Ghosts
by William Michaelian

It was her little girl who brought them together. If she hadnít walked up to him and smiled while her mother was ordering her coffee, they would never have met.

The trees along the street were losing their leaves, turning the sidewalk red and gold. They walked slowly, talking, the child between them.

Had they met before? It seemed they had, though she and her daughter had just moved to the city. Was she married? No, not anymore. The same as he.

They lived not far from each other. A funny coincidence. When they reached her car, she invited him to come for dinner that evening. Nothing fancy.

The rest of the day was spent wondering. He wondered. She wondered. And so did her little girl. The hours melted, one by one.

The meal was wonderful. Lasagna, bread, salad. He brought flowers and a bottle of wine. A funny little book for her daughter, one word on each page.

Soon it was the girlís bedtime. She went to sleep with a smile, holding her new book. The apartment was quiet. The candle on the table flickered as they talked.

Someday, she said. Yes, he said. Someday. I will, she said. And so said he. Have a real home, she said. I will, too, he said. For nothing, nothing, was more important.

He noticed her guitar, asked if she could play. She sat thinking, trying to remember. A little. Would she play something for him? Yes. If he promised not to laugh.

It was beautiful. While she played, night embraced the city. The candle burned low. In the dark, her fingers told simple stories, meant to keep the ghosts away.

William Michaelianís newest releases are two poetry collections, Winter Poems and Another Song I Know, published in paperback by Cosmopsis Books in San Francisco. His short stories, poems, and drawings have appeared in many literary magazines and newspapers. His novel,
A Listening Thing, is published here in its first complete online edition. For information on Michaelianís other books and links to this siteís other sections, please go to the Main Page or visit Flippantly Answered Questions.

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