blurry figure in hallway

I Went Through Like a Ghost

I went through like a ghost. I understand how this sounds, how wrong the picture, taken already and missing a figure. Let’s say I didn’t miss you. Would I still pass through the portrait? I saw the people I knew then, paused at the same crosswalk, posed on the same benches, living yet in some still-life. Freeze-frame. I did see them.

I passed by them. I didn’t say Hello. Didn’t know how. Had forgotten the words: Do you remember me? Or perhaps felt them too keenly. But what did it matter anyway, if I had passed under sand or not? I’m a tourist; I pass by in a train car no one sees, heading for a station in God-knows-where. Even I don’t know. I pass the classroom, the office; the doors are all locked. I rattle them—a ghost in chains. I’ve passed through this door a hundred times, I think, and a hundred times more. No. Not anymore.

I stand on the spot where you last saw me, when I emerged from Somewhere Else, and there you were, and for a moment I thought you would miss me, that I would miss you, that you would keep on and not turn around at all and well, there’s that I suppose, but you didn’t. You did turn. And you did see me. And you didn’t come any closer, but raised one hand and I know that you smiled. For one moment, the frame containing the both of us, torrent of color and sound and lazy hurry passing us, the two of us in grey.

Eily McIlvain
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Eily McIlvain is a Clark College alumna, now pursuing her BFA in Fiction at Portland State University. For her, the poetic and the prosaic are inextricable from one another. Her work has been previously published in Phoenix. She spends most of her time writing or cooking, and enjoys the cozy and the Gothic.