There were times that he wished he could be alone. It was difficult, for instance, to take a shower with someone watching you or eating your morning cereal with someone else trying to read the paper over your shoulder.
He didn’t mind, at first. He knew that he took a piece of everyone he met along with him: a memory, a thought, a quick snapshot with an iPhone, the sound of someone’s laughter. For some reason unknown to him, those things became the person they belonged to once he entered his apartment.
He supposed that ghosts was as good a word for what they were as any, though in most cases, the person the ghost belonged to had not passed on. Still, they would speak and sing and whisper at will. As the space of his small apartment began to fill with them, the noise grew so loud he found he couldn’t sleep.
Soon, he began to see ghosts outside of his apartment, too. They would follow other people around, lost without the comfort of a home, trailing behind people who were unaware of them like puppies. His eyes were opened further still when he realized that everyone lived with ghosts of one kind of another.
It was his neighbor who told him how to get rid of them. “Awfully loud in your apartment,” she said one day.
“You can hear them too?”
She scoffed at him. “Of course I can. You can’t hold on to everything, you know. You have to learn to let go of the past and live in the now. Otherwise, it’ll sound like you’re having a kegger in there every night. Everything becomes a ghost if you let it linger long enough.”
When I went back into my apartment, the walls were still and silent.