She remembered the feeling, like drinking cold water too fast. Unsure if it’ll come back up, but regretting the indulgence that led to this moment. Gut full of guilt. Why did she always overreact when it came to Liam? Why wasn’t she allowed to be happy? These are the questions ghosts will ask you when you’re down, when you’ve slept the night in your closet then schlepped to work still hungover, eyes weighty and puffed. The haunted body hurts, rumbling in the joints, ice pick in the stomach. Sylvia crossed the bridge and thought of Noah, nice Noah who had thought to invite her anywhere.
Sylvia had all the next day to talk herself out of the party. As sun set, she sucked on menthols and paced the balcony shared with the other smokers on her side of the building. It had a view of a brick wall. Inspiring.
“Do you two know each other?” Isabel’s little coins jingled on her skirt.
Sylvia was convinced this must be a setup. She had stumbled through this new city for months without recognizing a single face, seeing a single individual more than once. But here he was, the Man on the Bridge. Noah, rather. Now he had a name. Continue reading
Those deepest things you might never tell to your best friend somehow always come out to the Thoughtful Stranger, poised entirely out of your own context. First impressions make first derisions, but not with the Thoughtful Stranger. Sylvia found herself telling the woman with the perfect eyeliner much more than she intended: the truth. Continue reading
The truth was layered thick:
Sylvia did not know why she had left New York, or Liam. Her job. Weekends upstate where everything was bold and green, unlike here where the world withered into a faded brown.
“Give yourself some time. You’ve been there a day. Jesus.” Of course Liam was right. He always tried so hard to be.
“I’m so bad at meeting people.” Sylvia thought it funny: she had no recollection of ever meeting him. Liam had always been.
It had been at that greasy pizza place near Fort Lee, alight in fluorescent opulence, where she last saw Liam. Outside that pocket of majesty, the world was still and dark. Sylvia had sat alone, spinning strands of cheese around her fingers before biting the gobs off. Continue reading
They call it a haunting when a spirit attaches to a place and won’t let go. Sometimes, they say, it happens with people, too. Ghosts cling to the living, meddling in those things they’re no longer able to control. Everywhere you go, they follow.