The last remaining part of a person, long after the physical body has left the room, is the ghost. A gust of wind, a soul searching for sacred halls, a will to live on or a desire to escape. The ghost is the last indestructible part of the person, looming in little things that earlier would attract no attention. But the fallacy is thinking that the person has to die for its ghost to roam the room. A soul can be split by the smallest of actions and left spread out over the world as tiny monumental reminders of who was once here, even as the person lives on in some other place. It was one of these living ghosts that I trapped in my room.
Now, the thing about all ghosts is that they don’t announce themselves when they’re left behind. They wait for you to find them. Nothing dramatic happened here, no murder, no crime, we just left the room, and I came back alone, everything seemingly exactly as we left it, no immediate difference to be noticed. But still your spirit hung in the room, like the dampness of a wet jacket; indiscernible until you touch it. It wasn’t until I started preparing food that I realized it. There was something more here. Something else. Someone else.
The conversations started all by themselves. I no longer recall who spoke the first word, but the ghost and I came to talking. About the world, the food, the plans ahead for us. I started feeling as if you had never left. The ghost would follow me around all day, from when I lay lazily in bed, trying to drag me out, until I went to bed again, tugging in close to me and whispering in my ear. I neglected my rational sense apart from a nagging thought wondering how you could disappear so incompletely.
As the days wore on, the ghost became as much a part of me as it was of you. I started wondering if my soul had split partly into a ghost as well, following you, since I could make room for your ghost inside of me. In my craze I started treating the ghost like the real you, offering it food, trying to look deep into its translucent eyes and searching for a hand to hold on to. I never noticed how insane it all was, to love a ghost as more than a ghost. I just felt it. And the feeling was real, the belief just wasn’t.
One night I woke up bathed in cold sweat, and I couldn’t feel the ghost beside me, as I had gotten so used to over the past weeks. Its weightless body’s weight on my bed suddenly lifted, and I threw open the blinds to let the moonlight in, its beam casting a white wave of light into the room, revealing anything there and not there. But little did I see that could be used to figure out where the ghost had gone. Not even its disappearance could be seen.
In the morning I went looking at all our favorite places, both inside the room and out in the world. I went to our parks, our shopping malls. I went through the kitchen cabinets and out to the open fields. Even though we shied away from beaches, I still turned over each and every stone searching for traces of you. But little did it matter. A ghost is a ghost until it’s gone. Then even the ghost turns into mere memory. But what is a memory if not also a ghostlike representation of the world as it happened. What is a memory if not an excuse to stop making new ones.
I packed my necessities and boarded a plane. If I couldn’t find your ghost, then maybe I could at least save you from mine. And maybe, just maybe, I could finally exchange my haunted memories for a real life if I could rediscover you.