Ghost Story

In the nights before it fell apart for good, we’d lay parallel next to each other in the bed before falling asleep. He’d keep his arms tucked tightly under his chin, suctioned to his chest and oceans away from me. In the dark, I’d imagine him reaching for me across the sheets, maybe resting his hand on my hip or thigh, anchoring me to any bit of love or affection or kindness left in him. I’d pray into the silence for the weight of his hand to find me, to break the hex of loneliness and emptiness that had filled the house since he’d decided he couldn’t love me anymore. But it never did. And each night that passed left me feeling less and less corporeal. His apathy and resentment making me a spectre of myself. 

My mind is racing too far forward, slingshotting over the right now, this crisp autumn pain, and straight into Thanksgiving and Christmas. Superimposing their inevitable nostalgia onto Halloween’s present, too early. 

With their glistening lights and bell-timbre promises, the holidays never live up to my expectations of them. Halloween always does. 

But I’ve never felt so let down. 

The holidays feel heavy, like sleep. Halloween screams. 

But there’s nothing in me right now that feels like howling. 

It shouldn’t feel like this. I shouldn’t be burrowed and cold in my childhood bed, both hands wrapped around a mug of hot chocolate, a salve for being left. Georgia snow falling in October. My mom popping in offering cookies, despite my 30 years. 

I should be bobbing. Digging up graves. I should be dancing, haunting.

Instead, I’m haunted. 

Even here, his ghost is everywhere. Our former sweetness still rotting my teeth. Even here, the witch in me can’t stop chanting his name.

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