Most of this story was written in 20 minutes during this week’s meeting

a dreamy affair

by Norah Deay


The final notes of the theme tune from Ghost lingered in the room as the screen faded to black. A feeling of longing wrapped itself around me, a sensation I’ve savoured at least twenty times while watching the pottery scene. Each time, the thought niggled at me: what would it be like to be in love with a ghost? A ghost who was actually there, not just an ephemeral figment of imagination. Recalling my life mantra, “thoughts become things,” a daring idea sprang to life. What if I acted AS IF? As if a ghostly lover, ethereal yet real, came to me in the night. The idea was absurdly appealing, a comforting fantasy against the reality of an empty bed. 

I lay in bed later bringing a character to life. Which was funny in itself since I was going to kill him off so he could be my ghost. Of course he looked at least a bit like Patrick Swayze but he was taller and darker and his name was John. Our backstory was that we’d had one night of passion and on his way to work the next morning he’d been mown down by a speeding motorcyclist. His looks weren’t affected though. 

I began talking about John with my friends at work. Amy and Monica laughed at me; they wondered aloud if I was losing my mind but I persevered. Every morning they would ask if I’d had any ghostly visitors and each time I’d answer yes. I was dreaming about John now. I even wondered myself if I had taken this too far, because he seemed so real. I felt his hands and his kiss. I knew the texture of his hair and the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled. I felt a sense of loss each morning as I awoke and he wasn’t there but there was a lingering memory of a hand brushing across my hair before he whispered goodbye.

Amy and Monica staged an intervention after six weeks had passed and I was still insisting I shared my life with the ghostly John. I’d stopped going out, I couldn’t tell them – it felt too weird, but all I wanted to do was go to sleep so I’d meet John. I took sleeping tablets as soon as I’d finished dinner, turned off my phone and went straight to bed. 

I was withdrawing from life, hurrying to bed each night to meet John. They didn’t know about the sleeping tablets, my desperate bid to escape to a world where John waited. Their intervention was a wake-up call. My bit of fun was spiraling into something dangerous, a consuming obsession.

I promised them I’d cop onto myself and threw the sleeping tablets down the toilet when I got home. I stayed up as late as I could and it was almost midnight when I finally gave in and went to my bedroom. 

I was removing my makeup in front of the mirror when I noticed a movement behind me. Terrified, I stared into the mirror at the dark haired man lying full-length on my bed, one finger beckoning me. I swung around but the bed was empty and the adrenalin flowing through my body made me grab for support. My mind was playing tricks. Thank all that was sane in me that I’d decided to end this now. 

I turned back to the mirror but he was there again, and then he disappeared. 

I went to the bed, there was a long indentation on the duvet. He was gone I told myself. Thoughts become things. He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone. I went to sleep with that mantra in my head, but in the morning, the hand on my hair still lingered.