The First Pages of a Never-to-be-Written Novel (or, I’ve forgotten How to Sleep Again)

by Charlotte E. Wilde

There are things that want doing in life, some sit in inboxes, some pile up on the stairs, others lurk on bookshelves or linger in the mindscapes of your post apocalyptic dreams. There are things that want doing, and others begging to be forgot– the trick is differentiating between between the two and June has never lent herself to introspection, preferring pleasure sought in pulses and caution jettisoned like Sunday night shots.

In truth, the heat and I have never gotten on, never understood one another, each of us too hung up, perhaps, on our own waves.  But humidity sends catalysts running for the shade so there he remained, sticky on the horizon of my mind, wavering steady like Kansas highway asphalt. It was a comfort of sorts, in a way that only a bad decision can be, excusing failures or flat tires as karma wrought upon myself. The truth is I’ve always had a thing for justice, poetic or otherwise.

I want to tell you everything, but everything begins to sound redundant when you already know how ugly idleness sits uneasy, manifesting her guilt in a tilt-a-whirl of hobbies found and lost, midnight bike rides with irrefutable gravitational pull, and mornings spent wishing for anything but the cyclical workings of a dull bladed mind.  That June, in particular, I had begun to view things in frames, living in pictures as I had once lived surrounded by prose. The whir-click of a shutter speeds beat in my chest as a heart and everything I saw was measured and cropped until I found myself tilting ⅔ angles and imaged apertures in dreams and wakefulness alike.  When combined with my own skewed perspective this obsession gave birth to a preoccupation with the aesthetic that led me to believe in the imperfection of all things, but especially myself.

And so you must have seen me there, balancing, lens angled downward at a deceptively prickly purple orb of a bloom jutting defiantly out of a dusty hillside. Perhaps it was the dull ache of kinship, for I too was thistle-like, that kept me from feeling the weight your stare, but when I glanced up the trickle of that attention slid down my spine as a cold rivulet of recognition. People so rarely appreciate flowers that do not belong in a vase, they’re oblivious perhaps, to anything that cannot be bought in a store, but I must have understood immediately that the value of going unnoticed was lost to me in that moment.

This seems a strange way to introduce myself, if not an even stranger way to introduce you, but this story was never about us anyhow. This story is about him. This is a story about a ghost.