Sunday Snippet, Ghosted by Bill Chance

“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas, Texas

Ghosted

“I haven’t heard from Elana,” Sara said to the ghost of her nephew Jimmy.

“Really? Did you expect to?”

“We’ve been friends for years. We used to meet for coffee almost every week and lunch on Fridays.”

“And now?”

“She ignores my texts.”

“She ghosted you.”

“Yeah.”

“That sucks. I would never do anything like that.”

“But you’re a ghost.”

“Sure. But still. I never liked that term. It gives us a bad name.”

“Do ghosts ghost people?”

“Well, eventually we move on. To another plane – hopefully higher, but sometimes not. If we have been visiting people, live people, ordinary people, that can come as a shock. We disappear. Like ghosts.”

“So you do ghost people. As a matter of fact, you ghost people inevitably.”

“Well, it doesn’t count. We have no choice. It’s always a surprise, unexpected, when we have to move on. That’s how it works.”

“So you are going to ghost me? You said it was inevitable. You just don’t know when.”

“I guess. I’m sorry.”

“You and Elena. Both of you.”

“Which one is worse? Who will you miss the most, me or Elena?”

“That’s a hard question. With you, there is that feeling of guilt.”

“Guilt? Because you were driving. That drunk hit the passenger side of the car. You never saw them. That’s not your fault.”

“I know. I know. But I feel guilty. I was driving. You didn’t want to go. I talked you into it.”

“You didn’t twist my arm.”

“Yes I did, a little bit.”

“What about Elena? Do you feel guilt for her too?”

“Why? Well, maybe. I must have done something wrong.”

“Maybe she just moved on, like I will some day. Living people move on too.”

“Moved on? What, moved up? Without me? How does that make it better?”

“Maybe she moved down.”

“That makes it even worse. And I am so lonely. You are the only friend I have left.”

“You need more friends. Living friends.”

“Finding new friends, now, today, at my stage of life… it’s impossible.”

“Your stage of life? How about mine? You need to get out there more. You need to do something.”

“What?”

“Anything. Everything.”

“I miss Elana. I miss her so much. Does she miss me?”

“I’m sure she does. I’ll bet Elana misses you even more than you miss her.”

“Will you miss me? Will you miss me when you move on?”

“Of course I will. Of course.”

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