Another Ghost
11:16 a.m. on September 07, 2004
About 9:00 PM on Saturday night, Sasha & I stopped at Fred Meyer so I could pick up my photos that I had dropped off for developing a few days earlier. I am stuck in the past when it comes to digital camera’s and I still prefer to get packets of developed photos over computer downloads. I went to the counter while Sasha looked at electronics. The cashier went to the photo packet vault and pulled out two packets for me. I had only dropped off one roll, so I was flummoxed as to why she had two for me. I had dropped off 4 rolls a month earlier, but knew I had retrieved all 4 rolls. I looked at the packets and both had my name on them in my own writing. After I paid for the pictures, I wandered off a ways into the store to have a look at this mystery photo packet while I waited for Sasha. The packet felt very thin, so I thought maybe it was just the negatives or something, but there were in fact about 6 photos inside. The first one was a blurry shot of a room I vaguely recognized and made me think: “What the heck?” The second photo actually stopped my heart as I gasped loudly in the store aisle. It was a dark and brooding photograph of my ex-husband, Brian who has been missing for the past 5 years and is presumed dead. I quickly flipped through the rest of the pictures, which brought the day they were taken back into my memory. It was the weekend of the Oklahoma City Bombing in April 1995. Brian & I were visiting my family in Ukiah and my Dad had taken us to the city of ten thousand Buddha’s, a major Buddhist center and pilgrimage site, located just outside Ukiah. I remember that weekend very clearly, as I could tell deep down that our marriage was over. He moved out less than 3 months later.

There is a sort of explanation as to why I was receiving these photographs more than 9 years after they were taken. Recently, I was trying to revive my old Canon camera, which is a ten-pound dinosaur, with giant attachable zoom lenses. I had stopped using it when the photographs began coming out a little too dark and I knew it needed fixing. I ended up getting a tiny sure-shot with built-in flash and had forgotten all about this bulky one until I lost my little camera this year. I wanted to see how well the Canon was working, so I used up a roll of film just taking shots around the yard. I turned in the roll with 3 other rolls from the Vegas trip and had gotten all 4 rolls back in tact. The roll from the canon came out surprisingly well and made me realize that it probably only needs a cleaning. Then my friend Jacki bought me a beautiful Minolta with built in zoom and flash, so I again forgot all about the big camera. My only guess is that the roll that was inside the Canon had these old shots from another lifetime in there. I do not know why they did not give me these photos a month ago with the newer shots of the yard, which I swear I got all 24 exposures back already. I do not know why these 6 photographs from an odd weekend so long ago just popped out at me in Fred Meyer like a heart attack. Maybe it is Brian’s way of wishing me a happy life and to apologize for leaving the way he did.

Here is a shot of Brian, my sister and my Dad in the parking lot:

Here is a shot of a giant, golden Buddha enjoying a can of Pringles:

Here is a shot of a shrine:

and here is a spooky shot of Brian’s ghost:





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