14. November

So Granpy and Jose (mostly Granpy) explained to me why ghosts are impossible. I wrote it all down so that we could Analyze it later. I didn’t want to forget anything, and it was kind of exciting. I decided I could use science to prove that ghosts could be real, but first I had to learn it. So here’s what Granpy said:

1. Nothing can move or do anything without Energy. He explained what exactly Energy is, but he used mostly very big words that I don’t remember and he said It’s Not Important. All I have to know is that Energy is what we use to do everything, like moving and talking and breathing and everything. He wrote down some math and he said that the math meant that you can’t move something without Energy.

2. Using Energy creates Heat. That’s why if you run around when it’s cold out, you get warm. Fire is hot because it’s using lots and lots of Energy. Granpy said that Power Plants make lots of pollution and make the air dirty because they are burning things, but even Nuclear Power, which doesn’t burn things, makes lots of Heat, and if we use too much Electricity then we will make the world too hot and Global Warming will happen even if the air is clean.

3. If a lot of people are moving around, they need a lot of Energy to do it. We get Energy from food. A lot of people also make a lot of Heat.

4. Ghosts don’t eat, so they can’t get any Energy. And even if they have some way to get Energy, all those ghosts moving around would make lots and lots of Heat.

5. If everyone gets a ghost, even all the animals and bugs, then there would be so many ghosts that there wouldn’t be enough Energy in the whole sun for them all to move around, and even if there was, they would make so much Heat that the whole earth would basically be on fire.

When he finished explaining all this, and Jose was smiling and nodding his head Yes, I told him that he hadn’t proved anything at all. Because dead people weren’t made of the same stuff that alive people were made out of, they probably just didn’t use the same kind of Energy that we do. Dead people are cold, and ghosts are even colder.

Granpy said that was Exactly His Point, that cold things aren’t alive, and alive things can’t move around. Jose said, Yeah. Then I said that maybe there was a different kind of Energy which was cold instead of hot. Granpy said that was Impossible, and when I asked Why, he said It’s Complicated. I said that maybe they lived in another universe, and we could only see them like pictures on TV, and Granpy said I couldn’t prove it, and I said that he couldn’t prove it wrong.

Then Jose said that Anyway, I’d said that the ghosts could move things around, like Mrs. Kinney in the library and the little boy, and that was Definitely Impossible, because books and keys and pencils and stuff are all made out of Matter, and Matter can’t be moved without Energy, and ghosts can’t use Energy because they are dead and they don’t create Heat. And I said again that maybe there was a kind of Energy that was cold, and he just didn’t know about it. Then Granpy put his hands up in the air.

“Okay, Princess,” is what he said. “I think we’re At An Impasse.” Then I asked him what that meant, and he said it meant nobody could win the argument because no one could prove they were right.

Then Jose said, Tell You What, and then he told me I should keep a camera with me all the time, and the next time I saw a ghost carrying something, I should take a picture, and then I would have some Proof, and then we could Figure This Out. But he had that smiling look and slightly angry eyes that meant he was Sure he was right and I was wrong, and I don’t think he believed that I would ever get any proof.

But Granpy agreed, and he said, “Princess, the very second you get some proof of ghosts, you bring it to me. Until then, we’ll just have to Agree To Disagree.”

Then we had ice cream for dessert. It was mint chocolate chip, which is my favorite kind. Then Jose went home and I asked Granpy if I could get a phone with a camera in it, and he said You Know What, and then he smiled and said we could get a new phone the next time we went shopping. But that took a long time, of course, because we both hated shopping, and I saw Mrs. Kinney 4 times and the little boy 6 times but I didn’t have a camera.

Actually, the next time we went shopping was when we went to get my new winter coat. That’s when I finally got my new phone, which had a camera which could take pictures anytime I wanted, and a blue case to go on the outside of it to keep it from getting broken if I dropped it. Granpy said I deserved it, because I was the Best Granddaughter In The World. I showed Granmy and she said it was Very Nice, but I don’t think she really knew what it was.

