I have not always been a ghost. Once I was Real. But somehow, over the years I lost the knack of holding myself together.
Each demurral and self-effacement caused the molecules of my being to loosen and dissolve, until the day I disappeared altogether.
In the early days of my un-being I haunted the rooms of my childhood home in a bewildered fog of disbelief. I desperately held onto the hope that it was just a miserable dream, that I would awaken from it relieved and that I would resolve to do more than merely exist.
But I never woke.
Now l wander, only casting the faintest of shadows, living off fragments of discarded dreams.
I finally abandoned the building I called home when it was demolished. It was there that I stumbled upon the castoffs that became my only sustenance.
They had collected, a bit like drifts of translucent leaves, in the corners of my rooms. Not knowing what they were, one day, I picked one up. It was a palm sized sheaf that had the consistency of candyfloss. I remember smelling it, it reminded me of stale bread. What possessed me to taste and eat it, I do not know. Before I realised what I was doing I ate three shreds. Appalled at my incomprehensible appetite I fled the room, intending never to return. But as time passed, the hunger that grew in me was impossible to dismiss.
Emptiness gnawed at me. It became an obsession that I tried to ignore. It pounded through me, like my heart once had. Until, in shameful desperation, I returned.
It was only after consuming the fifth consecutive piece that knew what it was that I devoured.
Once, as a child, I fancied that dancing was the most joyful thing to do. I spun and leaped through my days, feeling light and beautiful. Until the dancing lessons. There I was bullied and cajoled by my Teacher and my Mother, respectively, until a dark shadow invaded my soul. I had to do it this way, not that way. My steps had to be smaller, more controlled and in time with everyone else. I had to look like the other dancers, and move like them. One morning, at breakfast, warm toast on my plate, I tremulously begged my Mother not to make me go to lessons. Resistant at first, she finally conceded.
At first, I only consumed my own sloughed off hopes and wishes. Each one had a powerful poignancy and I wept for my young self. So many doors closed and forever locked. So much life denied.