The woman in a white dress

Rain falls over White Rock Lake
Gentle thunder rumbles the sky
Unusually dark for 9:00 PM
Clouds obstruct the moonlight

Slowly winding around the lake
Headlights shine a distant figure
A woman walks in a white dress
Alone in the darkness of night

Seeing the approaching headlights
The woman turns to meet my gaze
Blurry through a rainy windshield
She waves and gives a smile of relief

Feeling chivalrous, the car pulls over
“Need a lift?” I ask through the rain
She nods and reaches for the door
Lightning flashes across the dark sky

Sitting in the shadow of the backseat
Dark, wet hair hangs over her eyes
“Where to?” I ask, feeling a cold shiver
She points to a house way down the road

An awkward silence ensues
I can feel her eyes upon me
“Thanks for the ride,” she says at last
In an accent not from around here

Stopping the car in front of the house
I turn around to see an empty backseat
My eyes dart through the pouring rain
The woman in the white dress is gone…

I always thought it was a silly ghost story
Until that cold, rainy night in October
When visiting White Rock Lake in Dallas
Beware of hitchhikers walking in the night.


A poem by Jason S. Sullivan, 10-30-20


Notes
This poem is based on the local ghost story, “The Lady of the Lake.” There are several versions of the story, but it centers around a young woman who drowned at White Rock Lake in Dallas. I’m sure there’s a similar story in your part of the world.

It goes something like this. Good-Samaritan picks up a woman walking in the rain and offers to give her a ride home. Upon arriving at the house, the driver discovers that the woman is gone, but their car’s back seat is wet. The driver knocks on the front door. A man answers. The young woman who matches the description — the man’s daughter — drowned years ago at White Rock Lake.

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