Giving up the Ghost

A novel by Mary Logue published in installments each day in the Star Tribune from June 9 to July 28, 2013.
Day 11 of 50 | Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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The story: Wendy was just 25 when she met Richard, a Minneapolis artist, at the New French Café. They fell in love, married, bought a cabin in northern Minnesota where they spent their summers. But when Richard died unexpectedly, Wendy found it difficult to move on. Because she kept seeing Richard’s ghost….
Mary Logue
Mary Logue is the author of more than twenty-five books, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, mysteries and children’s stories. She has won a Minnesota Book Award, the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Award, and many other honors. She lives with her husband, writer Pete Hautman, in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Mary Logue talks about writing, and 'Giving Up the Ghost'

Star Tribune editor: Our serial fiction and e-book project

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Serial novels reveal how we're willing to wait for a good story

Giving Up the Ghost

Chapter 11 continues

So far: A gallery owner pushes hard to show Richard’s work

In the morning, when I walked down to the lake, a lacy frill of ice lined the shore. If I was an artist I would have drawn it, the organic curls and scallops. Instead I imagined a dress with an irregular collar formed in the shape of the ice. Then I saw it all done in embroidery.

The ice wouldn’t last long. When the sun shone on it for a while, it would disappear.

The lake was turning turbid, a milky blue. Deep freeze was on its way.

• • •

“Another week has gone by,” Gary told me.

“It certainly has,” I said in my best Stan Laurel voice.

“You’re still not back in town.”

“I’m not.”

“Why?”

“Because I keep staying here.”

“How’s your bowl?” he asked.

“I love it.”

“See. Good collectible.”

I felt like arguing. “But if I had another bowl, I might not love this one as much.”

“That might be true, but the collective love you would feel for both bowls might be more than the love you feel for just that one.”

“I don’t want to risk it.” Cloud was curled up in my jacket, which I had dropped on the rug. “Can I tell you the latest cute thing that Cloud did?”

“Of course. I owe you many hours of listening to catch up with all the cute Bethany things I’ve told you.”

“Last night she slept in the crook of my arm. The whole night.”

Gary gave a guffaw, then said, “God, that is adorable. How big is she?”

I looked at Cloud. She was bigger than the fur ball I had rescued from the garbage can. “She weighs just over twenty ounces.”

“You weighed her?”

“I needed to see that the food was making a difference.”

“What about Thanksgiving?” Gary asked.

“I can’t think that far.”

“It’s only two weeks away.”

“I can’t think that far.”

• • •

If I left the cabin to go back to the Cities, what would happen to the ghost? Would it follow me or stay behind and freeze solid in the coming winter like the water ghost?

Chapter 12

Today, Cloud went outside for the first time since I found her. I didn’t really want her to be an outdoor cat, but I also didn’t want to totally deprive her of nature. I sat on the steps as she skipped and leaped around the yard. She chased leaves and ran partway up a tree. I had to go rescue her, carefully pulling her claws out of the bark. She hissed at me, then clung to me as I lifted her off the tree.

An outdoor cat has an average life span of three to four years. An indoor cat can live to be twenty. I was determined that this cat wasn’t dying anytime soon.

After prying her off the tree, I took her indoors. She was all riled up from her adventure and scampered over to the curtains, climbing them to the top, scrabbling all the way.

I laughed out loud.

Then I thought, Richard would have hated that. Claw marks in the linen curtains.

• • •

Gary always brought green beans with fried onion rings on top to Thanksgiving. His mom had always made them, he explained to me once, when I asked why he brought this specific dish. Gary wasn’t much of a cook. Since he’s joined forces with Mint she often made a lovely plate of crudités, but Gary still brought the green beans.

Tomorrow: Chapter 12 continues.

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