The ghosts, they walk amongst us.
Shadowing us, hiding around corners waiting. A sudden laugh in a party, a glint in a stranger’s eye, a smell or sound that suddenly makes your pulse quicken and an ill chill finger itself up your spine and grasp your neck.
Maybe I have been too sure of late. Too certain, too stupid. Oblivious, unseeing.
That email conversation; that piece of agony and recrimination that I thought I had deleted forever from my inbox. I read the words slowly, pushing myself to finish it, hating every minute but needing to do it, like sucking at a bad tooth. The metallic taste of blood fills my mouth where I subconsciously bite my lip. My heartbeat quickens as a fog descends upon my brain and the whole world seems to slide on its axis and leave me reeling and nauseous, in a limbo of my own making. As it was at the time.
And I feel you, ghost. I feel you behind me, your hand heavy on my shoulder. You have found the box, the box inside my head where our words were laid to rest. You have prised it open, for I never locked it. Your words, as always, drown mine out. Your fingers, ice-cold with bitterness, pluck every innocent phrase, every plea, every apology, every ounce of love and respect in that conversation and scatter it before my eyes once more.
You laugh your hollow laugh with your cold, dead eyes and remind me of my wrongdoings, my failings, my flawed humanity whilst you move in to suck the certainty from my undeserving marrow.
Listen, ghost. Look. There is a storm coming.
Watch as the blue sky bloodies and bruises. Watch as the crows wheel and caw in the rising winds, circling, curious. Listen to the leaves sing out high in the waving trees, see them fall to the ground small and brown, then whip and twirl around my bare ankles and then rush ahead in their little chattering gangs. Either dancing, or afraid.
Hear the black dog howl.
And, over in the vacant plot, see the lone magpie peck and scratch amongst the nettles and the rubbish. Watch her hop amongst the discarded chip wrappers, the plastic bags that dance on the low, cold breeze. Watch her, and watch her well.
Walk with me a while, ghost. There is a storm coming.
Walk with me when the rain starts. Keep that heavy hand on my shoulder as my soaked hair whips my face and the cold rain clings. Walk with me as I raise my face to the bellowing skies to feel, to taste, to live each raindrop. To live.
Ghost, the storm will set me free.
Ghost, the storm will return you to where you belong, carried away with the howling winds along the rain-drenched slick black streets where I cried so many times for you.
But I will fear you no more.