“Why do you keep following me?” Daisy asks. I jolt back. I don’t say a word. What can I say? It’s not like the living talk to the dead every day of the year. I look straight into his eyes without moving. “Hello?” Daisy waves her hands “Did you hear me? Why do you keep following me?” Again, no words form in my mouth. Would she even be able to hear me? No one else can. “What? Cat got your tongue?”
“No.” I reply. Something doesn’t feel quite right, but I’m not sure what the feeling is. It’s hard to tell your emotions apart when your heart isn’t beating. “Alligator, actually.” I correct, “Went fishing, that thing grabbed my leg and dragged to the bottom of the lake. Drowned, then got eaten.”
She smiles, “Sounds pretty gruesome. That’s cool.”
I raise an eyebrow, “I’m not sure you get it. I’m dead. Five-feet under. Actually, that’s not true. Scattered through the seven seas, more likely, since the police only found my bones.”
She drops her backpack on the side of the street and pulled out a notebook and a pen. “Wait, I need to get this down.” She shook her head, “This is such a cool story?”
“Cool story?” I exclaim, “I’m dead.”
“Yeah, you said that already.” She replied, “Tell me about the fishing trip again. This is awesome.”
“I’m pretty sure this is not how a haunting works.” I cross my arms, “How can you even see me? I haven’t been able to talk to anyone since I died.”
She touches the hearing apparatus in her ear, “It broke a couple of months ago and I began to mess around with it. Turns out, in a certain signal, I can hear ghosts.”
“What about the seeing thing. You do see me, don’t you?”
“Contact lenses, they fell into some chemistry thing my friend was working on a while ago. I cleaned them up the best I could but they can catch and refract other waves of light for some reason. I mean, you’re really fuzzy but I can see you.” She replied, “So are you gonna tell me about the boat or are you gonna answer my original question?”
“What was it?”
“Why do you keep following me?”
“I’ve been at this for ten years now, I tend to get bored.”
“Ten years?” Daisy laughed, “You’re a baby. You should meet the ghost in the library, he’s like 100 years dead. So you stalk ladies for fun?”
“Ladies, gents, anyone for that matter. I like watching people. I mean, what else is there to do?”
“Everything?” She replied, “Sneak into a play, haunt the president, walk across the oceans literally. You’re dead. You can do anything and no one can stop you.”
“Isn’t that a bit empty?” I ask, “Going alone around the world, doing everything but with no one to share it with, with no purpose or meaning? Making no connections?”
“Emptier than making fake connections with people who can’t even see you?”
“You can see me.” I argue.
“You didn’t know that.” She replies, “Yet you talked to me. When I was trying to go to sleep too. I didn’t appreciate that.”
“Why didn’t you tell me to stop?”
“Because I didn’t want to have this conversation at one in the morning, and judging by the things you were saying, I guessed you didn’t know I could hear you. I just took off the hearing aid and ignored you. But I did write what you said, you know, the parts that I listened to.” She flips through the pages on her journal and stops at the beginning. She reads, “I like your hair although it looks like a wet puppy when you get out of the shower, but not the cute ones, more like the ones that look sort of like mops. Do you think I’d answer to that?”
“To be fair, I didn’t think you were hearing.”
“It’s not my first haunting. I get it.” She replies, “But it has been my longest. How long have you been around? A month or so?”
“A month and a half.” He replies, “But why did you just decide to talk to me?”
“Last night?” She asks.
“No.” I shake my head. It can’t be. “You were asleep. I was sure of that.”
“I was but I forgot to take off my hearing aid. And then you started to talk.” She states, “If you feel frustrated and alone with me around, why do you stay?”
“Because I like you, ok?” I confess, “You’re curious and you know how to get into someone’s head and I think it’s pretty cool. I think that if I were still alive, I’d try to be your friend.”
“You know,” she flips through the journal, “I also wrote a couple of things I through about you. Here.” She stops and reads, “He keeps using humor as a way to keep himself from opening up, which I think is strange since he still thinks I can’t hear him. But when he stops, it’s really interesting. I think he’s still getting used to being dead. He seems like a good guy and I’d like to be his friend, but I don’t think it’s very wise to have a dead friend, not him at least.”
“Why is that?”
She brings down her notebook, “Because you now live a life where no one will be able to see you or hear you. If we become friends, you’re gonna cling on to me and cling on to life. I don’t think that’s healthy.”
“I’m dead. Nothing is unhealthy.” I argue.
“Not for your body, but for your mind?” she asks, “I don’t know what the psychology of a ghost is but I’m pretty sure you hurt just as a living person would. You already have troubles letting go of life. I don’t want to make it harder. I mean, why do you think you’re still here? A ghost?”
I stop. I never thought about it. I just thought it was the only thing there was after death. “I don’t know.” I mutter.
She puts her notebook back in her backpack, “Look, I want to hear your story, I’ll help you out. We’ll figure out what’s going on if you let me write about your death. And you can hang out in my dorm. But when we’re done, you leave and never turn back. Ok?”
I nod, “That sounds fair.” She stretches out her hand. Should I take it? Can I take it. I’m not sure but I want to try. I reach out. Our fingers touch but I can’t feel her. Her fingers pass right through mine. She wraps her fingers around mine as if they were air and slowly moves her hand up. I follow it. We imitate each other like a mirror without being able to touch one another.
“Could you feel that?” I ask. She shakes her head.
“That’s why you shouldn’t stay long.” She mutters. She zips closed her backpack and throws it on her back. “So let’s get this story out quick. Tell me, who were you?”
She begins walking and I follow her. I reply, “Someone I would like forget.”