“What’s wrong, Stella?”
Anne’s voice brings me out of my thoughts of superiority and makes me feel weak again.
“A boy is following us,” her aunt answers.
Anne turns her head to look behind. If she could see me, she’d be staring right at my face. As it is, I am invisible to her.
“No one is behind us,” she says.
“No one you can see. But he’s there, trust me.”
I want to scream at the woman and tell her to shut up. Even though I’d like Anne to know how much I like her, this isn’t the way I’d like to handle it.
“Aww,” Stella says. “I can feel his feelings.”
Now I’m really freaking out. I’ve always kept to myself, never revealed to anyone my innermost thoughts, but Stella seems to be able to pick them up like bread crumbs on a trail.
“He’s shy,” she continues apparently reading me as I’m thinking. “Oh..and I thinks he’s smitten with…”
“Stella, don’t do the ghost thing anymore, please.” Anne is very unnerved, looking all around her in a small panic. “You know they creep me out.”
Oh great, I was a creeper when I was alive, and even more so now. It’s just my luck. The one girl I’ve been crazy about and she doesn’t like ghosts. There must be a group of angels on a cloud somewhere having a smoke and a laugh at my expense.
Stella is smirking. “There’s nothing to be creeped out about, Anne. They are just like you and me, except dead.”
“Stella, stop it!”
“Okay, okay. I got it! No ghosts…”
She turns to me. “Hear that? She doesn’t like you. Now please buzz off!”
They are heading for the front doors. They are leaving. I don’t want Anne to go. She seems to be my purpose in all this. Everything I think about now leads to her. And I feel like Stella is taking her away forever.
I had a similar feeling last Summer at the Vans Warped Tour. Anne had been there with some of her friends. I had been there with…well, my dad. He had no interest in punk or emo, but his favorite 80’s rock band The Alarm was on the tour this year, so he decided to embarrass me to no end by insisting we both go. I’d wanted to go anyway, but to go to a music festival with one’s dad means you won’t be catching the eyes of any girl. You’ll just seem like a bigger loser than you actually are.
So anyway, The Alarm were onstage singing about love, hope, and strength, and I was trying to stay close to Anne and her friends, so I could work up the nerve to go and talk to her. It wasn’t like the time when I wanted to catch her at her locker and lay a kiss on her. That was a silly notion. No, this was more serious and not so pushy. I wanted to just introduce myself, see if she knew me, or had heard of me, anything to open the door and hopefully step into her world. But it hadn’t worked out. While I had been distracted by the band, and my dad’s very poor attempt at rocking out, she and her friends managed to disappear into the crowd. I ditched dad and walked through the crowds the rest of that day seeking for some kind of sign of her. I never could find her amongst all the screaming music fans, but hours later as I stood at the front gates, I spied her out in the parking lot. She was leaving the venue, moving away from me and every opportunity I would have. In desperation, I tried to call her name. But she couldn’t hear me. Just like today as I watch them go through those front doors and into the sun. Anne doesn’t even look back.
Today my determination is stronger than at Vans, though. I follow them through the door. Or at least I try to. I don’t quite make it. I can’t step over the threshold. There’s something there stopping me. It’s nothing I can see. It’s like an invisible wall, an impenetrable barrier that won’t let me go no further than the doorway. I try to get past it, or go around it, but I can’t. I beat my fists against it, raging at my apparent imprisonment. For some reason I am trapped here. Stuck in school forever.
I watch them go across the parking lot. Tears are welling up in my eyes. Part of it is sadness to see Anne leave. But another part is anger at my predicament. I lean against the invisible barrier, hoping someone will at least see my frustrated tears running down it, as if ghost tears are visible or something.
They get in Aunt Stella’s car. It’s a paisley VW beetle with a bumper sticker that reads: Co-exist. Yeah, like we can co-exist, the live and the dead. We have our own separate rules, and none of them seem to be compatible with the other. I wish I was dead. Just stone cold dead. Not existing on another plane like this. But I wish to be nothing. For my mind to be turned off so I can no longer have these human, living emotions. They seem worse now that I’m spirit and can’t do a thing with them. Maybe I shouldn’t even be chasing after Anne like this. Perhaps I need to let the notion go that I could be something to her.
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“Ghost Boy Blues” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.