It was a Monday when I met the ghost. He was standing on the corner near my loft, kind of leaning on the air. He was a bit Silver Surfer, a bit old style hippie, but mostly not there. I saw him right away but didn’t understand how to see him. I got that no one else was seeing him, and that put me right into the realm of life shock that I inhabit much of the time anyway. Like when I was giving birth to my son…I kept thinking in the midst of God awful contractions: Am I really having a baby? As though I hadn’t gone through every moment of those 9 months.
So there was the ghost. I went as close as I could and brushed against him. His naked not-thereness silked across my forearm blooming sky-bluish on my skin. It rippled up my arm and sunrose in my chest like a reverse heart attack. I hadn’t been looking directly at him, but at that I jerked my head up to try and see his eyes. And of course he wasn’t there. The sky-blue ghost scrape was, though. People thought it was paint. I’m a painter so that seems logical. It’s nice when you can string some events together and make a coherent sentence.
The ghost bruise lasted a long time and it troubled my dreams, which are crowded already. Its sensation ran through my night narratives and I would wake up missing the missing. I would go out, stand on that corner and loiter.
One day as I was carrying groceries home he was walking next to me. He put one hand under my backpack and lifted up the weight. I was afraid to say any thing as there were a lot of people on the streets, and I wasn’t ready to go to the crazy lady talking to herself place, yet. He went the whole ten blocks to my door, then bowed away and there was only the sidewalk to see. The food in my backpack tasted really good, and the bunch of pale pink roses that had been in there, poking out, were now the most glamorous blue violet.
It all sounds very Tim Burton on a happy day, right? Talking to people had gotten a littleharder. I was always on the edge of saying: Hey guess what happened to me? And then knowing I just couldn’t go there. I have many fringe friends living the jury-rigged life,but I couldn’t get myself to say anything. There began to be odd pauses in some of my conversations. One day I was with an old friend who has somewhat of a bitter take on certain life tendencies. She was telling me how men held little interest for her now that the honey pot was gone. I demurred and brought up certain male friends of my own, suggesting that she might reconsider the interaction with the testosterone sector, at which she said: You’re so open minded the wind blows right through it.
The next time I saw the ghost he seemed much older. It made my arm ache and I wanted to hug him. I actually stepped forward to do it, almost colliding with a Mom and her twin stroller. As I reached my arms out he leapt through me and away, like an arrow that had pierced and then turned into a bird. I was standing in the middle of the sidewalk just beyond the Mom and the double decker stroller with his fog tickling my ears. It was terrible because I stared to cry, big luscious tears jumping out of my eyes, sailing past my face and sploosing on the ground. And they were ever so faintly blue. That’s when I knew my friend was right, except the wind had blown right through my heart.