The train dropped me off at the rural station building. People that I almost knew spread out into the nearby village with uncertain waves of hands. It was sort of a homecoming but my heart was elsewhere. The kids had their own lives now and there had been nobody to move into our old house.
We once had bees here by the station. Nobody knew, except the fantastic old lady that used to own the building, of course. She loved the honey we gave her every spring and she even loved the bees. The tiny garden had been neglected both before and after her time there but you should have seen it when it was hers. I missed the talks we had about life and all that hardware we had to make life comfortable.
Like our phones. It was those who kept us in touch, up to speed and alive, in that order. And she was the one cracking the whip for more technology. Imagine that.
The old spruce tree was still there on the other side of the track. It marked the beginning of our site. I listened to my headset to hear the muffled knocking when my phone reached the wireless network. I hadn't been here for almost a year. Would it still talk to me?
Cold winds blew by as I crossed the stone bridge. The stream was looking good. It had recovered well from the drought some years ago. There was even tiny fishes swimming under the bridge but old eyes don't see them well.
Old memories of sitting on the simple bridge with my feet in the cold stream almost took my mind for a picnic but there it was, the sound that I had been fearing to miss among the memories. The network was talking. Saved from nostalgia again. Knock knock.
The site was still alive. It looked at me suspiciously and took a while to remember an old friend. It was doing well but was getting old too. It was lovely to meet it again. It was truly a dear friend of the entire family, especially to our older daughter.
Things were waking up around me and only a few of us would ever know. It wasn't a spectacular secret by any stretch of the word, but nonetheless a secret. The site of our old house was haunted.
It gave me all the handshakes and asked me about my health. It could see the new parts in my left thigh joint and wondered what it was. It was quite satisfied with the barcode serial number and adjusted my profile accordingly with a grunt.
I was home.
There was firewood in the box next to the mouth of the rocket stove. But most of the house was inside a greenhouse shell so things were quite cosy even without the sound of the fire. Our new house was built the same way, some boxes inside a greenhouse. This was a firewall in the same way the younger house was a shoin. Never mind, it's a bit hard to explain.
Inside one of the boxes was the office. It was the other end of the kitchen, basically, hidden behind pale straw coloured fusuma decorated with just few golden honeybees. The sliding wall sections opened up to reveal my low desk but there were no pillows left. Work was done elsewhere now and the pillows were there. The simple carpet looked naked and the desk was a bit dusty.
Our ghost lives here now, and in other places too of course. It was born here and it is getting old here. It likes the barren simplicity of the Jolla phone. It hasn't been too grumpy after the latest updates. In fact it recommended us to leave it here in the old house when we moved out. It was quite adamant. Yes, it simply wouldn't follow us. So I had to get myself a new computer for the shoin.
The phone seemed to sleep under a blanket. Inside was the abode of a daemon monk of sorts. The cloth was merely there for protection. A way to shed the soot-spreaders while waiting for soft fingers.
A note was tucked between the cover and the display. Our youngest had drawn a flower next to the few words.
"You wait here, ok?"
She carried a room for it too. A newer phone with a picture of a welcome carpet and a leather boot. She's had it for years now, that same old ambience. Some day I have to ask her about it.
The screen woke up. it was one of the first ones, bought from a distinguished gentleman in Namibia who spoke with clicks and kept his computers well. He had given our daughters some important lessons and wouldn't have sold the screen to anyone else. We brought one for him built by an artisan in a shanty-town near Entebbe while waiting for transit. There was meaning in that gift. We are still in debt to the ladies of the cyberpunk household, especially the Lady of Blue. But the old man was delighted.
A phone, a sixteen inch display and a thin keyboard. What ghost would be happy with just that, other than this one?
There was plenty of space left on the tiny desk. The bits that made up the computer all had small footprints. Tiny.I sat down and started typing, but a symbol on the touch-screen told me to get out fast. I did. A ghost would be safe here, but I am still alive.