My ex’s ghost begins to haunt my apartment a week after the break up. I spot him sitting in
our the breakfast nook, sunlight falling like dust through his torso to the rumpled rug in front of the small table. He’s staring out the window, parts of him fading in and out of view.
“No,” I say, grabbing the counter in case my suddenly weak legs betray me. “No.”
He turns and smiles at me with the weight of the world in his eyes.
I grab my cell phone from the pocket of my sweatpants and call him. One ring. Two rings. Three.
My hand tightens around the edge of the counter until I can hear my bones scraping together. “You ass. You don’t get to do this to me. Make it go away.”
He’s silent for a long moment. Then he sighs. “My ghost?”
“Yes,” I say. “Get rid of it.”
“You know that’s not how this works,” he says.
“I’m the one who’s supposed to haunt you,” I say. “You broke up with me. That’s how this is supposed to go. So stop.”
Stop or come back.
But he doesn’t say anything else before he hangs up.
I turn to scream at his ghost but, like him, it’s gone.
“He’s one of those,” my sister says knowingly. She sounds far away and tiny over the computer’s speakers. “You better be careful. Sometimes they don’t leave.”
I consider my cup of cocoa. She’s holding a matching cup half a world away so that they’re connected. I wonder if she’s foregone her usual shot of baileys this time. “What do I do then?”
“Try to move on anyway,” she says. Behind her something peeks around the kitchen doorway and is gone before I can make out who. My sister’s been drinking for a decade and hasn’t once talked about quitting.
“Right,” I say and imagine the poor quality of the speakers hides the hollowness in my voice.