Tess didn't really listen to her grandmother go on and on about her mother.
"You know I saw her." She kept insisting that she did.
Tess nodded the first couple of times while she was cleaning up the kitchen. It was so cold now that it did no good to try to sweep the crumbs out the back door. The windows were so frosty, and she had a good mind to go on the roof and shovel some snow off since she knew it would only mean a leaky roof when it warmed up. These were the things on her mind, not this ghost that her grandmother spoke of.
"Are you listening to me?" Gran glared at Tess from the kitchen table. She was sorting her pills out for the next week.
"Yes," Tess winced. "What more do you want from me?" She felt like a prisoner, already. "Have you taken your meds?" Tess wasn't quite sure if she was senile or perhaps she wasn't taking her medications, correctly. She would squabble about that any moment. Tess felt sure of it.
"She says you've grownup into a very pretty young lass." Gran smiled.
"Perhaps it would be nice if she said these things to me instead of you. You seem to be the only one in contact with her." Tess looked at her frustrated.
"You might want to go away with her then," Gran looked sad. 'You'd forget all about me."
"How could I?" Tess felt herself waver in sadness. "I would have no one talk to, now would I?" Her eyes softened with warm tears. She knew there was no mother. She'd fallen off at the cliff when she wasn't much older than Tess. End of story. Tess got back to scrubbing the floor then. That shut Gran up. Couldn't she keep the ghost to herself. Nothing good would come of it. Perhaps a memory or two she'd start to tell about her mother and then end up mixing it with a story of her own. It was hard to decipher the truth anymore.
Tess got up to tend to the pot of soup on the stove. It was starting to boil, she let the steam hit her face as she closed her eyes, and she thought of the pain she'd yet to endure. Gran kept telling her how lucky she was. How Tess had never worked a real job like she had too when she was her age.
Tess had a feeling she would never know. She was beginning to think she'd never feel anything. Evidently. Maybe that's why she decided to burn herself on the pot that day.