I put down my last bag in the middle of the wooden planked floor. I still didn’t know where all the light switches were, so the moonlight provided some assistance in seeing. I took a moment to take it in. After a a sigh half of relief half reality setting in, I took from my canvas grocery bag the little bottle of prosecco my girlfriend had given me with the instructions not to open it until the time was right– and I would know when that time was.
I took it with me to the roof, not bothering with a glass. I wouldn’t have been able to locate one anyway. It was a foggy October night. Cold enough for a sweater, not yet a jacket. I stared across the East River at Manhattan, barely glittering in the evening haze. You’d warned me that you wouldn’t be around this month. I tried not to take it personally, but I’d be lying if I hadn’t hoped that you’d be a beautiful surprise. There for me when I’d needed a word of encouragement, a reason to push through when I was exhausted.
I made the move all on my own. I moved everything I’d lived with for the last four and a half years across the bridge in hopes that once things settled, you’d be a part of this new adventure. This new home. This next chapter.
It’s funny how a home can be haunted by ghosts who never lived there. Deceased memories of moments that never even happened. Deaths of “could’ve been.”
But you never showed up. I don’t think you even asked how the move went or if I needed any help. So, when a real ghost came back to haunt me, I let him back in. He asked how I was every morning. Told me goodnight every evening. He came without me having to call. A ghost took your place, but you’ve never stopped haunting me.