My Own Desert Places, Pt. 22 (GPT-3 fueled short)


I didn’t want to bother involving medical staff in my ghost-related problems. The only information I would be interested in gleaning is how exactly does a ghost who came from a female body interact with the brain of a male body. But I doubt doctors would be able to help me with that. I would need a doctor in ghostology, likely one who had been a ghost himself, and that’s unlikely to happen when most people don’t even believe that ghosts are real.
I had no idea how to ask a hospital to schedule a MRI. I found the phone number for the general information service of Osakidetza and told them I needed to get my brain looked at because it might be rotting. They told me to schedule a medical appointment with my general practitioner, even though I didn’t know I had one. I navigated their website and I ended up with a medical appointment at the local hospital in Hondarribia, but I wouldn’t have to go for a few days. This was going to be a bother, but still, I didn’t want my girlfriend to worry about my well-being.
Finding a writing course that Alazne could attend was far easier. They teach introduction to creative writing at the library located in old town, and people are free to join the course midway. For the following two days, Alazne was both excited and nervous as she imagined herself meeting a new group of people and having her thoughts exposed, because she wanted to write for psychological reasons, to find relief for her depression and an outlet for bad memories that didn’t involve excessive abuse of her genitals.
When I wake up in the morning of the day the course will take place, I miss Alazne’s warm body in my arms. I catch a glimpse of her ass cheeks, covered by her cream-white cotton briefs, as she leaves the room towards the bathroom. Before I know it I’m rubbing my morning wood, but I take a deep breath and I spring from the bed. I don’t masturbate any longer, although since I told Alazne that I had died for a while, she has replaced half of the sex times with tender cuddling.
I’m putting on some pants when Alazne returns to the bedroom, and the first thing my gaze falls on is the mound of her pussy barely covered by her briefs. My crotch tingles.
“Hey… Can you stop putting on those pants and lie down with me in bed for a while?” Alazne asks me sweetly.
When I look up she’s smiling knowingly at me, because it couldn’t have been more obvious that I was ogling her pussy.
“Oh, absolutely. Let me brush my teeth in a hurry and I’ll be right back. You get ready.”
When I get to the bathroom I clean my teeth at record speed, then gargle a bit on mouthwash. Once I come back to the bedroom, Alazne is lying in bed, but she’s dressed in one of my shirts, which is too big for her small frame to the extent that it covers her holy parts. As I approach her, she widens her smile and opens her arms to welcome me.
“Come here, my love. I want my snuggly bear.”
I can already tell I won’t orgasm this morning, but I don’t particularly mind. I bend over to hug her as I plop onto the bed. Alazne wraps her arms around me and squeezes her cheek against mine.
“Mmmm… You’re always so warm. It’s like hugging a heated brick.”
I take a good whiff of her scent. It calms me down as always, and makes me want to remain in her embrace for hours.
“Odd comparison to start the morning, but alright,” I say softly.
She nestles her face on my chest as she entwines her legs with mine, but after a while she raises her head to look at me.
“So, my love, did you have a nice sleep?”
Her loving, sultry voice close to my ear gives me tingles.
“I sure did. Pure oblivion. And now I’m as rested as I can be.”
Alazne nuzzles against my neck, almost purring. I want to fuck her so bad, and yet I know she’s in a different mood. At least we both came last night.
“Sweetie…” I start. “I was thinking that while you attend that course today, I could spend the time writing in some nearby coffee shop.”
We can’t stand to be apart for too long, but being together all the time hinders our ability to focus and do our own things. I had to refuse attending the writing course, as I think this is something Alazne should do alone, but I’m fine with walking up to the library with her.
“That’s good,” Alazne says, “because having to deal with a bunch of new people is going to be nerve-wracking enough. I’d rather see you as soon as I get out.”
She curls her arms around my neck, and her frame trembles as she hugs me tighter. Her hot breath warms my face, so I lean in enough to kiss her. Our lips unite for a quiet moment before she pulls back.
“I’ll miss you so much,” she whispers.
“I’ll only be a street or at the most a couple of streets away. Nothing’s going to happen to you.”
“I know…”
“At the risk of ruining this mood… You told me that you wanted to write in a communal setting as a psychological release, as well as to learn about other people’s experiences and the stories they come up with. That means you have… thought about getting professional therapy, but you have discarded the idea?”
