Today I walked around my neighbourhood for what might be the last time
until next summer, and I passed by all of the places that my friends
and I would hang out.

And I saw ghosts everywhere.

I saw ghosts biking down that huge hill on Village Green Drive at top speed, wind rushing through their hair, hands fearlessly raised in the air.

I saw ghosts attempting to play baseball, despite not having nearly enough players to do so.

I saw ghosts, sitting on their asses, playing Mario Party 3. 50 turn games, of course. Anything less is for sissies.

Then I passed by my old elementary school, and that’s where I saw the most ghosts. Thousands upon thousands of ghosts.

Ghosts playing dodgeball and four square and lives and hopscotch and jump rope and long throw and handball and soccer and shoe toss and roller coaster and soldiers and foot hockey and manhunt and marco polo.

There were ghosts trading pokemon cards, ghosts stealing yu-gi-oh cards, ghosts sliding on the ice, ghosts rolling down the hills, ghosts ripping the branches off of pine trees, ghosts jumping into sand pits, ghosts throwing the shoes of other ghosts onto the roof of the school, ghosts sheltering themselves from the cold, ghosts attempting to trample the feet of other ghosts, ghosts smiling, and laughing, and even dancing and singing on a few occasions.

And then I went to my old preschool. I was one of the first people enrolled in that preschool, way back in 1993.

There were hundreds of ghosts there too. A little bit smaller and less coordinated than their counterparts in the school yard, but they were there.

They were going down slides, and playing tag, and playing with shaving cream, and finger painting, and singing songs, and napping, and sharing, and not sharing, and fighting over the taxi bike, and filling their shoes up with sand, and playing Stealing War, and playing with Silly Putty, and avoiding the use of bathroom words, and dreaming of the future, when they would be basketball players or firefighters or police officers. A few of them were crying, but for the most part they were smiling and laughing.

I saw eighteen years of ghosts pass by me today. They’re not scary ghosts like Fasto, Stinky, or Stretch. And they’re not friendly like Caspar, either. But they’re comforting ghosts; good ghosts to have around. They’re the kind of ghosts that keep the sky blue when clouds start to sneak into the picture, and the kind of ghosts that keep the air warm when September rolls around.

Eighteen years of ghosts, and I’m down to my last three days. It’s the sort of thing that you never think is going to happen, and when it does it sneaks up on you from behind and catches you off guard and leaves you wondering where the summer went.

Three days. God help me.