When she got to her cousin's house -- her aunt was now there full time -- things were an emotional mess. Her cousin was collapsed in the middle of the living room floor crying, everyone trying to console her. Everyone except her husband who was in the kitchen boiling water for tea. Everyone gave her cautionary looks and flicked their heads in the direction of the kitchen so that's where wordlessly went.
"What's up?" she whispered to the husband, the very good guy.
"Mom doesn't know any of us," he said. "Duck your head in. Maybe she'll know you."
She just looked at him.
"Really," he said. "Maybe she'll know you."
She did as he asked, quietly turning the doorknob and entering the room.
Her aunt looked up from what she was doing -- playing Solitaire it seemed with an old deck of cards -- and stared at her blankly but then a grin spread over her face.
"I saw your parents this afternoon," her aunt said. "They're waiting for me."
Her eyes got as big as saucers. Her own parents had died many years earlier.
"They said to tell you they love you and watch over you," said her aunt.
It was nice of her aunt to say, really.
"They also they like Conrad and it might be a while before you see him but he's coming back to you. They said try not to worry."
Her aunt got a dreamy look on her face.
"They said they will be seeing me very soon," said her aunt. "Don't tell your cousin. She's so emotional."
Here aunt then quickly turned her attention to her game of Solitaire. It might've been Klondike, it might have been the playing card version of insanity, but it was as if she's never spoken and it was frightening to her beyond measure.
She left the room, quietly closing the door, and returned to the living room. Her cousin was drinking tea and things seemed less dramatic.
"So," said her cousin. "Did she know you?"
How do you answer that? She thought, 'Yes, but she's been talking to my deceased parents who seem to know all about a man I care about.'
"Yes," she said, "she knew me. She said she saw my parents this afternoon."
Her cousin gently put the cup and saucer on the coffee table, then howled and fell to the floor again.
"But she knew it was me," she said.
Her cousin's husband walked over and hugged her.
"Yeah, she knew you," he said.
She decided it would be a good idea to leave. She said her farewells as calmly as she could, her cousin still balled up on the floor. Her cousin's husband walked her out.
"I think she's afraid she will go that way," he said. "I'm sorry you had to get hit with some crazy."
"I don't know that it's so crazy," she said. "She also told me about something I've never told anyone in the family. There are a lot of things in this world you can't explain and what happened in there is one of them."
"Care to expand?" he said.
She thought for a few minutes.
"No," she said, "but not because I don't want to. It's because I can't describe it."
They were at her car.
"When you can talk, I can listen," said her cousin's husband. "You know I can keep a secret."
She smiled at him.
"You can," she said. "If you need anything, let me know. I can listen, I can run errands, I can sit with my aunt."
They embraced lightly and she got in her car and before she drove off, she looked at her phone to see if there were any messages. There was one from Kevin.
"Oh, yeah, hi. Now please don't worry but Con's missing. He's not where he's supposed to be and no one's heard from him. Please don't worry. Call me."
Her aunt said her parents said they liked Conrad but it might be awhile before she saw him.
She liked her life better when it was maybe someone trying to kill her and not some metaphysical, spritual mumbo jumbo, and she was not so crazy about it then. Crap.