Joanne smiled widely to herself as she ruminated on the success she had experienced the day before. She managed to have a very brief conversation with a young girl using sticks and stones. The conversation was cut short by the girl’s rather obnoxious mother who was more interested in buying groceries than letting her daughter commune with a wandering spirit. Despite the brief nature of the conversation, Joanne felt positively elated. She had managed to talk to someone. Her loneliness lightened a bit and she had a bit of a joyful cry. There was little time to celebrate however. Joanne was able to convince at least one child that she existed but her method of communication was rather time consuming. So she decided to try another method. If she could move objects under the right circumstances, maybe she could speak to people as well. When she had first passed on she managed to grab the attention of some people with a particularly loud scream. At least she thought she did. People seemed to look toward her once or twice before. What she really needed was some more solid evidence so she decided to do an experiment.
She stood in the middle of a busy shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon and began screaming at strangers.
“Hello!” She yelled rather loudly at a young mother with her two children. The mother seemed far too distracted by her children’s incessant begging to stop and talk to a ghost. Joanne figured this was fair. So she decided to have a go at someone who looked less distracted.
“Excuse me,” Joanne yelled at a middle aged, balding man who was walking hurriedly toward the food court. She followed him as he shuffled along. “Excuse me? Hello! HELLO!” The man didn’t notice her. She sighed and rolled her eyes. Although, to be fair, there were two for one cheeseburgers at the food court. A fair enough reason to be distracted. This time Joanne looked for someone who wasn’t on the move. Someone who was definitely not distracted. She stopped and found an older gentleman who was sitting on a bench waiting for someone. He didn’t seem to be going anywhere. If anyone had time to listen to her, it was this guy. She stood in front of him, and leaned down so they were face to face.
“Excuse me!” Joanne yelled at the elderly man. “Can you hear me?”
The man stared through her and didn’t respond.
“Hello!” She yelled as she waved her arms back and forth. “HELLO, CAN YOU HEAR ME!”
No response. This time she was fed up. She began yelling, and screaming, and howling a bunch of nonsense at the man. She spun around and did the same to the people behind her who happened to be walking by. She did her best impression of that strange old woman who used to ride her bus and tell obnoxiously loud stories about how she had visions of the future. When not a single person acknowledged her she let out an exasperated groan. She closed her eyes tightly and rubbed her forehead.
“What’s the god damned point?” She asked herself out lout.
“What do you mean?” She heard a young man say from behind her. She turned around, excitedly. There was a man in his twenties sitting with a woman around the same age.
“What?” The woman asked.
“You just asked me what the god damned point is,” the man said, raising his voice slightly, “You know, you didn’t have to come shopping with me if you didn’t want to.”
Joanne smiled widely.
“I didn’t say anything, you idiot,” the woman said, “You know, you’re always looking for arguments like this.”
Joanne looked back and forth and scratched her arm nervously. As the argument in front of her escalated, she sped off to another section of the mall. She may have caused a breakup, but she managed be heard. She decided to find one last person to be her test subject. A young woman working as a clerk at a clothing store. She stared her directly in the face and spoke in a fairly quiet tone.
“Hello,”Joanne said calmly. She got no response. She looked down and furrowed her brow. A moment later her eyes grew wide as she realized how this all worked. She closed here eyes and tried again.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hm?” The clerk said. Joanne opened her eyes and saw the very confused looking clerk looking around for the source of the greeting. So there it was. Eyes closed, calm voice. Joanne knew exactly where she needed to go. She had some catching up to do.