My question must have taken her by surprise. She loosens her embrace. I’m tempted to apologize, because reminding Alazne of her pains could disturb her, but she speaks calmly.
“I did consider it, at times. But I think the whole therapy thing is a scam, to be honest.”
“How can a person calling out your personal problems and having a heart-to-heart not be therapeutic?”
“What I mean is that one goes to therapy because she wants to fix herself, right? Is that not the point? But I know I can’t be fixed. So at the most, talking to a therapist would help as much as talking to someone else willing to listen closely to my pains.”
“That’s a bleak way to think about things, not that I disagree… I wouldn’t say that you need to be fixed as if you were unsightly broken, but still, a professional should be qualified to help you with your problems.”
“I had a fucked up childhood and a brain predisposed to misery from birth. That’s not solvable. I mean, look how I turned out.”
“You are one of the most caring and selfless people I know.”
Alazne chuckles almost bitterly.
“But you don’t know anyone besides me and Kateryna in this new life of yours, do you?”
“Yeah… I guess that’s true.”
“Maybe your ex-fiancée, but I hope you didn’t reconnect with her to any significant extent, for my sake. Selfless of me, huh?”
“So… when you want an outlet for your pains, are you going to rely on writing?”
“On playing the guitar too, and on you, of course. I can’t imagine me reaching out to you so you would listen, only for you to turn your back.”
“I will always listen, but I’m also going to call you out on your bullshit.”
Alazne bites my neck playfully. I complain, then squeeze her ass.
“And therapists wouldn’t treat me so honestly, because they need my money,” Alazne says. “So I’ll stick with you.”
I sigh.
“I’m okay with that. Listen, if you change your mind at any point, even if you just want to try therapy for a while, just tell me and I’ll bankroll it. After all, supporting you financially makes me feel manly and powerful. It’s a nice boost to my ego.”
“Is that the case? There is plenty of space in the wardrobe for new clothes. I guess I’ll get to drag you along before the end of the week.”

At twenty to six in the afternoon, Alazne and I are walking up the narrow, slightly claustrophobic San Nikolas street in old town, heading for the public library. All these houses must have been built back when people needed to walk everywhere, so both the sidewalks and the stone-paved road are too narrow for comfort. Still, I guess that the old, wooden, cramped storefronts, medieval-like front doors and cast iron window grilles are soothing in a way.
We are passing by a large open square unlike any other area of old town, on which nearby coffee shops have distributed their outside tables. One side of the square is walled with the fronts of three to four story high residential buildings constructed without allowing any space between them, and on the opposite side towers a grey fort-like structure. Its pockmarked bricks suggest that they were involved in some armed conflict.
I realize that I came to this square for a coffee shortly after I possessed Asier’s body, and before my new life with Alazne begun. I point at some empty tables.
“I guess I’ll spend the hour and a half of the course here, writing on the laptop.”
Alazne tugs on my arm, nervous.
“Sure, but… accompany me to the entrance.”
I suppose that Alazne’s behavior can qualify as separation anxiety, not that I mind. I love how she clings to me. I didn’t spend twenty years a ghost to complain now that my girlfriend is too insistent on spending as much time with me as possible.
When we turn the corner we begin descending the street in front of the ancient, imposing church, its bricks darkened by centuries of rain. The public library is just a couple of buildings away. It doesn’t scream library in any way; it’s like they repurposed one of the fanciest, old residential buildings because they didn’t know where to store all those books otherwise.
A group of people is chatting near the entrance, and also blocking the path to the extent that if a car comes up along the stone-paved road, those people will have to move. It’s an incongruous mix of retirees, two women in their forties, two guys maybe in their thirties, and one who looks like a teenage girl.
“Well, that’s surely them,” I say. “The class is about to start.”
Alazne looks at the group, then at me, then at them, then back at me. She’s clutching her laptop bag, which also contains a new notebook. She couldn’t make it more obvious that she’s nervous about approaching those people. Three of them, who aren’t taking part in the group’s conversation, are staring at us in silence, as they have realized we might join their class.
