Personal

Haunted

I began to notice that I was being haunted around the time the first snow of the winter fell. At first it was only at night as I drove home from work. On the side of the road at the same curve every time she appeared. She is difficult to notice where she stands, out in the darkness, behind the mile markers. I wonder how many times I drove by her before I noticed. My headlights would illuminate the edges of the road as I turned, and out of the corner of my eye I would see her. I always passed before I could even think to look. I wouldn’t have wanted to even if I had.

That is where she always is. In the corner of my eye. A dark rectangle. Even when I started to notice her during the day, it was always just on the edge of things.

I never look at her. Though she has given me more and more opportunity to do so. I started to anticipate the turn in the road. Where once I was always slightly startled to notice her, now I wait to glimpse her.

But I never look. I keep her at the edge of things. I don’t think she would tolerate more. Like a dew burned away at the first light of the sun. Too much attention would melt her away.

I have sometimes thought I should be frightened of her. She was haunting me after all. If I just looked at her, she would fade away, begone evil spirit, and I would be safe. But no. I don’t think she is evil. She may be dangerous, but I don’t think she wants to hurt me. Maybe. There is no way to know. Regardless, I don’t look. I let her stay.

I think she is just lonely. Or bored. A kind of melancholic boredom. She just wants to be ignored. The problem with wanting to be ignored is that someone needs to do it. It cannot be done alone. So I ignore her. I notice, and pay her no mind. No attention. I think she likes that. I think that is why she keeps coming back. Because I don’t look. Maybe someday I won’t be able to resist. Maybe someday my respect for her mystery will be overcome by my need to understand the world. I don’t know what will happen that day. Maybe I have let her come too close, and if I look now she will devour me. Or maybe she will fade away into nothing, I will realize she was never there to begin with. She was just the shadow made by the beams of my headlights. I don’t know for sure. I have never looked. For now, I keep the mystery alive. I don’t mind not knowing. I prefer to have her there, to let her be, than to know.

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