THE ADVOCATE 381
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
EXITS AND ENTRANCES
By the Honourable Catherine Crockett
My father was the second ghost I met, but the first who spoke
I sat at my Formica kitchen table, eyes dry from staring
at my computer screen. Finally, I took off my glasses and
shut the laptop. I pushed the heels of my palms into my eyes, grateful it was
the weekend, so I wasn’t wearing eye makeup.
I shifted my focus outside the sliding glass doors of my tiny high-rise
apartment to the contrasts of Vancouver: concrete, evergreens and ocean.
Sunshine between clouds over wet pavement. Even the weather couldn’t
decide what to do.
I had filled out most of the online application for law school but was
stumped by the question, “Why do you want to be a lawyer (in 200 words or
less)?” I was frozen contemplating that 200-words-or-less box when my
father’s voice startled me.
“Gone Girl. Girl on the Train. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I don’t understand
this trend. I thought women wanted to be called women.”
The voice was unsettling for two reasons: First, I live by myself. Plus the
detail that Dad had been dead for the better part of a year.
Theatre nerd that I am, I responded with the opening line of Hamlet:
A slim, white-bearded, not-quite-opaque figure stood facing away from
me. I could see through him, to the book spines he was reading on my IKEA
bookshelf. It was like looking through a misty windshield.
When I called out, his head swiveled sharply towards me. It was my
father after all.
“You can hear me?” he asked. “That’s a first.”
“I can see you too.”
I stood up and immediately tried to embrace him. My hands slipped
through his shoulders. It was like dipping my fingers in warm maple syrup,
but without any lingering stickiness. Just like Ghost Number One.
* Exits and Entrances is the first place winner in the 2019 Advocate Short Fiction Competition.