It’s a hazy September evening, the kind where the air is a warm pillow and the day passes slowly, like a wasp drunk on spilled beer. I step onto the busy pavement outside the office, insects trying not to sway into each other’s paths, when I see the top of Tom’s head sticking out of the swarm.
When we dated he was 24 and said the rest of his hair would fall out in a few years. I thought it suited him, but then he ghosted me and I thought it suited him even more, so much so that I keep refreshing his social media pages instead of celebrating their good riddance. He’s not interested but still I travel in circles, hovering around thoughts of our expired conversation. I send him a text denouncing his choice to ghost me, then immediately worry what he thinks of me.
Why are we so obsessed with checking up on ghosts?
“BASTARD!” The strangled scream falls out of my mouth before I have time to catch it. My hands flail in the air, frantic wings that thrash too slow. He sees me and covers his face, hailing a taxi from the road. He’s laughing as he gets inside and I stare at my reflection on the glass in shame, wishing the embarrassment would burn me like a moth in candlelight.
When I was 22, I was mortified that I had ever sent him a text, wishing I’d deleted his number and moved on instead. Why are we so obsessed with checking up on ghosts? Now I’m 26 and I know I should have been more concerned by what I thought of him, rather than worrying what he thought of me. He treated me with less respect than I deserve and it’s not embarrassing to call him, or anyone, out for that.