by >>Jae

You see ghosts.

Not spooky, white sheet, booing Halloween ghosts or eerie ominous women in white, hands raised in warning. What you see are leftovers. Movements, motions, gestures made in the past - ten seconds or ten years ago - still hovering in the air, noticed by no one but you. They float between you and the world, action halted into memory. You think they look like drawings that haven't been filled in yet. They hang there, never finished, slowly fading, color and shape leeching out along with intent and emotion.

You stop drinking. You cut out all spicy foods and have Johnny add oatmeal to the rider. You ask your doctor artful oblique questions that leave both of you more confused than when you started. Finally you accept that you see what you see, and you do what you always do when confronted with a problem you can't solve. You study.

You read books about ghosts and banshees and haunted houses. You watch Rebecca twice. You think about the unquiet dead, spending eternity trying to do what was never done in life. The wailing voices in the wind that won't still until they're heard. You think about fulfillment and attention. You watch and you listen.

When JC leaves his bunk one morning a week after a fight with Bobbie, you see tears clear and crystal on his cheek. You lift your hand to brush them away and he sways toward you. Your fingers come back dry. You sit beside him, your body just touching his, and he pours out a tale of loneliness he has told you a thousand times before. This is the first time you hear it. You nod sympathetically and watch the tears sink back into his skin.

You walk through a door without knocking and back out abruptly, mumbling something about a forgotten book. Justin's eyes are startled, Chris' guilty. When you see them again, the silver imprint of fingers on Justin's jaw has been erased by the press of skin on skin.

Joey sits on the couch, a ghostly shadow circling his shoulders. Your arm fits perfectly into the outline, then curls closer. When he turns to look at you, there is a ghost of a smile on his face. You trace his lips with a careful finger. He shivers at your touch. You shiver at the strange chill of the mist beneath your hand.

When you kiss him, there is nothing between you but love.

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