“My old friend I hope you know just how truly cherished these times by the firelight are for me.” I said, watching a smoke ring slowly ascend into the dimly lit study.
“Yes it is for me as well.”
“Speaking of cherished things I was reflecting the other day on ghosts.”
“Yes, you see, I have on frequent occasion been abruptly awakened out of sleep sticking to my sheets in a cold sweat and frightened beyond all reasonable measure. My eyes frantically dart hither and thither expecting to see a dreadful apparition. Like something from a Dickens tale!”
“Ho ho, oh goodness! Well have you seen this phantasm? And I thought we were speaking of cherished things, dear friend?”
“Yes yes, I’m coming to that. You see, I haven’t actually witnessed any figure manifestly present itself and for many tortured nights I struggled to identify the source of my infernal agitation.”
I took a minute to pause, dragging long on the pipe as the hypnotic crackle of the smoldering log spoke in our silence. My friend knowing me well also took the opportunity to look after his pipe and admire the fire’s unsteady glow.
“I came to the amazing realization” I continued “that I had been having pleasant and cheerful dreams prior to these evil awakenings. And not mere dreams of fantasy but concrete memories from times past. Friends and loved ones sharing meals, laughter, conversation, TIME together! You remember many of them I’m sure. Holidays, religious gatherings, or just the monthly escape from the monotonous trudge of day to day life.”
I took a second to swallow hard.
“They’re all gone now. They’re my ghosts and they are in the past with those memories. How on earth I have come to survive them I cannot say… but I consider it a curse. These moments with you, my most faithful friend, are of the scarce snippets of happiness I have left. My friends and family are all gone. I wish I had more time to eat and drink together, laugh together, and embrace. But alas, all I am left with are the ghosts of their memories. They haunt me.”