Two weeks pass.
He twists his soft worsted hat in his hands when she opens the door. –Hello, ma’am, he says.
–Yes, she says, and waits. She is still dressed all in black.
–I’m to do for you, ma’am, he says. His voice is soft and hesitant and he avoids her eyes, but his hands are sturdy and calloused. His hair is thin and brown. Since Harry passed on, and all…
–What? she says, and sees the trees behind him, how wild they suddenly look in the twilight. How tangled their branches… a plastic bag has gotten caught near the top of the oak and the wind whips it against the trunk. Ghosts, she thinks.
–Harry, he says, um, was my brother, ma’am. Now that he’s, that he’s passed on and all… I’m, uh, I’m to do for you. Whatever needs doing. He looks at her pleadingly. The lace gloves are pressing tighter and tighter into her hands. She will take them off tonight and find red lines, elaborate lace tracery down to her bones.
–What’s your name?
–James, ma’am, he says.
She moves away from the door and gestures him deeper into the house. The ghost whispers, whispers, whispers.