Summer Nights, New York | 3

Saturday, June 28

All I can do tonight is begrudgingly open the door for the delivery guy. Thank you for my vegetarian panini. In the dark, the delivery guy and I meet with our eyes. He knows I could’ve just as easily walked downstairs and turned the corner to grab the sandwich myself, using my own two legs, but he thanked me all the same, because the tradeoff between my laziness and his job is those two dollars of tip. I gladly give him the two dollars, if that meant the only words I’d have to speak to another human that night was, “Thank you.” 

I turned off my phone so that I wouldn’t have to speak to anyone else, but no one calls me anyway. Half the time my phone is out of commission, the other half, I just don’t answer, so my friends have adapted to my ways. They don’t call. Tonight I turned down three social invitations through the means of text message. These invitations to these parties promised the world. Friends and strangers, seizing the night, soaking up what the city could offer. But these invitations were transparent to me. Behind the formal type and font, I saw the ghosts. Ghosts of people out and about on the streets, searching amongst other ghosts in some weird purgatory. 

No, I’d rather not be there. My ghosts are all here, confined to these four white walls with me. Along with us we have roasted vegetables and melted mozzarella, pressed between this European flatbread, glazed in balsamic. The only words I’d hear uttered tonight would be from yet another romantic-comedy. They’re trite and predictable, but I love them all the same. At least I know the ending, and it’s always happy. 

In these four walls, I feel safe, instead of the itching and the twitching that I feel whenever I think about leaving my room. Social interaction makes me tense. My body feels like lead, and the bathroom might as well not even be in the same apartment. I feel sick. My reality here is sideways. Getting up gives me a headache. The moon is too bright. Turn off the light. It’s cold. Put on socks. Lie back down. The movie just ended. Press play again because I want to be in their world a little bit longer. 

In their world, I’m just an observer. In this world I can be whole, watching from the sidelines. Outside of these walls, in my world, I have to act. Other people would have to watch me act and they’ll assuredly see right through: I’m transparent. Behind the doors I am whole. Inside these walls it’s just me and my ghost, laughing and playing, so joyful because at least, we can be who we are. We finally feel like ourselves. When it’s just us, there’s no one else. We have the kind of relationship that, when it’s just us against the brutal city, we are beautiful, but in any other external circumstance, we are mangled. No relationship exists inside just four white walls, and this one most certainly cannot. We know this is not healthy, yet we just can’t get enough. We keep walking back into this room, locking the door. Every time we say it’s the last time. 

Tonight, my ghost and I are in bed, intertwined, looking out the window towards the flickering city lights. Tomorrow, she whispered, I’ll let you go.

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