fantome

The phantom was as much as blob as he was a gust of air. Whenever I saw him it was in the sense of putting the pieces together post facto, like how after sex or a trauma we narrativitze the few specks we’re sure of into a relatable story, replete with made up stuff like meaning and motive. He’d breeze by four, five times in an evening—always in my home, at night, and always right when my thoughts were turning bleak—and each time there’d be a very different sense of him that nonetheless felt distinctly like Him; he couldn’t have been just a memory or a windgust.

His face was all crust and pantomime. His hands were nothing but fingers and they only appeared when there was real trouble afoot. Thinking back now, trying to get a clear enough mental picture so as to describe him through type, all I remember is text. It’s like how when you read Ulysses or The Sound and the Fury for the first time and the lines of words are so very word-like and ropey. And then later, after a guide or teacher has explained what you were exposed to, your mental image is of actual pictures where the background are drawn ascii-style, out of typeface.

Or maybe it’s only me who reads like that, who can’t quite bridge the gap between immersion and mediation. Maybe I’m too much of romantic to dismiss the supernatural out of hand, but too much a product of my time to believe in ghosts full-bore, as see-through children who float above our beds at night and only give us kisses when we’re deserving.

I want to believe. But I can’t.

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