morning ghosts

The weird dreams I have in the mornings before I really wake up have been mostly ghosts lately, all intricate conversations and this inescapable feeling of sadness before the cheerful tone on my cell phone's alarm clock goes off again, and I hit the snooze alarm again, but that ghost is gone. It's another one now. There's other problems, and I can't remember the tone of the sadness before, except that it was nothing like the new one. Everyone's problems are unique, I guess.

When I finally do wake up I'm surrounded by these shifting ghostly images, at the corner of my vision, lurking and flitting in the shadows of the morning. I can't avoid them as I eat my cereal at the kitchen table and try not to look at my girlfriend, who is always reading the paper and drinking coffee and is definitely not a ghost. There are no ghosts anywhere near her. They need me. I don't want to frighten them away.

The bright light and the heat of my morning shower drives them away for the day, but they come back for the morning. I often go the whole day without even thinking about it. I don't know what they want, or what I can do for them, but knowing me, I probably can't do much.

When we both get home my girlfriend and I drink expensive spirits and talk about our days. The ghosts never come up, even though we both know about them, and we both said we should talk more later on. There's so much going on with our lives. Why should we worry about some ghosts that keep haunting my mornings? They don't worry me, except like a friend worries me when she's going through rough times and I can't do anything to help.

And then we go to bed, much earlier than when we were young, and I don't think of the ghosts until I inevitably wake up in the morning, too early, too early. And every morning I think to myself: I'm going to be unbearably sad until my shower washes away the last memories of sleep.

I told my girlfriend, when we first talked about the ghosts, I didn't want to wash away their memories. And she said that was fair, I wanted to understand. We decided we'd make the most of those mornings. Neither of us mentioned that I could just skip the shower.

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