Not that I saw him all that often. After a long day and six “I deserve it” Glenmorangies, he would materialize. We would sit. We’d chew the fat about our day and work at solving all the world’s problems until my head would sink slowly down on to the food splattered table.
“You Lumpies,” he would say. He thought we humans were too over endowed with blood and bones and flesh. All those lumps and bumps. Bits that fall down, fall apart and fall off.
This was funny coming from someone you could see right through.
I remember one night I asked him, ‘Where do you ghosts normally live?’
‘In ghost towns,’ he laughed. ‘Nothing better – open spaces, doors falling off their hinges, tumbleweeds carousing down the main street. Best of all – no Lumpies!
Then he added, ‘Of course, the better class of ghost might prefer a castle or pre loved manor house. Highly desirable don’t you know. Opera Houses are the crème de la crème but… realistically, many ghosts live in houses just like yours.’
I nodded with some understanding.
‘Then again, some ghosts prefer a tree change. You’ve heard of ghost gums haven’t you?
We both fell about laughing. Somehow this was the funniest thing we’d heard all day.
On another night we discussed the problems of disenfranchised youth. ‘Do you have any problems with young ghosts?’
‘Don’t get me started. Festooned around the grave yards they are, lip studs and nose rings, dragging chains and scaring the bejesus out of any Lumpies who want to take a short cut through a cemetery at night. All that wailing and wooing.
‘Tell me about Hallowe’en,’ I once said.
And tell me he did. Such festivity, family fun and fellowship, much like our Christmas. Apparently the best fun comes from watching Lumpies as they “do” Hallowe’en. With their shonky costumes, over- photographed foods and attempts at trick or treating.
I thought of my childhood and Mum’s white bed sheets making us into ghosts.
All in all, I found him good company. He never drank my whisky; he could be relied upon to keep up his end of the conversation and most of all he laughed at my sick jokes.
I found that as I progressed through the AA program I saw him less and less.
Finally, the time came when I realized that I no longer saw him at all. I was disappointed.
Occasionally when I walked into the bathroom I would see a sudden misting on the mirror – a misting that came and went as suddenly as I had seen it.
I’d wipe my hand across the mirror in a wave motion.
‘Hi there, Ghost Guy,’ I would say. And then…‘Looks like you’ve seen a ghost!’
I’d laugh uproariously.
Sometimes, I swear to God, sometimes, in the distance I would hear a faint ghostly chuckle
Missing you already, Ghost Guy.