i wake up.
should i still call it “waking up” when i don't really sleep anymore?
i get out of bed. the room hasn't changed. it's got dusty, dove-grey cement walls and still cream-white curtains hung from a steel curtain rod supported by plastic hooks painted white. my wrinkled watercolour landscapes are pinned to the walls with golden push pins. it's always overcast in my paintings. i hope it's cloudy today, but i hope it doesn't rain.
— j'éspere qu'il fait beau aujourd'hui, i mumble. i carefully go through the sun salutation. prayer pose.
« bonjour, » juliet replies, from just outside the bedroom. he's polite that way; he doesn't go through the door unless it's some sort of emergency. he can see through walls, so it doesn't really make a difference to him, but it makes a difference to me. « you left the rice cooker on last night, » he continues. his voice sounds like soft rain, if rain could nag.
— why didn't you turn it off, then? i ask. raised arms pose. i try to inhale while my arms go up.
« because i couldn't touch it, » he replies. « you could have burnt the place down. »
— but i didn't, i say. forward fold. i can almost reach my stiff toes. there's a long leopard-print silk scarf wrapped around my hair; the end of it flops onto the floor.
« but we don't want that to happen, do we? »
— i don't know, juliet, maybe we do, i say. fires are beautiful, after all.
sometimes i think of what the flat would look like if it were on fire. what would burn first? or, what would burn after the thing that started the fire in the first place? probably the curtains. but it wouldn't spread very well if it was just the curtains on fire, because the curtains don't really touch anything, not even if the wind moved them around.
« try to remember to turn the rice cooker off tonight, won't you? »
juliet used to live in this flat, and then he died, and now he persists in the flat. he is a ghost, and that is what ghosts do. i wish he didn't have to haunt the flat, but the law says that ghosts have the right to shelter just as much as any other creature. the law also says that they have the freedom to choose where they haunt, as long as they don't harm any living creature on the premises.
and i don't count as a living creature anymore.