I admit it, I’m uncomfortable with Alazne getting involved with a group that includes men around her age. There’s no chance of other men trying to get in her pants if she only interacts with this man-corpse I’m possessing. I want to mark my territory, but instead of pissing all over Alazne I cup the back of her head and seek her tongue with mine. I break the kiss before any of the group members comment on it, which could mean they would be tempted to bother Alazne for it later.
When my girlfriend looks up at me, her pupils are dilated like those of a junkie. She didn’t expect to be kissed now, and she has blushed heavily.
“Alright, go meet your new friends and have a good time,” I whisper to her. “When we come back home, daddy will give you a treat.”
“O-okay…”
Alazne swallows as she lowers her gaze adorably. When she turns around, I’m tempted to pat her butt, but I only stare at her back as she walks up to the group while holding the laptop bag against her side. Her light brown hair is loose, slightly wavy near the tips, and she’s wearing a slim, knitted cardigan and blue denims. Two of the men are already eyeing her, hungrily I bet. Damn vultures…
Most of the group turns towards Alazne as she stops near them. A bald guy in his sixties, wearing glasses with thick frames, seems to welcome her, although I can’t hear what they are saying. My girlfriend’s head moves as she talks.
I don’t want to stick around in case I feel like rescuing her, so I walk up to the square. I sit heavily at one of the empty outside tables, then leave my laptop bag on the chair next to me. I’m already tired from the anticipation, but I’ll have to keep myself busy for an hour and a half.
When the waitress approaches my table, I force myself to look her in the eyes. It’s the same blond, chipper waitress in her late twenties that took my order the other time I came, and whose eyes I complimented for no particular reason. How awkward.
“You again!” she says cheerfully. “That wound in your head doesn’t look that bad anymore.”
“Eh, I had it checked. It’s nothing to worry about.”
“You were really pale the other day. You made me think someone had died.”
Why on earth did I come here again?
“It was just some mild existential confusion,” I answer dismissively.
“A philosopher. I like it! You read Camus?”
Jesus Christ, this woman will not stop talking to me of her own accord. I just want a coffee and to be left alone! Is that too much to ask for in this world?
“I’m afraid I only read Japanese mangas these days.”
The waitress’ gaze goes up to my hair, as if to certify I still have greys. I’m getting annoyed.
“I’ll have a coffee,” I tell her as I take out my laptop from its bag.
“A random one?”
I’m not in the mood for call backs, and I need some peace, but I still attempt to look friendly.
“No, I’ll be more specific this time, if only to make your job easier. A cappuccino, please.”
“Coming right up!”
The waitress sashays away. Nice ass. No, I have a girlfriend.
I take a deep breath. The laptop is already waiting for me to introduce my credentials. After I do so and my desktop is filling with icons, I insert the pen drive where I pasted some music. I open a new Word document. I connect my expensive earphones to the laptop and I insert the earbuds into their respective canals. I intend to listen to Modest Mouse’s ‘The Moon & Antarctica’ from the beginning. As soon as I hear those first echoed guitar notes, I exhale in relief. I’m as ready as I will be.
As I stare at the blinking cursor in the document, I can’t help but wonder why the waitress talking to me bothered me that much. It wasn’t just because she was delaying me from starting this project: she was demanding I related to her like she knew me to be from that one time we interacted. I can hardly identify anymore with my first days as Asier Izcoa. When I look back, I feel as if I was… unhinged. I only have my Alazne to thank for having assembled something resembling a normal human being out of my broken pieces.
I might as well write my experiences hoping that my girl will read them in the future, some day after I have admitted what I am, who I am. Assuming she would accept me. I doubt that will ever happen, but I shake my head and I start typing.
If you are reading these words, it means I’m dead. And if you aren’t reading them, I’m dead anyway! Because I’m a ghost.
I laugh to myself. What else could I have possibly written in the introduction?
I’m writing these memories for you, my love. I want you to remember me after I’ve left this world. I hope that my story gives you a sense of peace and understanding about who I was and why I did what I did. I also hope that we may meet once more, in a world much different from this one.
I feel the back of my eyes warming as if they intend to get teary. Why did I make it so dramatic? If Alazne ever reads these memories, I expect to be sitting next to her. I delete the last part.
