Just a Fika: Coffee, Connection, and a Matchmaking Ghost Grandmother
They’re always meddling in your love life
Even after they’re dead.
Brooklynite-and genealogist-Ingrid Ekstrom accepts a surprise request from her typically estranged family: to become the live-in caretaker of their shared historic house in the sleepy Jersey Shore town of Aegir Haven. A fun-loving cousin is quick to introduce Ingrid to the local handyman and bluegrass musician. As he fixes up the place, Ingrid digs into the house’s past and learns about the family she barely knows.
And then Mormor-her long-dead grandmother-shows up, acting as though not being in the spirit realm is perfectly normal.
Ingrid’s always yearned for stronger family connections, and it’s nice having Mormor around. Mormor tries to set her up with a young real estate attorney who’s closer to her more thunderous, god-like personal standards than the musician with keen senses Ingrid is falling for. As lore and legends mingle with real life, she’s torn. Mormor’s fantastical family sagas can’t actually be true, right?
“Mormor?” I mouth to her. Numbness spreads inside of my shoulders, and I let my arms fall to my sides.
“Did you say something?” Kurt asks.
“Oh, I asked if you needed more.” Think, think. What is she even doing? “Sugar. Do you need more sugar?”
“Nah, I prefer black coffee.” He leans to catch my gaze. “How did you sleep?”
“Pretty well.” Can he not see the massive distraction wandering around us?
His eyes trace up and down my face, which is fair considering I’ve already memorized the sculpted lines of his.
Ignore her. She’s not real. “You know how it is when you sleep in a new bed, it takes a lot to find the right position.” I cringe at the poor phrasing.
“We can get you a new mattress.” He laughs. “Consider me an extra set of hands.”
“For breaking in mattresses?” Nope, that’s not what he meant, and yet it flew from my mouth.
“I didn’t mean…” Kurt fidgets with his mug and can’t seem to hide the shades of pink in his cheeks. “Your cousin said you could use some help with the house.” He clears his throat. “Unless this wasn’t about repairs.”
“The little I know about my family, I wouldn’t put it past her.” I take a sip of the icy drink. “Don’t worry. I don’t throw myself at strangers.”
He chokes on a sip and blinks in response.
Bail out, I need to bail out. “Any help you can give with the house is much appreciated.”
The woman is still looking straight at me. She sticks out her tongue and crosses her eyes before pulling the newspaper closer to cover her face. Mormor? But it can’t be. Mormor is dead. The air is playing tricks on me.
Beck Erixson writes about the beautifully awkward world of navigating the journey to true happiness through friendships, love, and family—be it blood, found, or chosen. Her stories enhance the importance of positive interconnection, even when we feel lonely. She lives on the Jersey Shore, and can often be found either writing by the river, or in it in some way. Her short stories have appeared in Many Nice Donkeys, and Full Mood Mag.
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