Aimée sat down in her tree house. It was a slightly dilapidated box made of different types of wood with the paint peeling off. The week had been like any other with the young woman enjoying her Textiles class at school. Now it was time to relax as she usually did all day on the weekend in her sanctuary and secret place. It was only noon and she had the entire day to relax in her special area.
The sun shone through the window providing a bright light in the tree fort.
‘What are you doing here?’
Aimée almost jumped out of her skin. She turned around and came face-to-face with a young man! His eyes were dark and luminous, his hair auburn and layered and his facial features craggy. She took a step back. His skin was translucent – almost glowing.
‘I – I live here,’ she stammered. ‘This is my tree house.’
‘You live in this tree house?’
Aimée smiled. ‘No. I live in the house below with my family. I come up here to escape from life. May I ask what you are doing here?’
‘I’m caught between two lives.’
‘You mean you’re a ghost?’
‘That’s right. Boo!’
Aimée laughed. She looked at his clothes, which were old, rustic and used. They were in dire need of a mend. He wore an old white shirt, a black vest and brown pants.
‘Excuse my forwardness,’ she said. ‘But I’m studying Textiles at school and I would like to mend your clothes if you wouldn’t mind.’
‘Are you sure it wouldn’t be too much trouble?’
‘Not at all! I can lend you some of my father’s clothes while you are waiting for them.’
The ghost smiled. ‘That would be nice.’
‘I’ll get them now,’ she said as she moved towards the trapdoor.
She went down the rickety stairs and once she’d reached the grass below she raced inside and raided her father’s closet while he was busy watching sport on television. Once she’d found what she needed she headed back up to the tree house and presented them to her new friend. The pair of jeans, t-shirt and checked shirt all fitted perfectly.
‘My name is Aimée. What’s yours?’
‘I’ll only tell you if you swear to keep our encounter a secret.’
Aimée raised her right hand. ‘I swear,’ she said.
‘Good. It’s Dominique.’
Aimée held out her hand and he took it. They shook hands. ‘Pleased to meet you Dominique,’ she said.
‘I promise to be your secret friend.’
Dominique smiled. ‘Thank you,’ he said.
‘I’ll take these with me,’ Aimée said gathering up his clothes. ‘And I’ll be back later on with them all mended.’
‘Thank you so much.’
Aimée gave him a woman’s smile of promise before she once again headed for the trapdoor and headed down the ladder and went back inside her house. She started to work on his clothes all the while looking out her window, up at the tree house and wondered what he was doing up there all alone.
She worked at her sewing machine fixing up the holes and tears in his clothes. Her heart beat a thousand times more than usual as she went about the task of making his clothes as good as new. It didn’t take her long for she got straight As for Textiles and Art at school from picky teachers who told her to “unpick, restitch and resew” the clothing she was working on again and to “redo” drawings and paintings in order to create works of perfection. She was grateful for the guidance for now she could confidently work on more challenging projects at home like this one sewing and fixing street clobber for a ghost!
She also baked a cake for him from scratch using her neighbour’s happy hens’ eggs. Her neighbour named her hens after the female characters in “Friends”: Rachel, Monica and Phoebe. One of the hens reminded Aimée of her Textiles teacher because of her waddle and another one reminded her of her Art teacher because of her bossy manner. She liked checking in on the chickens whenever she picked up her eggs from her neighbour.
She baked a chocolate cake with smooth frosting and rainbow sprinkles on top. As she baked she hummed her favourite tune, a love song that had made it to the top of the charts recently. The cake had been baked to perfection and the velvety icing was sleek and glossy. She hoped her uninvited but most welcome guest would like it and devour it instantly with much gratification. Baking came easy to her as this ardent student also received straight As for Home Economics at school as well!
Once the cake was done, she took it and the clothing and headed outside as the afternoon sun was lowering slightly in the sky. As she emerged through the trapdoor she saw him as he turned around he smiled with delight as she handed him his newly mended clobber. Aimée pursed her lips and looked at Dominique through lowered lids as she took the cake out of the container. His eyes lit up with pleasure as she fed it to him. Then to her surprise he asked her if she would indeed like to go out on a date!
Aimée joyfully accepted safe in the knowledge that her newfound lover and friend was hers and hers alone. She reached up and kissed him and would have done it even if the three rainbow lorikeets perched up and peering up on the window had been human beings, for she was very far gone indeed, and quite unaware of anything but her own excitement and happiness. She was in a happy daze as he kissed her back. Though it was only a simple gesture, that was the moment of glory for Aimée and a chance at life again for Dominique, when turning from the obscurity of the afterlife and the challenges of school life, they found warmth and happiness in each other’s arms.