You might be asking yourself how come I’m writing these words if I’m a ghost. Well, it just happens that like some other ghosts we know have poltergeist abilities to fling shit around like deranged monkeys, I have the uncanny ability to possess people. I hated it for the longest time, because whenever I managed to break through a living person’s natural defenses to command their flesh and bone robot, the owner’s soul fought me constantly. It felt as if an old, greasy man was licking me all over. It wasn’t erotic in the slightest, I assure you.
I bet Alazne would love to read that last bit.
I first realized I could become corporeal again while I was reading a dead professor’s diary. The dead bastard had discovered a ritual by which a ghost could invade a living body, although the process was extremely dangerous and only had a 10% chance of success. It involved a complicated magic circle with human blood as ink and quite a few other creepy ingredients.
I kind of like that for a fictional story. I cut those sentences, open a new document and paste them there. Maybe I’ll get busy with some creative writing of my own. Anyway, back to my memories.
You see, whoever is reading these memories, hopefully you yourself, my love: I’m not Asier. I’m wearing Asier, certainly. I command this decaying, hairy body as if I had grown a flesh and bone mecha and I was currently residing in its nape. How come I ended up disguised as a guy? Now that’s an interesting story. I was travelling to Donostia in a bus, feeling all despondent because I had seen you do some terrible stuff to yourself and I was trying to distract my troubled mind, when suddenly Asier veered his car into incoming traffic. As he admitted later on, he had tried to kill himself. I got off the bus and stood right next to him in the afterlife as his ghost wiggled out of his dying body. The paramedics were giving him CPR, which is mostly how I ended up with a battered ribcage. Anyway, I talked with Asier. He wanted an audience with the afterlife king, but I laughed at him. That pissed him off, I think. I don’t remember our conversation clearly, but when I suggested he could return to his body, he became paralyzed. It’s like he was imagining the mess that expected him back on the plane of the living: two ex-fiancées who hated him, one of them dead and haunting his house, and some blonde Eastern European guy pursuing him for whatever reason. So the motherfucker just bailed, you know? He turned tail straight into the beyond. I saw my chance. I remember thinking that if I had a body I could wipe your tears, Alazne, so I jumped into this man’s dead body. Fortunately it wasn’t dead enough that it didn’t work anymore, and turns out that when a ghost possesses a body still functional but devoid of its original soul, the possessing ghost gets trapped and can move it around and stuff. It’s kind of claustrophobic, to be honest.
Something lands softly on my table, startling me. It’s my cappuccino. The waitress also leaves the bill. Without taking off my earbuds, I lift my gaze towards the smiling waitress and nod. She wanders away. That’s one bubbly ass.
I focus on my writing again.
Anyway, who am I in all this? Well… My name is–
I can’t even bring myself to type it. Alazne shouldn’t learn it. But she isn’t reading my confession, not yet. I’ll have to be so careful with where I store this document.
My name is Irene. I’m a woman, yes. I was born with breasts and a pussy, and two X chromosomes. Well, I didn’t have breasts right when I was born, I don’t think. My point is that I have never been a man. I’m not even a man now, I’m just wearing one and taking advantage of his cock, which is quite magnificent, I gotta admit. And you have enjoyed it a lot as well, judging by how often you moan, and all the scratches on my back. I believe that the scientific term for what I am is a futa: a majestic woman who somehow possesses a monster cock. Except that you only know me to have the body of a man including the dick, but I’m talking about my mental image here.
I tap on my chin. I think I need to clarify how come I’m a ghost in the first place.
You see, I used to be alive. Even though I was a woman, I had… Well, my father used to call it improper tastes. Basically I couldn’t sit still and I wanted to make out with and eat out almost every attractive girl I saw. That made school complicated for me. And even more troublesome for many girls who didn’t know they could feel like I forced them to discover.
I delete the word ‘forced’. No, most of it was consensual. No, all of it was. They were just reluctant. It’s not my fault some girls are on the fence about being lesbians, or experimenting, or whatever they want to call it. I couldn’t care less about how they justified themselves as long as I got to taste their juices.
I continue writing.
There were no special girls. I was like a general, the Julius Caesar of eating pussy, wanting to explore and conquer every girl I set my gaze upon. There was no love involved, I don’t think. I have only known love ever since that day I was roaming the streets of Irún as a ghost, in the dreary, colorless afterlife, and I heard you playing guitar, Alazne. You made me a full person. You tamed a lioness.
I read it back. It’s quite creepy, actually. I need to explain how I died, but for twenty years I have been avoiding even thinking about that.
