I lit a fire in the fireplace yesterday for the first time in a year. Until this weekend past it hasn't been cold enough to bother. As sometimes happens, once I got a satisfying blaze started, the smoke detector upstairs went off.
I got up on a wobbly bar stool Cha uses for her drafting table to disable the smoke detector. It hangs from the ceiling in the 2nd floor landing. The four bedrooms and the bathroom open off this landing. All five doors were open. I was perched on my knees on the stool, precariously balanced and fiddling with the battery in the smoke detector. I could see out of the corner of my eye what appeared to be a long thin figure in the dark corner of the guest room. The figure was brightly lit and it was mimicking my movements, raising its arms in the air and swaying in an attempt to remain balanced.
There's a tendency these days to attach significance to any odd happening at 2 York Road. This time, I wasn't having it. The far corner in the guest room is where Cha recently put her full-sized standing mirror. I ignored the wispy mysterious figure taunting me with its waving limbs because of course it was my own reflection. The landing was brightly lit, and the guest room was dark. The reflection in the mirror of course looked odd, gleaming as it did from a dark room. Rationalism wins! I got the battery lose and managed to shut up the irritable electric twirping of the alarm, just as the first-floor smoke detector started wailing.
I leapt down from the stool, a bit aggravated, and promptly saw that Cha's standing full-size mirror was propped in the corner of the landing, at the top of the stairs. What I'd seen hadn't been my reflection at all. I turned to look into the guest room and saw that the door was now closed. Let's just say my confidence in rationalism didn't propel me over to open the door and look inside. I took a second to remove the battery from the other detector, then I closed the glass doors on the hearth and got my coat.
I went for a walk in the snow and freezing rain, thinking I could find something to do until Cha and Ma returned from Mass. The house felt a bit too lonely without them--or, perhaps not lonely enough?