In Love With A Ghost

She’s sitting at the desk, chin resting in her hands, staring at the wall and thinking about something. Nothing too complex, I’d say. It looks more like she’s lost in some pleasant, warm memory of not so long ago. Every once in a while a hint of a smile gathers at the corners of her mouth. But the shadows cast by the moonlight keep me from making out any details of her expression. I don’t want to interrupt whatever it is she’s doing, so I pretend to be asleep, holding my breath and trying not to be noticed.

She’s got to be a ghost. First of all, she’s just too beautiful. Her features are gorgeous, but it’s not only that. She’s so perfect I know she can’t be real. She’s like a person who stepped right out of a dream. The purity of her beauty gives me a feeling close to sadness – a very natural feeling, though one that only something extraordinary could produce.

Haruki Murakami is one of the world’s greatest living writers, and he can give most of the dead ones a run for their money. In one scene from his Kafka On The Shore a boy falls in love with a ghost.

Love is a ghost that has haunted writers since the beginning of storytelling. If nuclear Armageddon doesn’t rain down on us, love will haunt writers and readers for millennia to come.

There is something ghostly about falling in love. All kinds of empty spaces are created by how little we can know about a person, even ourselves, and it is in the nature of love to fill empty spaces. We can peel back the layers of covering until we reach the sweet soft flesh but there is something else, inside the skin, beyond the skin, that draws our hearts out of their cages. And the ghost inside of the ones we love gives comfort to the ghosts inside of us.    

And then, without warning, the girl stands up and heads toward the door on her slender legs. The door is shut, yet soundlessly she disappears.

I stay where I am, in bed. My eyes open just a slit, and I don’t move a muscle. For all I know she might come back, I think. I want her to, I realize. But no matter how long I wait she doesn’t return. I raise my head and glance at the fluorescent numbers on the alarm clock next to my bed. 3:25. I get out of bed, walk over to the chair she was sitting on, and touch it. It’s not warm at all. I check out the desktop, in hopes of finding something – a single hair, perhaps? – she left behind. But there’s nothing. I sit down on the chair, massaging my cheeks with the palms of my hands, and breathe a deep sigh.

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