I graduated after I repeated a grade. I didn’t want to study anything. I didn’t feel like I belonged in society. There was nothing that I felt I had a talent for, except the aforementioned relentless deflowering of innocents. It’s not as if my parents supported me: they had divorced a few years before that point. My biological mother moved to South America. I got along well enough with my step-mother, but she had a sickness, degenerative I think, that was going to confine her to a wheelchair. She already had to use one at times during my last days with them. Anyway, my father hated the fact that I wouldn’t have children. I was the only creature they spawned and I turned out to prefer the taste of clits. Can you believe it? I wasn’t shy about it either, because a few times I brought over a couple of girlfriends, if I could call them that, to sleep with me.
My pulse is trembling, it’s getting harder to breathe. Why does it bother me that much? It happened twenty years ago. I have been a ghost almost as long as I lived in my original body.
My father was ready to give up on me, but my step-mother insisted that I had to get through college. She wanted to make sure that if there was the smallest chance I would grow up, as they called it, I wouldn’t be held back by my lack of a diploma. My father kept insisting that I would need to change my mind about producing his grandkids. Why the fuck would I want to have children? Parents and their stupid delusions, making kids who then grow up and imitate their parents. That’s the idea, I guess. I didn’t want any part of this fucking world. I couldn’t connect with anybody. I only wanted, needed, to wrestle with the tongue of some sexy girl, and hold her warm flesh against mine. That’s what life was about as far as I was concerned. The rest was window-dressing for liars.
I realize that I’m gritting my teeth, and a tear falls on the back of my hand. Startled and embarrassed, I hurry to wipe from my eyes any possible trace of tears, and then look around cautiously in case someone has noticed. It doesn’t seem to be the case, as the people occupying the other tables are focused on each other.
Yeah, I need a break. I lounge in the chair as I take sips of my cappuccino. I get to see a small band of horizon between the line of apartment buildings on my left and the old fort on my right. That’s the Txingudi bay, I’m quite sure. The Atlantic ocean, or maybe the sea. In any case it’s just a line of water instead of land making the flat horizon. How am I going to write my memories if I can’t express my thoughts properly, nor describe my surroundings?
I sigh, and return to work.
Yeah, so I went to college. Doesn’t matter for what, really. The most important part is that I tried to make friends, and yes, fuck classmates and random women I saw walking around, but it’s like I lost my magic. They looked at me as if I was some weirdo. A pushy, relentless, friendless weirdo.
I don’t want to put these memories down. Why am I writing these thoughts again? This doesn’t help anybody. Do I even want Alazne to know who I used to be before I chose to wear a dead man’s body?
The teachers either didn’t care about the volume of homework they sent, or other classmates could deal with it and I didn’t know how, because nobody would interact with me. In any case, I couldn’t, nor wanted to, study at home with a father who hated me and a step-mother who was crumbling away. I didn’t study in libraries, because I couldn’t sit still. I wondered if the best part of my life had already ended, and it hadn’t seemed that good to begin with. Nobody I had met or even had sex with wanted to keep in touch with me. Was I such a disgrace that everybody avoided me so much?
The breeze feels cool. I turn my head up to feel it blow through my hair, and I close my eyes.
I quit. I became a college dropout after three months. I thought that at least my step-mother would understand, but I remember looking down at her, because she was sitting on her wheelchair, as she glared at me furiously. She pounded a glass table with her fist. Not only it broke, cutting her hand, but she grabbed one of the pieces and fucking threatened me with it. I don’t remember what she yelled at me. Ah, yes: ungrateful. I was an ungrateful freak.
I shake my head and blink away the ghosts in my head. They had been gone for a long time.
