Casey was still in high school when her sexual awakening came upon her. She attended an all-girls Catholic high school. She was slightly odd, preferred her time alone away from the other girls antics and was generally well behaved. Conservative was the word for it, she was conservative in the things that she did, conservative in the way she spoke, all her actions were conservative.

Her awakening came upon her one day in class. The students were split into pairs where they would have to discuss the coursework, work together and complete a project. Casey was paired with another student whose name was Erica. In comparison of their two different personalities, Casey was more of a conservative introvert, whereas Erica was an extroverted personality. Erica had no qualms in identifying who she was, had no problems exposing herself to the other girls. In a lot of ways she was an exhibitionist. But then again she attended an all-girls catholic high school and there were some things even she felt that she shouldn’t talk about.

The project made up half the grade for the class. It was a mathematics class and they had a project due in two weeks. It was preparing some of the students into preliminary studies into calculus. That was, it was high grade mathematics for their level of study, and all of the students needed their utmost attention to be able to focus on the mathematical problems that were being presented to them.

Casey and Erica were paired together. And in their initial developmental work of the material, Casey sat there attempting to explain the material to Erica. Erica sat there and nodded along. There was something that was disturbing Erica as she attempted to focus in on what Casey was saying. She attempted to pay attention, but she just couldn’t manage to concentrate. There was something that was disturbing Erica’s field of vision and it was sitting there right in front of her. The distraction being: Casey, herself. With those bright blue eyes, as the two made eye contact, there was a glimmer, there was a spark. There was an interaction there between the two with the meeting of their eyes. That’s when Erica threw her hair back and ruffled her face with both of her hands, swearing to herself, “Fark! Fark! Fark!”

At the words, Casey dropped her pen and asked, “I’m sorry. What seems to be the problem?”

“No, there’s no problem,” Erica wriggled in her seat, “No problem at all. Whatever the problem is, it’s not your problem to worry about. Continue.” And Casey continued to explain the material until Erica couldn’t stand it anymore. She then said, “Look, I’m going to write something down on this piece of paper here and I want you to take it in the best way possible. I need to concentrate on my studies and so do you.” So then Erica took out her notebook and on a page of the notebook wrote the line, ‘You’re so attractive that it’s a problem. I can’t concentrate.’

At that point in time the two students realized the situation that had been created for them. Attending a Catholic high school, they couldn’t approach the teachers or otherwise they’d be exposed and punished as heathens… Heathens? Well, you know the word. But that’s the problem with that word, that word simply cannot be said. Perhaps in some places, but not in an all-girls Catholic college.

And so Casey attempted to try and solve the problem by herself by making herself as unattractive as possible. One day she wore purple eye shadow that was ghastly and looked as if she had suffered from a black eye. Another day, she started conversing to Erica about a true crime novel that she had read. All in an attempt to make herself appear as unattractive as possible. But still Erica couldn’t help it. She still found Casey attractive. And even when she approached the teachers, stating that she had a problem concentrating, she couldn’t state what the problem was exactly. In effect, they were both failing the coursework because of their deep seeded desires. There was nothing that could be done about it, because the pressure from the school was just too intense.

The final day when the coursework was meant to be finished. Erica attended the class wearing a pink hat. On the hat there was the word imprinted and embroidered on the hat. And that word was, ‘Lesbian’. Erica literally lost her shit yelling at the teacher that she knew what was happening, but simply wouldn’t intervene and do something about it. Erica was expelled that day from the high school for indecent conduct.

The whole series of events had forced Casey to rethink her own sexuality. Question her own feelings and make her realize something. There was a glimmer, she did feel something there. She found Erica’s household address through one of her friends and visited her home.

That Saturday they spent the whole day in a lover’s embrace. The complexities of the limbs intertwined, kisses enshrined to all parts of each other’s bodies and more besides.

Sunday, they decided to do something different and attended the local tennis match in the city. Erica wore the pink hat with the word ‘Lesbian’ printed on it. The two sat next to each other during the match and took turns wearing the hat, smiling and laughing at how other people were looking at them.

That evening a tragedy occurred. They both separated and went to their own homes. Casey made it back to her home unharmed. But Erica was attacked and killed by an unknown assailant. Her body was found mutilated in one of the suburban backstreet alleyways. When Casey found out, she was beside herself in grief, how could someone do this? How could some bastard do this? She was so grief-stricken that she dropped out of high school and sought psychiatric help.

*

Ten years later Casey had her life on track. She had full time work in an office and had a long term partner. With the recent events that had occurred in politics. Namely, the legalizing of gay marriage throughout Australia, the two of them were considering getting married.

It would be a great day in which they could celebrate their love. A day in which they could make their relationship official, in which they could state that they remained committed to each other for the rest of their lives.

One day, Casey’s lover proposed and Casey accepted the proposal. They would be married within a year. That’s when weird things begun happening.

For example. One day when Casey was alone the television turned itself on. All by itself. That was freaky. But what was scary about it was what was on the television. It was a tennis match.

It brought up old feelings and memories concerning Erica. What had happened, the events that had occurred after and the fact that there was never any serious closure involved in that relationship because of what was happening.

Casey found herself up late at night, looking over old high school photos which featured the both of them. Their time together had been so short, but because it was her first, it still meant a hell of a lot to her. It was difficult to explain.

That’s when ‘he’ entered the picture. Who was he? What was he doing? He was a new employee at her workplace and when she had to explain some of the processes and procedures of the work to him individually. She noticed something. Something was happening for him. She recognized that look. She hated that look coming from men. What was that look? It was the look of attraction.

‘God damn it!’ Casey thought to herself, ‘I don’t need this shit right now! I don’t need this shit right now!’ But Casey continued on with her work, regardless of what the man felt about her.

That’s when he did something that she didn’t expect. He took out a notebook and on that notebook wrote out the same sentence, ‘You’re so attractive it’s a problem. I can’t concentrate.’ At that point Casey was beyond freaked out. She was catastrophic. Those were the exact words that Erica had written down on a piece of paper all of those years ago.

Casey began yelling at the man for writing that. Demanding some answers from him about what he knew about her.

“God damn it!” The man answered, “This shit always happens to me. I just want to live a normal life. Fark, I hate my life.”

Casey was confused, she paused and asked him to explain himself. “I’m a psychopomp, a psychic. A guiding spirit to the land of the dead. Sometimes they possess me and I do this sort of stuff.” Casey was astonished. She didn’t know what to say. “Look, I’ll try and figure out what’s happening, try to resolve the issue.” He paused and his eyes temporarily rolled up and into his head, revealing only the whites of his eyes. “You’re getting married. The spirit… It’s an ex-lover. A deceased ex-lover. The problem isn’t yours’. It’s the old lover. She’s having difficulty letting you go. She says she’s been watching you all of this time.”

Casey was infuriated by this. She demanded of her superiors that they ensure this man did not continue working there. Which they complied and the man was fired from the job.

That week-end, Casey went to the tennis by herself and thought about Erica. The match was close. And as Casey sat there she spoke underneath her breath, “Erica, you have to understand that that was so long ago. I have to move on now. I still love you, a part of me always will, but I have to move on.”

As if a sign from Casey on the afterlife, a father and daughter who were sitting close by were conversing. The father was talking about something else to his daughter, Casey didn’t know what had been happening in their conversation, but as if it were a message from the afterlife, the father stated, “It’s okay. You have my blessing to do that.”

And, as if by magic, Casey knew one thing. She had received Erica’s blessing from the afterlife.

 

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