When we first met, it wasn’t a big deal. Like one of those things that made sense- some kind of unexplainable, deja-vu sort of feeling. Like fate.
She was prettier than me. This I noticed immediately. Later, she told me all women noticed things like that about other women. Still, I couldn’t pinpoint why- what exact personality trait, physical or a combination really made her so goddam interesting. There was definitely something about her eyes. Clear as glass; the way that water is timeless. Cyclical and constant. As though we’d spoken a hundred, two hundred times before.
She didn’t mind that I wore my heart on my sleeve. My honesty to a fault.
It was in the middle of summer. The kind of sweltering heat that hangs over everything like a damp sheet. It’s hard to get away from. I sat in my empty, new living room, admiring the age of the hardwood floors. Stories hidden there in the cracks, dings. For some reason, several screws, bolted in tight. It made no sense. I liked it.
There was no wallpaper in this house. Also, there wear no doors on any of the rooms, save the bathroom and basement. The windows were ancient and dust and spiderwebs lined the trim of each room. The two door handles in the house had to be wiped of the dust that covered them; there were stories here.
Finally now, I was relaxing in my new place. I sat back on the old couch, taking in a deep puff of smoke. Hold. And then, a creaking. I let go of the plume of smoke slowly, focusing on breath. But this creaking; it happened again, everything else (which wasn’t much) nearby was only silent.
It was the attic, of course. I’d forgotten about that. How quaint. That was strange. What would be in the attic? Maybe it was a raccoon, I remember thinking. But no, there were no raccoons there- I’d made my real estate agent check before she left- make sure I was alone.The strange, twisted stairs which reached their way upward were practically an obstacle course stunt. But more over, there was no one else was in my house. And the creaking again, but this was definitely no raccoon- there was weight there, something larger.
I steadied my breath, still leaning into the couch with rusty springs. You could hear those, if you moved right. I wasn’t scared- that was the really strange part- and like I said, there was a deja-vu aspect that came into play.
A moment later, a girl stepped into the room from the hallway. I hadn’t been facing that way. I glanced to her.
“Hey,” she said, popping her neck quickly. Furiously. I was puzzled. My face must’ve shown it because she went on – “So you’re the new owner? Right?” She crossed the room as I watched, thinking, trying to figure out if my eyes were playing tricks on me.
“I am. Yeah.” I laid back on the couch, staring at the ceiling. Everything in me ached. It had been a long day. Long week. Long life.
“That’s great. You’ll love it here, I think.” She was moving about the kitchen, and finally once my thoughts came back to me, I sat up suddenly.
“Who are you, exactly?”
She seemed caught off guard by my question, and looked to me sharply. Bracing myself for the strangest answer I could imagine, she suddenly just laughed, easily. It was more of a giggle, a chuckle. She walked over sitting next to me on the couch. I waited for an answer, as she took the joint out of my hand and took a short drag.
“I’m May. I lived here a long time ago. Well, but I suppose I still do.” She handed the joint back, smiling. “Free rent.”
I blinked a few times.
“Are you a ghost?” I waited for her to laugh again, but she didn’t.
Hmmm. “What? No, like a real ghost. I’m just asking.”
“Right, a real ghost. Yes, I am. I knew what you meant.” She was tying her shoe now. “And I am.”
“Oh.” I turned away, taking another drag on the joint and mulling this whole idea over in my head. “Well that’s probably not true. I’m high, I mean, shit. Ghosts don’t just, tell you they’re ghosts. They probably don’t even know they’re ghosts.”
Suddenly she scoffed. I looked back, startled suddenly by her presence.
“THAT-” she said getting to her feet again – “is quite offensive.”
I sighed long, rubbing my forehead. “Well I mean, I am HIGH I could be just, completely imagining this because- really, ghosts…” I caught her eyes as she stood in front of me in the living room, stretching. A glare. I stopped. “Okay, I get it. May, nice to meet you. It really is. I’m Jane, and I just bought this house.”
May smiled then, winking. “Likewise.” She started for the front door.
“Wait, where are you going?” I asked quickly.
“Oh I’m going for my daily run,” she said, looking back at me halfway through the open door. “It gets boring being a ‘ghost.’ You’ve gotta entertain yourself however possible.” Sensing her sarcasm, I shot her a fuck you grin.
“By the way, I prefer the term ‘spirit.'”
And then she was gone again.
My ghost. My roommate.