by Kirsten (age 13)
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The rest of the school day passed by quickly.
I was waiting in sixth hour for the bell to ring.
We had just finished stacking our chairs and were waiting by the door for the bell.
“So, what are you doing this summer?” my friend, Gabe, asked me.
“I’m going to Michigan to see my cousin,” I replied.
“Oh, that sounds fun. People call it “The Land Of the Ghosts,” he said.
“I don’t know. I guess a lot of ghosts are there.”
I laughed. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”
“Well, don’t come crying to me when you find one.” Gabe laughed with me.
The bell disrupted our laughter and everyone poured out of the classroom.
I walked with Gabe to the car pick-up area and waved good-bye when his mom’s blue BMW came.
I waited a few minutes until Mom’s Kia pulled up in front of me.
“Hi Mom,” I said as I got into the backseat.
“Hey, honey, how was school?” Mom looked at me through the rearview mirror.
“It was good,” I said. “Mom, do you believe in ghosts?”
I heard Matthew snicker from the front seat.
“It’s a serious question,” I told him. “Don’t laugh.”
“When I grew up in Michigan, I had this weird neighbor who believed in ghosts. He had called the police many times, telling them that a ghost was out to get him. I never believed in ghosts though,” Mom replied.
“Oh wow,” I said.
“Do you believe in ghosts?” Mom asked me.
“No. I was just wondering because my friend, Gabe, said that Michigan is known for ghosts.”
“There were quite a few people who were really psyched about it and even a few police investigated the area for ghosts, but there was never any proof,” Mom said, in a matter of fact kind of way.
“Wow,” I said again.
I got goosebumps just thinking about it. Hopefully, I never interfered with them, if they were real or not. I have to say, I am a wimp. I can’t ride roller coasters. I scream when doctors give me shots. I can’t watch horror movies. Some people say I am afraid of my own shadow. Which is totally not true. And if I’m afraid of all that, I am afraid of ghosts.
Soon, we pulled into our driveway and I jumped out of the car along with Matthew and Mom.
I walked to the door, still thinking about Mom’s neighbor.
“I was thinking of going out to dinner tonight,” Mom said as she unlocked the door.
I followed her inside and said, “To where?”
“How about Red Hot Chili Pepper?” Matthew suggested his favorite restaurant.
“Sure,” Mom replied.
“Can we bring Emma?” Matthew asked.
“Oh my god, are you obsessed with her?” I asked, hoping Mom would said no.
“Sweetie, she ate with us yesterday,” Mom said, sitting down on the couch and ignoring my comment.
Matthew sighed, and I silently hoorayed.
For about an hour, I practiced my clarinet. Afterwards, I went on the computer.
Finally, Dad came home and we were off to the restaurant.
During the car ride, I asked Dad if he believed in ghosts.
“I never really thought about it, actually,” Dad replied in his deep voice, which, it occurred to me, seemed to be getting deeper.
“Mac, can you like stop with this ghost talk?” Matthew ordered.
I turned to him and pinched his arm.
“Mackenzie, don’t do that,” Mom said, peering at me.
Finally, we got to the restaurant.
We sauntered to the entrance and a nice old lady who was leaving opened the door for us.
Mom thanked her on her way in.
A waiter in a dress shirt and slacks greeted us. “Table or booth?” he asked.
“Table,” Dad said.
We followed the waiter, whose name tag read “Jacob“, to a table in the back of the restaurant.
He left us to look at our menus.
I am very picky and I don’t like spicy things. Mostly everything here was spicy.
They even had spicy chicken pizza.
The only non spicy thing I saw on the menu was chicken caesar salad.
“Mom, is the chicken caesar salad good here?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never had it before.”
I decided to get that while Mom got chicken wings. Dad got this spanish dish called “Entice El Chile”, and Matthew got the spicy chicken and cheese taquitos.
While we waited for our order, Mom told us about Michigan.
“Is it the same house that we stayed at the last time we were there?” I asked.
“No, they moved last year. It’s in a nice two story house with a greenhouse behind it where Aunt Marlene does her gardening,” Mom replied.
“Also, there are a lot of places to explore. You can wade in the river and explore in the forest behind it. There is also a big lake where you can go swimming,” Mom added.
“Swimming in a lake?” I asked.
“Yeah, they don’t have swimming pools or beaches around there. But the lake is crystal clear and the sea floor is covered with moss. It’s a beautiful view.”
“Cool,” Matthew said, playing with his napkin.