The Ghost II “Nobody believes you when you see a ghost. Especially while you’re in the middle of making a love declaration to a woman you have just met on the tube a few minutes ago. You know, instinctively, that she will not be impressed. Chances are she will probably run away before you even get to the end of your love outpouring. Still, now that you’ve taken that path, there is no going back and you keep on the subject as you feel yourself being sucked deeper and deeper into the crater you have just created for yourself. As you are sucked in, you get to see the object of adoration in details, from the top her head, where she has tied her auburn hair in a severe bun; to her beautiful greyish eyes, shining behind her retro trifocal oval glasses; her full mouth, that you know you’ll spend the rest of your life regretting you never got to taste; her long and delicate neck half hidden by her flowery silken scarf; down to her majestic bosom that is far from sagging, you can tell, you know these things, no matter how many layers of clothes are covering it; her stomach; her hips; her long legs; until your eyes finally get to rest on her shoes, oh, those red pumps on stiletto, which prompt you to shout ‘amen’.” “All those promised treasures going to waste because you could not resist and started the ghost thing.” From where he now stood, he could see the train coming in the station, the hundreds of shoes walking past him, rushing for the train. All kinds of shoes, with or without straps, with or without laces, dirty and full of mud shoes or shining ones, leather, rubber, boots, some sandals also, everything really. It was rush hour. He was rushing home, even though he had no reason to rush. He had nothing or no one waiting for him at home. Still, everyday he found himself overpowered by the general atmosphere: everyone else was rushing. As if they all had someone waiting for them, as if they all had somewhere they urgently had to reach, and so, he too, would find himself rushing. Silly, really. Today was different. He stood behind her in the queue to the machine validating your ticket and giving you access to even more rush. He might have never noticed her had her ticket not gotten stuck in the machine. At first he was annoyed. Of course he would be. There is nothing more annoying than having queued for over five minutes already, totally sandwiched between total strangers, to realize, just as you are about to be liberated, that you picked the wrong line. At that moment, we all tend to make the same calculations: first we despair about our poor choice, then we turn around to evaluate how many people are behind us, and how many will get in front of us if we switch line. Finally we check the state of the other queues, and that is when we get really depressed, even if we are not a normally depressed type of person, because they always seem faster! So there he stands, evaluating the line behind him, disintegrating. He is on the verge of entering the foreseen depression, when he feels someone tapping his forearm ever so gently. He turns around and the first thing he notices are her pink gloves, matching her pink lipstick. He sees her talking to him, asking him for his help, while he is still in the middle of his life threatening evaluation, but she insists. She is now pulling him closer to her. Not really closer to her, as a matter of fact, rather she is pulling him closer to the machine, but the path is so narrow they are now touching. That is when it happened for him. It is at that very moment that he stopped evaluating and rushing and started smelling and feeling instead. He was so close that he could freely and effortlessly smell her delicate musky-ambered scented perfume. As sweet as a chocolate melting slowly in your mouth except it is musk and amber. So because he is a man, and a gentleman, and because she smells so good and he is smitten, he helps her out. He manages to remove the stuck ticket and hands it over to her. She tries using it again. It works, she smiles. He walks through after her, as a hero. What a coincidence, they are headed in the same direction, they are taking the same train. They walk together, oblivious of the rushing passengers surrounding them, of the noises, of everything. They have entered a new dimension. They are in a parallel world, strolling leisurely towards some paradisiac place. Everything is so perfect he has tears welling up in his eyes. She stares at him with such adoring puppy eyes. He will protect her forever. She deserves that much. He will never let her down. He will never lie to her, he will not hold anything back, he will tell her everything, they will share everything, and that is exactly when his problems started. That is when his ghost came out. And the minute he told her about his ghost, he knew the spell had been broken, they were back on the quay, rushing for the train, surrounded by a hurrying crowd, where everyone had somewhere to go, where everyone had someone waiting for them at home. Everyone but him, but he was rushing anyway. Conform. Always conform. He was almost totally swallowed up now when he felt a soft hand touching his head. She was still there. She was still smiling at him as she pulled him back up. Together they entered the carriage of their train. He was a hero.
(August 27th, 2013)
Alex S David