone.

You don't even get the happy ending you always wanted, but that night, you do drive a knife between Charles's ribs and watch his life pour out and it's sticky and red on your palms and on the sheets, so you do get your revenge, bloody and not at all as satisfactory as you would have liked, but it is enough for now.

One day, in a rare moment of lucidity while you and Charles sit in the basement, he confesses that after your son's death, he took the fire poker to the back of your head when your back was turned.

"Always a coward, weren't you, Charles?" you sneer, your red upper lip curling. "Couldn't even kill me while I was facing you, could you? I at least had the decency to wake you up and let you put up a fight before I did you in."

"Well, I wasn't expecting you to come back from the dead, now, was I?" Charles rages and he throws one of his jars at you. He misses; it shatters against the wall, pickled animal limbs sliding down the stone and the smell is awful. You gag because it's second nature, but since you are dead, nothing comes up.

You scoff, disgusted. "Even in death, Charles, your temper knows no bounds. You always were a disgrace. Nothing will change that."

In 1934, you see the monstrosity Charles created out of your son for the first time and the white lace outfit is grey and tattered and you turn your face away, even when it tugs on your skirt.

It is a shock to realize that you are dead and you can still feel pain.

You can't look at it and you console yourself with the fact that it's no longer your son.

You reject your own child.

Time passes and you watch from the window. New families move in and the house you once loved so much is tainted, twisted and they die. Sometimes, it is the creature (iyour son/i, you don't think) in the basement, sometimes it's Charles, sometimes it's other ghosts. It's never you.

The lucky ones move out but the others sometimes stay forever, caught in this house, with you and Charles and all the evils in the world.

You don't make friends with them.

You watch the world as time passes and you forever stay the same, trapped.