I had a lot more conversations with Jose about ghosts while we were eating lunch at school. For example, I told him that I couldn’t even understand most of the ghosts because they didn’t speak English or they had really old-fashioned accents, and he wanted to know why, if they had been there the whole time since they died, they didn’t learn English by listening to people, and why their accents didn’t change. We talked about that a lot, because I didn’t really know the answer. So we did a Brainstorm and tried to think of Possible Answers. The first idea was that maybe ghosts just can’t learn new things. That maybe they’re just like recordings, like photos or pictures that can walk around. Jose said maybe that would explain a lot, like why they can go through walls, but it didn’t explain how they could move things around when they wanted to. The second idea was that maybe they were really in another dimension, and they were just Leaking Through into our dimension. That would maybe explain why I didn’t see all the ghosts all the time, but only some of the time. Maybe they couldn’t even see us most of the time. Maybe they were in their own worlds, which were exactly the same as when they died. Maybe they were just as confused to see me as I was to see them.

Another idea was that I was the only person they could see. Maybe when I talked, it was the first English they had ever heard, and they were wondering why I they couldn’t understand me.

None of that explained what was so special about me. Why could I see the ghosts when no one else could? Jose said that the Most Likely Answer was that I was just crazy, or that the teachers and the specialists were right, and I was really Just looking for attention by telling made-up stories. When he said that, it made me so angry that I couldn’t even see normally. My neck felt all itchy inside and I had to shake my head back and forth really fast to try to make it stop. Everything got all blurry and mixed-up. And someone turned the volume up on the whole cafeteria, so I had to put my hands over my ears and squeeze my eyes shut until it started to go back to normal. I felt like I wanted to get up and run away, but I couldn’t leave without cleaning up my lunch tray, because that’s against the rules, so I was Stuck there at the lunch table, so I started to cry.

Finally I remembered how to do Deep Breaths and I started to Calm Down. I opened my eyes and Jose was looking at me with his wide open in great big Os. He asked me if I was okay, but I didn’t hear him at first because my hands were still over my ears, so I had to take them off, and he asked me again. And I was afraid to talk, because when I get like that, I can’t talk without crying, and I was already crying a little bit, and I realized that some people in the cafeteria were starting to look at me, and I was getting very embarrassed and afraid because when people see you cry at school, they say very mean things to you, and the teachers are supposed to stop them, but mostly they just pretend that they don’t hear it.

Finally I realized that Jose had a sad face on, and he was talking, so I focused really hard so I could listed to him and I watched his lips move so it would help me figure out what he was saying, and this is what he was saying: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But I couldn’t talk, so I took my lunch tray and I cleaned it up and I asked if I could go to the bathroom and I hid in there until the bell rang for the next class.

The next day Jose said he was really sorry and he Didn’t Mean It, and I said it was fine, mostly because if I said it wasn’t fine, we would have to talk about it, which would make me cry again. He said that he didn’t think I was Just looking for attention, and he was only Teasing me, which means saying mean things to someone for no reason, which is something I have never, ever understood. I told him that I didn’t like Teasing, because it doesn’t make any sense to say mean things to someone for no reason, and he promised he wouldn’t do it anymore.

He told me that he wasn’t sure if what I saw was really real or not, but he believed that I believed it, and that was All That Mattered. We decided that together, we would find a Rational Explanation for everything. Maybe it would be proof that ghosts were real, or maybe it would be something else, but somehow we would Figure It Out.

So after I went into the Haunted House and met the Duchess, I told Jose about it. He asked me if I’d gotten any pictures, but that was before I had my camera. He said that maybe I should go back, and take a camera, and finally get some Proof, but I said I Don’t Know About That. I thought about the Duchess with her red eyes, and the ghosts with their Dead eyes, and the spiders and bugs, and the horrible old man and woman with their magazines, and then the Duchess again with her sad eyes, and I didn’t want to go back to any of that ever again.

Jose said that if I wanted to prove that ghosts were real, I had to go back. But there was No Point going without a camera, and neither one of us had one of those. So we made a deal that as soon as one of us got a camera, we would go back to the Haunted House together.

When I finally got the phone with the camera, I forgot about our deal because I was worried about Granpy and his Line and everything. I forgot I even had it for a little while. But after a few days, when everything started to go back to normal, I remembered about the new phone, and I put my SIM card in it and read the whole instruction manual and learned how to use everything in it. And the next day at school I told Jose that it was time to go to the Haunted House.


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