by Samantha Adler
The summer before entering high school my parents announced we were moving. We were leaving Middletown for a small town in the woods, called Higganum. Population 1,000. Correction: village within a town. While it was only about 10 miles away, it seemed to be the end of my teenage life (fact: teenagers are quite dramatic).
The real estate agent and I became natural enemies. Her job was to sell our home, and my job, as I saw it, was to foil all her plans. Before each open house I’d leave a trail of brightly colored sticky notes inside closet doors, on bathroom mirrors and stuck on the occasional family photo. Scribbled in messy, supernatural print they politely warned “DO NOT BUY THIS HOUSE. IT’S HAUNTED” and “I’M COMING FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY - GHOST”. Either the agent caught on or a brave couple decided to proceed with putting down an offer, despite the ghoulish threats.
On the first day of school my history teacher asked us to find Higganum on a map. After ten minutes of not finding Waldo I raised my hand,
“I’m sorry, I don’t think it’s on this map. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong one?”
With a sly smile, my teacher responded, “It’s never marked!”
* horrified expression *
“That’s the fun part! Welcome!”
At the time I didn’t get the “fun part” of living in a place that was so unfamiliar, unrecognizable and tucked away. A quiet, wooded New England town constructed of forest back-roads interlocking occasionally with CT-81 and the traffic lights of our two-block Main Street.
It wasn’t until I moved to New York years later, that I saw the unfamiliar, unrecognizable and tucked away are a refuge. My hometown is a well-kept secret: a web of country roads, in-between a few New England towns. I’m glad I know the roads, how to get to that place where I can take salvage in the quiet and actually see stars in the sky.
Anyways, hope that ghost is being nice to that sweet couple.