Ghost Writer

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Everyone has a story, even those departed souls the world has forgotten, but that does not mean they no longer want to be told, or that they don’t have ways to make us listen...

She always writes at night. She likes the dark and the chattering of nocturnal airwaves . The glow of the lamp on her desk is enough to illuminate the keys on her old-fashioned typewriter. She has been working like this since she was eight years old, when she published poems about the changing seasons in local newspapers. She is far more than a writer now. She is a ghost writer. She knows every secret of the craft, hears every word spoken between the lines. All words must pass between her fingers. But to most of her friends and relatives she is just a housewife tinkering with a typewriter. Some have read her words without knowing it is she who has written them. But none has ever seen her face behind the words.

Her machinery is operated by skeleton editors. Most of them are in bed, and she can have the night and its stories to herself. This is when she is happiest. When she is alone with the clock-ticking voices of ghosts, sending their messages of sleepless breakups and desperate pleas of forgiveness through the invisible sound box of the night. One such voice is speaking right now. She calls herself Matchmaker.

Things always sound different at night. Voices too. They are passed between silences. The writer’s fingers move with the stillness and listen in the pauses between, summoning the invisible images by words of her own choosing. The Matchmaker is made beautiful. She is really. In a curios kind of way. She requests that her story is given a happy ending. She does that quite often. There must be someone to giver her that at least. And the writer types. “Are you there?” “Yes, ” replies the Matchmaker. ” I am here.” She types. The words bounce off her fingertips. They mark the blank page like black scars echoing a life that once were. “What do you think will happen?” The Matchmaker questions the writer. The voice takes on a different form:

I was brave when I lived. I put things together. It was something like enchantments, I weaved their threads around each other. It was their destiny, I just helped completing the tapestry. Of course, it wasn’t quite reality, most people find it difficult to see the world of other people. But I knew. I saw their faces. But I never let them see mine. I was born with an open cleft. My parents could not afford the operations, so I never learned to talk, and I had to hide behind veils. I knew there was no match for me. But it was okay. I had the voices for company, telling me to make things right, to bring two lights together to make something shine again. Have you ever wondered what happens to light that stays apart? It remains small, like an island, until it fades and disappears into labyrinthine corridors of space. Space and time. Until it is quite forgotten. Not like me. I took a different path. Did you know that owls have night vision? You probably do, it is quite common knowledge. I had light vision. No, I don’t mean that I could see in the daylight, most people can. I mean that I could see the tiny threads of light that connect us all, and I helped stitching together the places that were broken or torn. I brought a boy his lost toy. I reunited a grandmother with her lost granddaughter, but yes, as you probably have guessed, it was the lovers that took up most of my time. Sometimes I even had to mend time. But when my own turn came. I was helpless.

I know, I said there was no match for me. I was wrong. I met him in Central Park one afternoon. It was snowing and I was happy to hide my face in a blue muffler. There is an old wooden bench there, just beneath one of those old-fashioned lampposts next to the bridge, the seat is broken so no one ever sits there. No one but me. I come to feed those hideous pigeons. And on that snowy day that is what I did. Tossing crumbs to pigeons I did not notice him at first, until he sat down beside me on that old broken bench. “Damn snow,” he said and sneezed. I jumped and all the pigeons flew away in a cloud of feathers and crumbs and gray dust. He looked at me startled. “Didn’t mean to scare you there, love.” I looked back at him accusingly. His eyes lowered and fell down at his ungloved hands, “Sorry.” I shrugged. We sat in silence for a while. Strangers normally do. “Can I take you out for coffee?” he suddenly asked. I was caught off guard. Nobody had ever asked me out before. Suddenly the weather changed. The snow stopped falling. And then, the light. A thin silver thread reaching from his hands to my throat. Connecting us. And I knew what I had to do. I nodded. He took my hand and we left.

