the apparition (400)

there’s a ghost outside my bedroom window.

he likes to appear on rainy afternoons, and just after the last dregs of the storm have cleared. by daylight he’s a trickster, showing up in the reflection of the mirror before he is gone, disappearing as quick as flicking a switch.

sometimes, i think he has been sent to drive me mad.

some times, i’m angled at my desk, just right to be looking out the window through my peripheral vision and he appears, lingers for a few moments.

“why do you come here,” i ask the mirror, and it just hangs limply on the wall. if the light reflects off it just right, and i unfocus my eyes, i could almost think i was looking at the moon. the curtains are open, but the lace one hangs before the window and provides no secrecy from the apparition.

he tips his hat and slips away. there’s a break in the fence from where the wood has warped over years of thunderstorms and sun-exposure, and i’m convinced it makes disappearing easier for him. he’s the only one i have seen around in two decades, but the neighbours have never noticed him.

(is the neighbour the ghost?)

i hang heavier lace-netting curtains in place. it’s harder now to see inside, and twice as hard for me to see outside when the sun is blazing over the top of the other neighbour’s house.

inside, the hours roll over to midnight, and the building squeaks, floorboard creaking and windowpanes groaning. every secret i have is stored in this house, but with him sneaking around there’s no guarantee they will stay hidden. he gets to keep his secrets and collect mine.

maybe he goes away and trades them with a society of ghosts.

there’s no reason to his appearances either, but then again maybe he doesn’t need logic. he has limited-edition secrets in his pockets, lining his hats and keeping the gap in the fence.

sometimes when he leaves, there’s a shade of a footprint on the path.

one day there’s a new neighbour moving in. they back oversized moving trucks into the driveway – which suddenly looks too fragile to handle it – and unload furniture. it’s a noisy process and the apparition comes to watch.

he stands, hat in hand, and salutes the new homeowner. they don’t see it.

(later they come over: who was that?)

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