Roaming ghosts in your concrete path.
Ghosts you don't always see. Ghosts who come and go. You would remember some and forget the most.
Do you ever think of them? The ghosts who are not revenants but people like you and me. The people you cross in the street, in hallways, on your way to college, in a bus, in a mall... To them, you might as well be another ghost. Will you leave a distinguishable trace in their lives? It's unlikely. But why not try to? We spend our lives trying to conform to a certain scaffold, to fit, to be "in". If you're one to live in your own head, if you're not skilled at being and playing superficial, you're dubbed "weirdo", "nerd", or worse: plain "idiot". You try to shake it off: to stay true to yourself. I'm not implying the existence of a potential doppelganger... That's your honest self here. And what better way to detoxify your ego than a long day of hard work? Your conscience will be so blank, much like that of a newborn. You're dazed, you might reveal yourself to the most unexpected of ghosts.
I process all of it during my encounter with a redundant ghost - a particularly jovial one whom you have probably met more than once.
A cab driver.
It's 5:30 PM. I'm exhausted.
I call a cab and go outside the campus. I stink of lab rats and anesthetics. I'm surrounded by people when I should be isolated in quarantine. I giggle in anticipation of going ho- no wait, going to the dorm. Right, reuniting with my long missed dorm. I stop the cab and get in. The driver greets me. I immediately grasp his foreign accent. I shake my head at how typically Lebanese I sound. Oh man, when did stereotypes ruin my soul?
I look out the window. I love the city at night. The high-rise glass buildings, not the car fumes. Though you can't appreciate the former and omit the other. I take a big gulp of polluted, smog-filled air. "Human contact needed. Human contact needed. Human contact needed", my brain reminds me. The cab driver turns on the radio. Phew, perhaps that's my human contact.
"-... So let's announce the good news to our listeners!
-Yeah! You probably guessed it! Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris are celebrating one full year together!"
"God damn it! We're dying to live and these are their good news!" I blurt out before I can think it over.
I blush in embarrassment and fall into an instantly awkward silence. I hear a snort. Shortly after, the driver starts laughing uncontrollably. I blink in surprise. That wasn't the least bit hilarious... Guess someone else needed human contact. We talk with good humor about many things: about the traffic, the less-than-inefficient infrastructures, the aristocracy... Who are we? I ask myself. We'll barely remember each other's faces. We had different kinds of (bad) days, yes.
Yet, our struggles are common.
I'm not a spontaneous chatterer. But that night, for thirty minutes, I made a friend whose name I forgot to ask.
I didn't summon the dead to wake a ghost. I did better: I traded solitude for kindness.
I was stereotype-free.
Intissar El Hajj Mohamed