It’s been a few weeks since our move, yet remnants of my old routine still nag at me – it’s as if my subconscious urges me to drive over the bridge, to catch up with the paths I had walked so many times before. I remember my last walk at the old place.
Truth be told, it haunts me.
I woke up to the street cleaner, just the way I had planned. I parked on the swept side to save a spot for the movers. It was a few minutes after 6:00 am. I grabbed bagels for the crew and was on my way back home for the last time.
“Hey,” he said, his voice disruptive like the street cleaners, garbage trucks, and delivery vans that mingled with morning’s stretch. I clenched the bag of bagels and hurried my steps in the cold. He walked right at me, his body contorted and dishevelled as if his bed-head ran clear to his toes.
He shouted it this time. “Hey!”
I relaxed when, as often was the case, I realized he talked to nobody in particular – especially not me. One would think I would have been used to it by then. I guess I wasn’t.
By the time he said “hey” again, he was behind me. I had caught a glimpse of his eyes, his pupils wide and unmoving as he passed. I kid you not, the fog was thick and I couldn’t help but think the homeless and mentally sick lurked in the city like ghosts – and that it would be an interesting book idea. That’s when I heard him again, yelling indiscernible nothings at the lamppost a few feet back.
He was following me.
I turned to face him. His eyes hadn’t moved; his pupils were laden with an intoxicated indifference. I stood, frozen, as he walked past me to where he had originally come from. He saw things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t ever see; he saw me as something else.
It was then that I realized I was wrong about the book idea. He wasn’t a ghost in our city, I was a ghost in his.
Categories: Creative Writing