Though there were times, in the beginning, when I wasn’t sure if he was even real.
I found him in the graveyard, one afternoon in the middle of summer. He was no more than a shadow, glimpsed out of the corner of my eye, flitting from tombstone to tombstone; a chill in the air on the bright sunny day; the feeling of eyes on the back of my neck.
I stopped going to the graveyard.
That’s when he started following me. To home. To school. To work. He became a second shadow as I walked through the streets, invisible to even me. But I could feel him and I knew when he was there.
Days passed and I grew used to my ghostly companion. Though still wary, I was able to ignore him. Then one afternoon, as I walked the downtown streets, camera in hand, something changed. I was almost home. I only had time for a few more photos. The sun had begun to set, the buildings casting long shadows over the street. Glancing at a stucco wall that stood to my right, I stopped, raising the camera to frame the vines in the viewfinder.
After that, I couldn’t be afraid of him. Because I felt the same way - the camera made me braver too.
I went back to the graveyard that afternoon. The air was heavy with heat, though summer was fading and the leaves had begun to darken and fall. They crunched underfoot as I walked to my favorite tree. I sat, under the shade of the great, gnarly bows, back pressed against moss covered stone.
Then, as quiet as the wind through the grass, I heard a whisper in my mind.
I’m not a ghost.