Childhood photo of the author as an angel sent to rescue dead people
When I tried to set up wifi in my new apartment, an internet service provider's customer service representative said I couldn't, because there was already an existing account in my apartment. Considering my apartment was vacant, I found this odd. I called my super, and he said the previous tenant had died without ever getting around to canceling her internet service. Did she die in the apartment? I wondered. Does this mean I will have a ghost roommate?
I spent the next several hours facebook stalking the dead woman—I was excited about possibly having a ghost for a roommate. I know that sounds weird, but I’ve always been drawn to death. I remember when I discovered what “death” meant, as a very young girl. One day running under the Caribbean sun at day care, I stopped in my tracks and realized: One day, I will be no more. Sophie will cease to exist. I then went into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror, knowing in that moment that this was me, but my vessel had an expiration date. What does this mean? I wondered. Who is this “Sophie,” and what will happen when her time on Earth ends?
Over 20 years later, I still have no idea what will happen when I die. I likely never will, but I still want to know. Perhaps that’s why I hoped my ghost roommate existed and she would become my new best friend.
Last night, as I slept on a sleeping bag because I didn’t have furniture yet, I imagined the ghost would be my aunt, and I would help complete the unfinished business she left behind that was preventing her from moving on. Eventually, I would perform a nice ceremony with candles. Despite being sad to let her go, I would send her on her way to the other side, knowing we had both grown from our relationship, like Bruce Willis and Hayley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense.
This week I went to a witchcraft store mostly for kicks but also somewhat seriously to see if I could conjure the ghost. (The Craft is my favorite movie. I’ve been waiting my whole life to do this.) As I walked into the store, an employee lit a candle to cleanse the space of negative energy and lingering spirits. I was amazed by the jars full of herbs, the black cats, and the bookcases stuffed with books on spells, zodiac signs, and tarot cards. I told the employee about my new ghost roommate, and then selected a blue candle and handed it to her to prepare for me. She asked me my name (Sophie) and zodiac sign (Scorpio) and told me to wait 20 minutes. I imagined her whispering some chants and adding some oils, but when she returned, the candle looked like a third grader's art project. She had etched a drawing of a house, my name, the Scorpio sign, and a pentagram into the candle, which wouldn't be weird except for the fact that the candle was also now covered in glue and copious amounts of silver glitter. If I was a ghost and someone tried to conjure me with that thing, I would just laugh hysterically and haunt their ass off for being such a dumb ass.
While unpacking I realized I had left my ghost candle at a friend's place. I couldn't perform a cleansing ceremony, but that's fine—obviously all the ghosts that haunt me only exist within my head. I don't know when I will die. I asked a Ouija board once when I was little, and the board said 2083. I suspect I may have been moving it myself because that is an awfully long life.
After realizing I left my candle behind, I slept alone with my cat in my sleeping bag. I have always been odd and a bit of a loner. As a young child I thought I could see ghosts, and loved dressing up as an angel. My parents grew quite concerned, because I would speak about my ability to jump off buildings or cliffs without anything happening—I would just fly away, I said. One time, before I could even walk, I jumped off my parents' very high bed, breaking my collar bone. Looking back, I wonder if my obsession with ghosts and immortality stemmed from the fact that I don’t want to die.
At the same time, I could really use a ghost in my life. I sometimes find myself feeling lonely, but despite my inclination toward solitude, I crave friends, sex, love, and companionship. Although I experimented with cliques in college, I've never had a large group of friends. It doesn't suit me. I am distrustful of humans and a bit paranoid, so I must find someone exceptionally special to let him or her in. The cocky way to define my limited close relationships would be to say that I am extremely picky; the truth is I am kind of fucked up. I fear that if someone gets close enough to me and learns all my quirks and fears, they will change their mind about wanting to become close to me. That's the appeal of a ghost friend: She's dead, so any odd behavior I display would be trumped by the fact that she's a fucking ghost.
But there is no ghost, and I must find contentment and strength in my solitude. If I don't, I could end up like the woman who lived in my apartment before me, dying alone and annoying the next tenant who has to spend extra time on the phone because some dead chick died before canceling her internet account.
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