- She scribbled her icq number on my hand that night at Industrial Ave and I knew it would sweat away before I got home so I kept studying it, trying to commit it to memory... soon the number wore away and the noise and alcohol made it a jumble in my head, 7s, 52, 9s, 8s, a mess. 10 years later I woke up from a dream and the number was clear as morning light and I burst to my notebook and wrote it in then turned on my laptop and downloaded icq again and got a new number- signed up for a new account and messaged her, messaged the number, sent the message saying it was me.
- I waited with held breaths and my eyes really seeing the sharpness of the screens pixels. The icq client said she was typing a message and then it came up "yes i remember you. i've been waiting long... meet me at industrial Ave at midnight".
- The streets were wet and the streetlights glistened on them. Dead leaves swirled with the wind, scurrying and scratching against the pavement like big spiders. I brushed my hand against the chain link fence that seperated the street from the dark weed ridden lots and my fingers would slightly catch on the bending wires. I spit my gum towards the slatted gutter and it rolled across it and then down into the sewer. usually I would think about how if I do this enough times - spit enough gum into this gutter - eventually it would clog the sewer and they would have to climb in there and scrape it all out. But tonight my mind was elsewhere. My shoes were tied tight and I walked across the broken sidewalk tiles and the unbroken all the same.
- I reached Industrial Ave and she was there under a street light with her back towards me. she was wearing the same long brown coat that she wore when we first stepped outside and shared a cigarette together. My footsteps punctuated the night noise of transport trucks in the distance rumbling past prowling taxis. Some metal thing somewhere squeeked back and forth in the wind. I could see her breath as she exhaled under the light and it wisped away into the darkness.
- She turned and smiled at me and pulled me into her and we kissed. Her lips were wet and warm and her nose cold. "I'm sorry it took so long" I told her. "It doesn't matter, we're here now", she said. I looked at my palm and saw the ICQ number there again as if she had just rewritten it. She took my palm and pulled me away from the streetlights and into the dark of an old storage building. The door opened and the interior space was lit only by Christmas lights and the monitor of an old desktop. A winamp playlist was playing trance mp3s on tinny sounding speakers. This place was such a memory to me, so ancient and so familiar. We took turns drinking from a bottle of Crown and chasing with ginger ale. We smoked cigarettes and I squinted at the Christmas lights and made them blur in my drunk eyes. They doubled and trippled and spun and I looked away always just before beginning to feel nauseous.
- "Are you a ghost?" I asked her. She laughed and said "yes, I've always been a ghost - and so have you". I felt a surging panic but also a deepening comfort. I sank downwards into her couch and my eyes searched for any light from outside of the windows, there was none. "I don't want to be a ghost", I slurred out from the couch. The trance music was pounding my eyelids further down and down. I saw her look at me and speak "but you are - you always were". I envisioned myself laying down into the weeds in one of the empty lots behind the chain link fences, into a cool sandy pit and being slowly buried alive as the moon and stars shining above chose to abandon me, the last pile of dirt shortly afterwards covering my face, my eyes. I could taste the Crown coming up in my throat and I stumbled quickly out of the couch and into her coffee table - spilling both empty bottles and ash filled bottles onto the floor and upon my feet. She stared at me with shock as I scraped the sides of the room looking for a door. In desperation I hammered my hand against one of the windows and the glass broke like the thin ice of a winter sidewalk puddle. I shook the glass out of my hand and blood dripped down into the floor. I saw the blood and laughed - because I realized that ghosts can't bleed. She was next to me and as I grabbed the window sill and pulled myself through it she looked filled with immense sorrow and said "You can never come back".
- I fell through the window and rolled down a hill, hitting tree roots and rolled across a rough pallet that stuck slivers into my back. I landed in a ravine and crawled through the dark growth and the wet decomposing ground. I came upon a bed of gravel with brown iron train tracks on it. I heard the trains horn in the distance and the rumble echoing down through the iron. Soon the train shot past with a tremendous unstoppable force, the cabin lights blurred together and the world went out of focus around it. After the train had passed I reached for the tracks and put my hand upon it and felt its warmth.
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