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The day started out normally enough. I woke up, got dressed, put on my makeup, styled my hair, and left for school. That was back when I used to wear makeup and style my hair. Then I passed notes all through my morning classes (except art, my favorite class), and then it was time for lunch. I sat at the popular table, gossiped with my friends, discussed new trends, and flirted with boys. I was talking to my best friends Katie and Sophia as I was walking up the stairs from the cafeteria. Little did I know that those would be my last moments of normalcy before my life fell apart.
“Are you going to Brendan’s party this Friday?” Katie asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I wanted to go because Jacob is going to be there, but then I heard those rumors that he’s hooking up with Ally…”
“What?!” Sophia squealed. “Since when? Why didn’t someone tell me?”
“I heard it from Katie,” I said. “Katie, who did you hear it from?”
“I heard someone in my Spanish class talking about it. It’s probably not true, though, especially if the Gossip Queen hasn’t heard it.” She rolled her eyes at Sophia. “And anyway, Leah, you’re way prettier than Ally. Smarter, too. Jacob’s just scared of you.”
“Yeah, you can be pretty intimidating,” said Sophia. I stopped walking and gave them each a good glare.
“See, you just proved my point,” Sophia laughed. “The only reason you don’t have a boyfriend is because you chase them all away without even realizing it.”
“Whatever,” I said. I wasn’t in the mood to talk about parties or boys or listen to my friends tease me about my bluntness or how I can be just a teensy bit violent sometimes. I had been feeling strange ever since I woke up. Kind of nervous and edgy. I really wasn’t in a good mood. I hadn’t thought much of it, though. Everyone has bad days sometimes.
“Sorry, guys,” I said, sighing. “I’m kind of having a bad day.”
“What’s wrong?” Katie asked, instantly concerned.
“I don’t know. I just woke up feeling different.”
“It’s like I’m stressing about something, but I don’t know what. We don’t have any tests today, do we?” Katie and I had all our afternoon classes together.
“No, but that’s weird. Are you fighting with your parents again?”
I grimaced. “Always. I’ve gotten used to it by now.”
“That’s weird,” Sophia said. “You’re usually so collected.”
“I know. I’m sure I’ll be fine tomorrow. Can we talk about something else?”
“Of course!” Sophia instantly brightened. “So that new girl Emily decided to try out for cheerleading, but she fell on her butt during tryouts, and so…”
As Sophia chattered, I began to relax. I was sure nothing was wrong. That was when I made one of my biggest, most life-altering mistakes. I looked away.
I’ll never forget what happened next. When I glanced away from my friends, my eyes were drawn to a slight movement in a corner next to a door. At first I saw nothing. Then I saw an unfamiliar girl standing there. She had long blond hair and big brown eyes, and she was staring straight at me. She smiled tentatively, and I smiled back. For some reason I couldn’t look away from her. She was so ordinary and yet so captivating. As I stared at her, a strange feeling settled over me. It was almost as if I recognized in her some quality that I had never seen in any other person. It was strange and disorienting and not a pleasant feeling. But still, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
Then a loud, chattering group of people passed in front of her and she was gone. I turned back to my friends, and we resumed our conversation.
I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I thought I just saw a friendly girl standing by herself in a corner, maybe waiting for a friend. But she was so much more than that. The moment when I saw her was the moment that caused my life to come to a screeching halt several days later, when I started seeing more people like her. She marked my transition from pretty, popular, fun to hang out with Leah to depressed, angry, questioning her sanity Leah. But I’m not angry with her. If she hadn’t done it someone else would have. It isn’t her fault that I happened to see her. That’s what Willow and Celia told me, and I believed them. After all, they were the ones who found me and explained everything to me two years later, when the old Leah was almost too far gone to be brought back to life.
But wait, I’m forgetting something. You’re probably wondering why seeing a girl standing in a corner on my way to class was such a life-changing moment. That’s because I failed to explain who she was. I failed to explain what it meant that I could see her, and that I can still see people like her to this day. When I started seeing more people like her, I thought it meant I was losing my mind, coming undone. I thought I had just bought myself a one-way ticket to Crazyville. But really it was so much worse than that. Really I’m a medium, and the nervousness I felt that day was because of the Effect, the side effect mediums and some others who possess supernatural powers have to deal with. In case you don’t know what a medium is, I’ll spell it out for you. A medium sees dead people. That girl was dead.
That was the day I saw my first ghost.