When we first met I was still a ghost.
I expected nothing from the meeting. I thought I might briefly drift into your field of vision, startling you perhaps before disappearing like a dream. Ghostly encounters can be uncomfortable but are soon forgotten, after all.
We sat. I remembered how to be real and we joked and talked and even drank tea together, but soon it was time for me to be a ghost again and I left, supposing that I would be instantly expunged from your memory.
I was surprised when you summoned me back from the wispy fragment of the dream which I was inhabiting. I came cautiously but gladly, becoming corporeal once more and staying a little while, revelling in the wholeness of your vision, enjoying the sun warmed laughter. When I left this time, I smiled but still determined to leave the memory behind. Memories hurt ghosts.
Being a ghost is not unpleasant. It can be lonely circling the periphery of consciousness but when I was real I was often lonely too, even though I might be surrounded by other people. When you are a ghost there are no expectations, either from the real people or from yourself.
You conjured me again and again. Each time I became a little more solid, each time it became harder for me to revert to being a ghost. Each time I fully expected for you to forget me, to spend your time with real people, even as I found it more difficult to return to my otherworld. It seemed though, that you did not realise that I was a ghost.
The fact that you could see me brought solidity to my life but also anxiety. I was not sure that I wanted to become real again, but slowly, slowly; I could feel my bones, my muscles, the air in my lungs, my blood and skin and hair and nails. All of me, becoming.
It was an adventure this new life and I determined to enjoy it but to not take it seriously. In spite of this though I became reliant on your validation; I had after all learned to look at myself through your eyes.
Once I was no longer a ghost though you stopped looking for me, at me. Your interest waned, your eyes glazing over when I was in front of you, and you started to glance away, to the lives of the other real people. My newly found confidence began once more to fray at the corners and I noticed the unraveling, even fighting against it.
I began once more to haunt the shadows, to pursue my solitary wandering, and before I knew it, I was a ghost again.
I glance at a mirror and see only an empty room reflected back at me.
Now you have started to conjure me once more, to call me from the gloaming, but I am reluctant to leave the warmth of nothingness these days. I answer if called but I do not become fully real, and I avoid looking too carefully at the trinkets you show me. I carefully present to you a facsimile of what you think I am. My edges are no longer defined, my boundaries are amorphous, ephemeral.
Your reality is not mine; you show me your joy and I am happy for you. I am glad that you hold something in your life which matters to you as I once thought that I mattered.
You are a jewel shining brightly. I am drawn to your coruscating brilliance, but it is a cold fire and will not warm my transparent flesh nor will it quicken this homeless heart. I will keep a safe distance; not dreaming, not being, and while your sun shines elsewhere I will gratefully accept the night as I once longed for the day.