Joanne: Part 1

Joanne stood in an empty glass bus stop in downtown Saskatoon late one night and stared, slack-jawed, at her reflection in the glass. Her black hair just barely poked out of the pea green toque she was wearing. Her glasses were crooked and she didn’t really feel the need to adjust them. She just stood, hands in her hoodie’s pockets, swaying back and forth slowly. She was more bored than she had ever been and that’s what she did when she had nothing else to do. She swayed. Slowly. Back and forth. Staring at nothing with her mouth hanging open. She drooled just a bit. She would normally wipe the drool from her mouth at least semi regularly but she didn’t bother this time. There was no one around. No one that could see her anyway. It had been at least three weeks since she had interacted with anyone at all. So she just stared into nothingness and swayed. Back and forth. Forward and backward. Around and around. She swayed out of boredom until she swayed too far to one side and lost her balance. She stumbled and suddenly snapped back into the real world. She braced herself to hit the glass and closed her eyes. Instead she past through it like it wasn’t even there and fell down onto the pavement. She opened her eyes and looked up at the undisturbed bus stop.

“Oh yeah,” She said to herself, “forgot about that.”

She was bored. She was alone. She was still getting used to being incorporeal. Joanne had died three weeks earlier and for some reason she never left earth. She just woke up one day and saw herself laying in bed, post brain aneurysm, and that was it. Her roommate found her body in bed and called an ambulance. It didn’t do any good. Joanne rode in the ambulance with her corpse in an attempt to figure out whether or not this was just some strange out of body experience. When she tried to lean against the side of the ambulance and fell out onto the pavement was when she realized something really strange was up. She followed her family around a bit and pieced it all together from the conversations. She went to her own funeral. That was super messed up. Seeing your own open casket really screws with you. After that, though, she just didn’t know what to do. After three weeks of wandering around the city, she had become lonely. She wanted to talk to someone. Living or dead, it didn’t really matter. The only problem was that she didn’t know what she was even capable of at this point.

Could she open doors? Could she fly? Could she feel pain? The answer to all of these questions was a resounding “sometimes.” It was all very inconsistent and frustrating. She had mostly just wandered around the city and tried to talk to people. She new that didn’t work. Nobody could hear her. Once in a while people seemed to look toward her when she screamed exceptionally loudly. She couldn’t tell if that was because of her or just a coincidence though. It was pretty frustrating. After almost a month of wasting time and ruminating on her situation she thought it might be a good idea to figure it all out. She was obviously stuck here, so why not try to get some things sorted? It was time to find out what she was capable of, and find a way for her newly deceased voice to be heard.

She walked to the nearest coffee shop, passed through a wall and sat in a booth and started making a mental list.

‘Okay,’ she thought. ‘Let’s start with what I know. I can move my body through solid stuff. That’s pretty freakin’ sweet. But I can’t pick stuff up. That’s lame. But I can sit in chairs for some reason, so that’s cool I guess. I can’t seem to get people to hear me and I can’t touch them, which really sucks. I like talking to people. I don’t seem to need food or water, which I guess is convenient?’

She stopped for a moment. She squinted and thought extra hard.

‘I think that’s it,’ she thought. ‘Cool. I’m like an extremely lonely superhero who can walk through stuff. Right on.  I guess I should find some way to interact with stuff. Maybe then I could get someone’s attention.’

She looked at a small, brown and white coffee mug that sat upside down on a plate in front of her.

“Okay, Joanne,” She said confidently. “Let’s try to lift some stuff.”

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