Thanks to Jessica from Florida for this story!
Jessica met her best friend, Barbara, during their freshman year in college. They lived a couple of rooms down from each other. The two young women only had one class together, but they made efforts to meet up for meals and hang out. They hit it off so well that they decided to dorm with one another the following year.
Jessica was going to school out-of-state. The airfare was too expensive for her to fly home to Florida for just a few days, so she planned to stay in the dorm over Thanksgiving break. She’d see her family for Christmas and the long winter break after classes were over. Even though Jessica knew that she wasn’t going to be the only one staying in the dorm over the holiday, she couldn’t help feeling a bit homesick. When Barbara heard about the plan, she invited Jessica to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her instead.
Barbara came from a large family. Compared to the apartments that Jessica had grown up in, Barbara’s house was like a palace. Jessica had fully expected to stay in Barbara’s room or to bunk down on the couch, but they actually had a guest bedroom ready for her. Barbara’s family was so warm and welcoming that soon Jessica was feeling right at home, despite still missing her parents.
Thanksgiving Day arrived. Everyone was up early, cooking, and getting the house ready. Barbara cheerfully introduced Jessica to all her relatives. Jessica did her best to try to keep all of their names straight.
At some point during the evening, she noticed a woman wearing a lavender-colored dress sitting in the corner of the room. The woman had short, chestnut-brown hair, dark eyes, and round cheeks. She was smiling and laughing at everyone’s stories. Jessica couldn’t remember if she had met her earlier.
Jessica was about to approach the woman, when Barbara grabbed her by the arm. She and her cousins were going to go roast some marshmallows and wanted to know if Jessica wanted to join them. Jessica nodded and went to get her jacket from the coat closet. When she came back through the living room a moment later, the woman in the lavender dress had vanished. She shrugged, figuring the woman had gotten up in the few seconds that she had been out of the room.
The relatives left at 9:00pm. Then Jessica helped Barbara and her family clean up. Barbara and Jessica stayed up late talking and watching movies. Exhausted, Jessica figured that she would fall right to sleep once she got in bed, but she kept tossing and turning. After an hour of this, she decided she might as well try to do some of the homework that she had been putting off.
Putting on her robe, Jessica grabbed her textbook and went downstairs to the kitchen. Maybe some warm milk would help make her sleepy. She microwaved a mug of milk and then sat down at the kitchen table to do some reading. She had only gotten through a paragraph or two, when she heard humming.
Jessica’s back was to the living room entrance. Turning around quietly, she saw a shadowy figure moving around in the room behind her. Jessica carefully got up and crept over to the alcove. The woman in the lavender dress was walking around the living room and humming quietly to herself.
Suddenly, the woman turned around and padded up the stairs. Jessica followed softly behind her. She watched as the woman walked down the hallway, peeking into each room, and smiling. The woman continued to do this until she reached the room where Jessica was staying. Then she opened the door and went inside.
Jessica stood stock still. She didn’t know what to do. Didn’t the woman know that she was sleeping over? Jessica stood there watching the doorway, but the woman never came back out. Finally, she mustered up enough courage to go and look inside.
The room was empty. Jessica searched every corner. She even checked under the bed. She knew that the woman had never come out of the room. There was nowhere for the woman to hide. She had just disappeared.
At this point, Jessica was pretty sure that she had seen a ghost. She couldn’t sleep in that room knowing that the woman might suddenly show up again. Pulling the blanket and a pillow off the bed, Jessica went downstairs and slept on the living room couch with the covers pulled up over her head.
When Barbara and her parents found Jessica asleep on the couch the next morning, they asked if something was wrong. Jessica told them about the woman she had seen at the party and then again at night after everyone else had gone to bed. Barbara looked over at her parents. She went upstairs and came back down with a photo album. She flipped through a few pages, and then passed the album to Jessica.
“That’s her!” Jessica pointed to the picture of the woman that she had seen last night. She was even wearing the same lavender-colored dress. “Who is she?”
Barbara’s mother was crying at this point. “That’s my sister, Joanne. She died from cancer last year. This was our first Thanksgiving without her. It was always her favorite holiday.”
Barbara’s mother was comforted that her sister’s spirit had still been able to join in the family celebration, even if she hadn’t been able to see her. Everyone figured that Joanne had chosen to appear to Jessica. Since Jessica had never met her, she would be able to convince everyone that Joanne had really been there and was still watching over the family.
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