Jenn opened the door of the apartment building. It had snowed, she knew that. Only, the layer of snow was way thicker than she thought. She hadn’t looked outside for the last hour or so. She smiled when she thought about that. It didn’t look that dark outside, the streetlights reflected on the fresh white snow. The only thing that touched it were the delicate paws of a cat. She hadn’t expected otherwise at 23:30 in lockdown. The heavy yellow door locked behind her.
She looked around the street, nobody had taken the effort to clear there driveway from snow. Why would they, it would al be gone by morning anyways. Jenn spotted her car, the already white vehicle was covered in an even whiter layer of snow. She walked over to it. Het footsteps screeked when she walked, but rest of the snow absorbed the sound. This gave her steps a ghostlike appearance. More calming than spooky. With the hand wiper she kept in her glove compartment she took the snow from her windows and roof. Because the snow was intensely white she saw she needed to wash her car. The white of her hood had turned a filthy shade of grey.
Jenn got into her car. Before she fully sat down she checked her backseat. More out of habit than out of fear. Her hands had gone cold from the snow shuffling. Before she started her car she, for a last time, looked up to the apartment she just rolled out of. At least the last time tonight, she would most definitely come back. She smiled again when she saw the light in the staircase turn off.
‘Sleep tight.’ She whispered. Then she started the car and turned into the street. The roads were free of snow. Something typically Dutch, she taught. Once some weatherman said it might snow tomorrow everyone panics. There is immediately a code orange for the entire county and all the salt spreaders are dusted off and send onto the roads. The ground in in the most of The Netherlands is not even cold enough yet for the snow to stick.
Jenn turned onto the main road, here was even less snow. She turned the radio up, she knew all the songs on this station on this time of the day. She listened a lot to it when she couldn’t sleep, again. She caught up with a verse of one of the songs. Her navigation system told her to take the second exit on the roundabout. So she did. She drove for a while and got to the highway. Every now and then she taught about the warm bed in which she had spent some time this evening. She smiled widely as she felt the hands of her lover on her body again. How the long blonde hair had tickled her face and how Mandy’s hands had stroked her everywhere. Jenn still smelled her sweet shampoo and her breath. She felt her soft lips that had kissed her everywhere and her teeth that had bitten her playfully. She felt the slight pain in her elbow when it had hit the wall by accident. And she saw again how sorry Mandy felt when that had happened. She felt again how sorry Mandy felt. How she apologized, again and again. She loved the girl, she at leased had loved the night they spent together.
Jenn switched over to the left lane on the highway to pass a salt spreader which was driving on the right lane. While she passed the machine her car was hit by a load of salt. Jenn sighted, now she definitely had to wash her car. When she passed the salt spreader she switched over to the right lane again. The lights of the machine blinded her through her review mirror. She flipped it and watched it go up. It showed her eyes and the backseat where a man was seated then the roof of her car.
Jenn felt like her hard stopped and for a second she doubted herself. She wondered if she saw what she thought she saw. With a shaking hand she flipped her review mirror back. She saw the roof of her car the back window and the man in the backseat. After that, she saw her own eyes again. They were spread open widely in fear. For a second she looked at the road in front of her, it was still empty. Then she looked through the mirror at the man again. He was smiling, a polite little smile.
‘I hope I didn’t scare you.’ He said. Well, he didn’t say it. His lips moved, but Jenn heard the voice right in her head. His sound didn’t pass through the air in the car. It got from his lips directly into her head.
‘Don’t worry.’ He said. ‘I am only here to help.’ This time he didn’t take the effort to move his lips. Jenn opened her mount, but didn’t know what to say. She wanted to know who this man was and why he was in her car, but she couldn’t find the words.
‘You don’t have to talk.’ She heard the mans voice in her head again. ‘I can hear you just fine as it is.’ She felt that he was calm and that calmed her down a little. ‘You’d better keep your eyes on the road. I can’t die again, but you still can.’ Jenn did what he told her after looking once more swiftly at the man. She noticed he wasn’t solid, but slightly see trough. ‘Jenn.’ He said. She felt the start of a panic swell up in her guts. How did this man, if he was that, know her name. She heard him giggle. ‘How rude of me.’ He said. ‘I am Will, Mandy’s grandfather.’ He paused for a moment. ‘That is very true Jenn, she never knew me. I have been dead for a good while now.’ ‘So, you are looking over her?’ Jenn asked. Her voice sounded defining through the car. ‘Yes I am.’ Will said. ‘I passed a few weeks before she was born and couldn’t just let her roam free in the world.’ Jenn understood. ‘Only, that is not why I am here.’ Will continued. ‘I want to ask you something.’ And without waiting for permission he threw the question in her head. ‘How do you feel about yourself after tonight?’ Jenn thought back about the dreamy evening she had. About the girl she spend it with and the things they did. Suddenly, Jenn felt shame, he saw them. ‘Is that really what you are ashamed about? I have seen a lot of things, nothing new.’ He sounded calm. Jenn’s navigation system told her to make a right turn and she did. ‘Jenn?’ she heard him. ‘Do you want me to help?’ he didn’t force the answer on her, but simply showed her where to find it in her head.
Jenn saw her lovely Mandy, with her the girlfriend Mandy had for three weeks now. She felt like she was stabbed in her heart. ‘I see.’ Will said. ‘I am really glad you see it now too.’ Jenn looked through her review mirror at him. His face was emotionless, but she felt him smile at her. An understanding smile. Her mind couldn’t quite combine what she felt with what she saw. ‘I am sorry.’ Will’s voice said in her head and a smile appeared on her face. ‘When you are invisible as much as I am, you sometimes forget to keep your body up with your mind.’ He laughed about his own error. This time his face changed together with his emotion. ‘I will let you drive the last kilometres home in peace. You have plenty to think about, I guess.’ She felt him break his contact with her. It felt like some strand that had come out of her mind was cut loose and slapped into her own brain again. With that snap, Will was gone.
As was Jenn’s good mood. She had totally forgot about Mandy’s girlfriend. The phone call that they had a few weeks ago played in her head. She heard the excitement in Mandy’s voice, how happy she was that the girl she had been dating for a while finally asked her. She had called Jenn in the middle of the day to tell her the news while crying. Tears of happiness. While Jenn drove her car into her block she felt a heavy weight pressing on her shoulders and crushing her heart.
She heard her phone give the notification of a WhatsApp message as she turned into her own street. She parked her car and looked at her phone. It was Mandy, “Are you home? I hope the road wasn’t snowy. I really enjoyed tonight and I miss you already.” Jenn felt tears burn behind her eyes. She couldn’t do this, this had to stop. She clicked on the settings of the contact and put the messages of Mandy on mute. Jenn fought her tears with everything she had, but she couldn’t stop them from coming. Her view became blurry, because the tears shifted her contacts. She got out of her car and felt her feet directly slip away from under her. She could catch herself from falling by gripping the roof of her car. Her heart had jumped, it increased her breathing and dried her tears at once. She had stepped on a flattened piece of snow, this was probably the only slippery part of the entire city. She closed her car door and carefully made her way over to her front door. She just knew Mandy send her multiple more messages, but she just couldn’t. She couldn’t go through this, not again.