It was well-known that Dalt Patton’s wife haunted their house. They had fallen in love young. She was 19, he was 24 when they got married. Their first child was stillborn just a month after Mrs. Patton’s 20th birthday. And then, for whatever reason, it seemed like they could not have children.
Everyone agreed that this was a terrible tragedy in itself. They were such a beautiful couple.
Sometimes, when he would get home from work, she would be down at the park, talking with the mothers in the neighborhood, watching their children play, and she would seem to almost sense that he was on his way and she would take off running for the house.
Everyone got such a kick out of that, watching a woman in full skirts, hiking her petticoats out of the way and running full bore for home. “Oh, young married folks,” they would say. “Do you remember when we were like that?” And they would all laugh and smile.
Her death was so terrible. He came home from work and found her in a broken heap at the bottom of the grand staircase. The one shoe still on her foot was broken at the heel. And it turned out she was pregnant.
He was only 38, but he never remarried.
“She was my gal,” he would say, sitting in the porch swing, a glass of whiskey sweating in his hand. “She was my best gal.”
Patton couldn’t even bear to throw out her clothes.
“I like feeling like she’s still here,” he said, though to most folks, it was apparent she still was. People would see lights on in the house when he wasn’t there. When he was there and people were visiting, they would swear they could hear her laughter in the kitchen.
“Dalt,” they would ask. “Is that your wife?” and he would tear up and nod. For the whole rest of his life, he lived there, with little changed since she passed. He stayed there with the ghost of the one woman he ever loved, with the woman he dearly, dearly missed.