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The Visitors (1)

February 2008

This incident took place long ago, while I was just a child of ten. I remember that my parents had left for Paris on a one-week business trip, leaving me alone at the house. They left me in the care of old Mrs. Pit who lived next door. She often came around to my house to check on me, but usually, I stayed all alone.

It was on a chilly day of spring, when Mrs. Pit decided to take me on a walk in the woods. "Nature's in full bloom at this time of year," she said in her croaky voice, handing me my coat and scarf. "It is just the right time for a walk. Besides, it is about time you had some exercise." She didn't need to convince me anymore, for I was more than happy to go. It was while I was in the woods when I first saw them. Mrs. Pit, tired after walking, sat down under a huge oak tree and I wandered a bit further away from her. I noticed them sitting by a small creek. One of the women had a daffodil in her hand and the other was pointing at a small robin perched on a tree. They were young, attractive women, dressed in fine but old-fashioned frocks and petticoats, the kind I only saw in old movies. They smiled at me when they saw me gazing at them. It was then when I noticed that they looked vaguely familiar. But I could not recall where I had seen them.

I was still trying to remember where I had seen these pretty young women, when one of them beckoned to me to come over. I shyly ran away. However, I kept thinking about the women even when I left the woods with Mrs. Pit who kept chattering away about spring. I felt a little disappointed when I realized I might not see them again. But fate had other plans.

Night had finally fallen and Mrs. Pit, after dining with me, left to her own home next door. It was a dark night with no stars. Even the moon was hidden from view. I was just about to get ready for bed when someone suddenly knocked on the door. Thinking that it was Mrs. Pit coming back for something, I hurriedly opened the door and came face to face with the two women I had seen in the woods! "Hello," one of them began in a sing-song voice. "You are Emily Bell aren't you?" I nodded, speechless. "We are Betsy Bell and Elizabeth Bell, your aunts," they said in chorus. No wonder they had looked so familiar! My parents had often talked about them and had even shown me a picture. I happily invited them inside. That night was one of the best nights of my life, although the house grew colder with the arrival of my aunts. I tried not to laugh, as my aunts looked queerly at things like the lights, the television set which they called "The big box" and inquired about them. They asked me funny questions. "Which time of the year is this, Emily dear?" one would say. "Who is the president now?" I was glad to answer. Time passed quickly. My aunts were telling me about my family ancestors when the clock struck 12 o'clock. "It was nice seeing you, dear," they said, giving me a some what sad smile. "Goodbye." With this, they left through the door and disappeared into the night before I could say a word.

When my parents came back home, I told them everything about Aunt Betsy and Aunt Elizabeth's visit. They just simply laughed. "You must have been dreaming, darling," my mother said, patting my head. "Betsy and Elizabeth were your great-great-great aunts who lived in the 1800s. They died a long time ago." I felt myself go pale. "Look, here is a picture of them taken when they were in their favorite spot." It was an old black and white photograph of those two pretty women. They were in the woods sitting by a creek. One was holding a daffodil and the other was pointing at a robin perched on a tree.

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