Being with a ghost is hard. It’s tricky, navigating the pathways that carry the least number of rattling chains. I confuse him he says, just like the last few. They think they know themselves, then I come along. “Sometimes I want you to just leave me alone, but whenever I’m with you it all goes away and I’m just comfortable, you know? It’s weird. You’re weird.” He’s telling me this on his cell phone, attempting to be locked in some small room, his foot against the door to keep out his friends. I shouldn’t even be on the phone right now. You make me feel safe, I told him another night. He quotes me, “That’s what you do,” he says. Like you said and I said and he has no memory. No memory at all. It drains away daily. He tells me that he’s worried, that he’s scared, but he doesn’t say he loves me. That’s my line, spoken to the dark when he’s asleep, when he’s awake but not quite paying attention. He says I found him at a strange time. I stole him out into monogamy and being crazy just when his life started again, and he likes it, he digs me a whole lot, but he can’t shake the feeling of bad timing. The same you’re awesome but as everyone else. I can’t help it, this terrifying dream. I’m afraid this will end in another You Can’t See Me.
Fresh in my mind, his rambling nervous phone-call, scratchy over the line. I don’t think I could take that. I can feel he’s convincing himself of something, but not a decision I can quite access. The story hasn’t enough pieces for me to draw into words, there are gaps, milk-teeth spaces that I need to fill in. I told him I’d call at one. An hour and half, I’d said, to give him time to figure out where he’ll be. “Do you want to come over?” and Yes, in a small voice. A tiny admittal voice, one that’s scared of seeing where it’s been leading. Then, No, wait, I didn’t say that like that, though I did, and you know I did, and you know what that means. I just don’t want you barking up the wrong tree. When I called, he didn’t pick up.
Part of it is that he can’t figure out why I like him, not the way I do. I should be more upset or less patient, less accepting. He goes on about it. Not that liking him is all that strange, I’m sure he has the same sort of line-up as I do, ghost or no. I’d be surprised if he didn’t. No, he thinks his life is unusual, that his insides are crazy and strange. Well they might be, but I’m not in any position to see. I’ve learned over time that I’ve got blinders to socially abnormal behaviour that makes sense. Apparently most girls, they fade away, maybe in a musty cloud of arguements and perfume, when he’s not around as much as they want him to be. Me, it’s more than I have and almost as much as I need.