I look in on you at least a couple times a day. You maybe look more busy, more tired, more harried. Sometimes you look like you’re in love with someone else. Sometimes you look lonely too, even if you’ve got a harem of lovers in there.
You look back at me, so careful, always selling, aren’t you? Always matching my expression. If I smile, you smile. If I don’t, you don’t. You only give me what I give you. I do all the work. But your lips are silent. You don’t speak.
I can’t touch you. You’re cold as glass. I can touch glass, but it’s not the same thing as a warm body, is it? My fingers slide off of you, like my eyes do, eventually, because we crave warmth, don’t we?. Some of us do.
‘What do I want?’ your face asks. I’ll tell you. I want to be with you when you’re not asking what I want. I want to be with you when you’re being yourself, unguarded. It’s like I’m forever knocking on your door, and you open it, “yes?” You don’t say anything, but that’s what you’d say, if I knocked. If I called. If I bumped into you in the places you must go. Each time, you’d say “yes?” like I was a stranger.
You’re a prison for the senses. I put them all in, the deep ones included. My mind, especially. My feelings. And what comes back to me is only the most superficial of facsimiles.
I suppose what I really want from you is just to acknowledge that I’m alive. Is it any wonder that I look to you for that confirmation? I look, because it’s difficult to move on without knowing that.
Have you ever wondered if you were alive? We’ve been through all the existential and post-modern bullshit. We don’t just assume our existence because we can breathe out and fog up the glass. The fact that we can wave our hands in front of our faces doesn’t tell us, any longer, that we really have lives. Because lives are meaning, you see. Lives are full of meaning.
I looked to you for that meaning, once. And I think you never gave it back. I think you must have it, because I’ve misplaced it somewhere, and the last time I saw it was with you. I looked and it was there, I looked again and it wasn’t.
If I am offended by anything, it’s the casual indifference. It’s the disdain in that indifference. I know we’re not supposed to look elsewhere for our sense of self. But if we can’t look in the one place we might expect it to be safe, the place where we put our love, then where else? Tell me – out there, in the world? Where will we expect to locate it, then?
I keep expecting some sign of appreciation – not gratitude – no, but the appreciation we show for music and art. Some recognition that I have… value. There’s a thing that happens, when you look at someone honestly, with utmost vulnerability – it’s a kind of trust, a social contract if you want. That’s what honor is – responding to trust as though it matters. We need, then, for the other to reflect it back to us. We need to know that it’s not a void we’ve put ourselves into.
I need to know that, having displayed the light of my truest self, the truth I only demonstrate in moments of absolute candor, it has been recognized – it has been found, if not a thing of wonder and beauty, then at least of substance. I need to know that I am substantial. And what you mirror back to me is a ghost.
So I am asking, whether or not I am a ghost, talk to me. I’ll bet you still talk to yourself, sometimes. I’ll bet you talk to the furniture. The walls. To inanimate objects. Will you not spare even a few words for me?
Or are you afraid that, if you talk to a wraith, it will take itself too seriously, and it will enter your world, and then you’ll have raised the dead and be looking at the corpse of love? Don’t worry. I’ll haunt someone else. Just talk to me.