The Ghostly Piano Party
In the late 1990s, the woman I had begun dating decided that if I was to be an actor, I had to live in Hollywood.
And so she moved me from New Jersey to Los Angeles.
The original game-plan was for her to remain at her well-paying New York job to build up funds, living with my mother at the Verona house.
When I would call and talk with my girlfriend, now and then she told me she felt there was more to the century-old house than the benign
in the cellar across which my brother had come, or the fairie she had sensed formerly living amongst my boxes before my moving away.
"There's definitely some sort of ghost activity here," she declared.
This was news to me.
I'd experienced nothing, nor had my friend YDC who had been a tenant for a time.
She explained to me what had been happening.
"Whenever your Mom is out and I'm home alone, and when I'm in the bathroom, there's some sort of... cocktail party going on."
"A... cocktail party," I echoed.
"Yes," she insisted.
"I can hear a lot of people talking as though in the dining room area, and I can clearly hear a piano faintly playing."
"What have you ruled out?" I asked her.
She knew I accept the existence of ghosts, but that I had to make sure it was ghosts and rule out anything else that first could be explained.
"Everything," she exaggerated.
"It only happens when I'm home alone and when I'm in the bathroom.
The moment I come out, it all goes quiet."
I was scheduled to (and did) come home for my mother's 75th birthday, as a surprise.
During my stay I would walk my girlfriend to the bus each morning to see her off to work.
One day my mother had gone out and I realized I was home alone.
I went to the bathroom, went inside and shut the door.
After a few moments alone, sure enough, I could hear it.
There was most definitely a piano being played, obviously just off to the left (the bathroom was just off the kitchen which was next to the dining area to the left, the kitchen to the right on leaving the bathroom).
And not just a piano, but I could hear voices, very much a cocktail party type of chatting.
I could not make out any words, nor any specific tune being played on the piano.
It sounded like someone just playing unobtrusive cocktail background music.
I strained to make out something more specific, something I could confirm.
Then came the scratch at the door.
I was surprised she had taken so long to notice I was in the bathroom with the door closed.
The cocktail party sounds cut off as my Torti cat Isis, as always, pulled open the bathroom door to race in for her Captive Audience, for affection and petting.
With the cat now inside the bathroom, I closed the door, and after a few moments, the sounds started up again.
I could not explain it.
With the door open though, I wondered if the vibration of the refrigerator might be causing it, but experimentation demonstrated it was not.
The acoustics indicated the sounds coming from through the wall from the other direction.
Plus I unplugged the 'fridge for a few minutes, and the sounds still returned.
I discussed this with my girlfriend but neglected to mention any of it to my mother.
When my girlfriend learned that in Los Angeles I was able to acquire friends on my own without her authorization and/or introducing said friends to me herself, she resigned from her job months early, negating our funds-building game-plan, and rushed right out to regain control over my life.
Her one concern was leaving my mother, as my brother had already moved out as well.
Close to her departure, she asked my mother if she would be alright, all alone.
"Oh, I'll be just fine," my smiling mother assured her casually.
"Maybe the ghost will play the piano for me."
My girlfriend was stunned.
Mom had been experiencing it too; it was the first Mom had mentioned it, and neither my girlfriend nor I had told her about experiencing it ourselves.