That was the first of many coffee dates. I was amazed. He never once asked me why I didn’t talk. I used my hands to communicate. Made up my own language. And sucked my cold coffee out of a straw the way I had learned to. He never questioned that either. His eyes were blue most days, but they changed with the weather. On sunny days they were deep brown and golden, but that winter was a cold one with hard snowfall. And his eyes remained blue. “I think it is going to be a wet spring,” he said one day. We were sitting by the window in my favorite coffee shop, Lalu, the one with all the fairy lights. He opened his hands and the clouds parted. He reached for mine. I hesitated. He smiled, “it’s okay, love, it’s me.” That was the first time he touched me, and I could feel the threads spinning, growing stronger, attaching us to the tapestry. The park outside blazed with color. I realized that it was time to end this little game. I had had my fun, it was time to face the music. Slowly I unwind my muffler, just a little bit, just for his eyes. I studied his face as I revealed my secret. But it did not change. Either he was a good actor, or….no….it was not possible. How could anyone love me? “Look,” he said, ” there is something I haven’t told you.” He stiffened. Here it came. That which always had to come. The rejection. ” I am not who you think I am, or who I appear to be.”

My hands stopped unwinding. Was this about him? Had he pulled some awful prank on me? Around us fairy lights danced on the twilit window and the rising moon glittered on the frozen lake. Light snow fell, softly, like comfort. ” What I am about to tell you will sound crazy,” he said. I nodded. I was prepared for anything now. But I was wrong, nothing could have prepared me for what he was about to say. ” I wondered if you suspected, but how could you. You just seem different. Like me. But how could you be? I am old, forgotten, I live in tales and myths only. You are so young and vibrant and so full of….light.” I stared at him, what was he saying? He wasn’t old, he looked my age, and what did he mean by light? Could he really know? No, that was impossible. ” I have felt scattered for so long. Unable to collect my parts, then you came along with your beautiful sliver threads.” I startled. He knew. He saw the surprise in my eyes and smiled. “Yes, love, I see them too.” He hesitated. Paused. Took a few sips of coffee. He looked nervous. Outside the twilight had turned into night and the ice skaters had gone home. “Refill, sir?” It was the waiter. “Ma’am?” I nodded. He did the same, and our cups were topped up. Then it came: ” I am one of those old gods nobody talks about anymore.” He stared into his coffee cup. His fingers were all in knots. Around us people were talking softly, the waiter kept filling up coffee cups, the cappuccino machine hummed loudly. Regular things happening. Thing that had nothing to do with us. I didn’t know what to think. In a weird twisted kind of way it made perfect sense. It explained everything about him. I raised my hands to my face, removed the muffler and smiled for the first time in my life. He smiled back at me, and little sparkles rose from his lips. ” Come, let’s go for a walk.” He took my hand and we left the coffee shop. “Can we do this again?” he asked. I put my hands on his face and the knots were tied. Silver threads sprang from my body to his. We laughed. We laughed. And our bodies joined together and the tapestry was complete. The stars took us back then, and the night embraced our light, and he looked at me and said: “Welcome home, love.”

She always writes at night. She likes the dark and the chattering of nocturnal airwaves . The glow of the lamp on her desk is enough to illuminate the keys on her old-fashioned typewriter. The Matchmaker is silent now. Gone most likely. She had her story. The writer seals the envelope with her story inside. Puts it in the red mailbox next to the old-fashioned lamppost. It is snowing, even though it is April. The roads are frosted dusty white. There are rises and falls like cream on a wedding cake on the waysides. The lamppost casts a soft yellow shadow. The wind is still and the snow comes together under her snow boots. The next day a publishing company opens the envelop and emails it to their most celebrated author. She responds right away: Great! Love it!

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30 thoughts on “Ghost Writer

  1. This is a wonderful story Trini. i got hooked from the begining. The story unfold in a magnificient way. There is a lot for us between your lines. Love flowing to you from Paris.

    • Oh, thank you so. So much!! This is my favorite comment on my stories! Yes, there are many tiny stories hidden within, I love that you felt that!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

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