Even though I just had a high school diploma, I got a job as a lowly clerk. I knew it would be boring as fuck, soul-killing. What I wouldn’t have expected is that I was unable to learn how to perform properly tasks that the seemingly dumber workers around me could do without issues. To print an invoice I had to work on, I ended up wasting three or four copies, because I kept failing to notice obvious mistakes. One of my bosses sat across from me. The fucker was some Italian shithead whose leg constantly shook as if he couldn’t wait to run to the bathroom and snort some coke. From nine to six in the afternoon, with a so-called break in between that I had to spend around my coworkers, I constantly heard my bosses going on about how they could make money with this or that plot, and how we would need to work harder and maybe work overtime if necessary and such. Someone had complained that I was fumbling basic tasks, so the boss ordered me to prepare a presentation to teach other coworkers about an auditing system the company sold. The details are unimportant: the fact is that nothing felt real to me, and I didn’t know what the hell I was saying. When the presentation ended, the boss ran up to me and berated me, called me useless, asked me specific mathematical questions unrelated to the presentation, and when I couldn’t give him the answer, he told me that I would know if I weren’t a pathetic dropout. He said that unless I intended to get fired by the end of the month, I would need to learn how to become minimally competent.
I sniff, and wipe my nose with my forearm. Why the hell am I crying? I am a tough guy who doesn’t cry. And also a fucking ghost. I died. Maybe this is what happens after death: you become some puddle of tears. Yeah, that’s it. After death you lose all defenses. You become a weeper, a wailer, some sobbing bitch.
That night I pissed my pants in my sleep. I cried as I threw my sheets into the clothes bin. I kept shaking, my teeth chattering. I remember thinking that my life would be like this until I died. Decades of such humiliations were the only thing I could look forward to. Nobody would care about me. Nobody would love me. I hurried to take a shower and dress myself. Only as I passed by a storefront I realized that I hadn’t cleaned my mouth properly after I brushed my teeth, and it looked as if I had just blown some guy. Then I stood at the bus stop. As I watched the vehicle that would drive me to work maneuvering to stop in front of me, my legs trembled, my heart jumped on my chest. I can’t do it, I thought. I won’t. So I didn’t. For a couple of hours I wandered around the outskirts of the city, a costal one but hundreds of kilometers away from here, as my phone kept receiving calls. The office, my parents. I didn’t answer any of them. I sat on a bench hugging my knees for another hour, and then I decided that I would get on a bus that would drive me up the local mountain. There were only a couple of other people on the bus that morning, mountaineers. I headed directly to a cliff, and I stood on the edge, nearly overwhelmed by vertigo, as I looked at the jagged rocks below. The tide wasn’t as high as I had expected, but it would be in a few hours.
I close my eyes tight as I feel the breeze caressing my face. In my earbuds, Isaac Brock sings bitterly about his broken heart. I remember standing at the edge of that cliff, and how I vomited what was left inside my stomach.
I want to end it, I thought. I can’t go on. I have to jump. Just fucking do it already. I was a freak who had been born with a broken brain. In any other age of history I would already have been rotting six feet under. I don’t want to live this nightmare for a second longer, so just step forward.
I take deep breaths as I feel my fingertips resting on the keys. I am not Irene anymore, am I? I will live as Asier for at least four to five decades more. I will become this man, and that original life of mine will become a tattered memory.
I remember looking around. Nothing but grass, trees, birds, a couple of horses in the distance. To be honest, if anyone had been walking around at that hour, I wouldn’t have jumped. If anybody had been nice to me in recent memory, I wouldn’t have jumped. But for a single second I wanted with all my might to die, so I stepped forward. I remember falling, cold wind getting in my ears and cooling my eyeballs, and me orienting myself in the air so I would hit the rocks headfirst. Then I must have fallen unconscious. Not died, just lost consciousness. I had fucked up landing on my head, or my skull was tougher than I would have expected, because I regained my senses only to be tortured with the most harrowing pain imaginable. It’s like I hadn’t known any pain until that point. I tried to move my arms, but I couldn’t feel them, and neither did I feel my legs. I think one of my eyes had burst, been crushed or whatever. I could barely move my head so I wouldn’t drown in the puddle formed on the rock my head rested on. I don’t know how much time I spent there. I thought I had gone to hell, because I felt as if I was being flayed alive, but somehow I couldn’t yell. And what would I yell for? My spine was broken, and I had purposely walked up to an area of the mountain nobody might visit in days. I remember being hungry, and thirsty. I regretted it, but not because I thought I was wrong to kill myself, but because I hadn’t imagined such pain was possible. In my head I asked, to whoever might be listening, for mercy, for them to come down and kill me. Eventually nature did it. The tide rose.
I cough. I’m about to take a drink of my coffee, but I realize I don’t want to put liquid in my mouth right now. As if my memory was recreating the vertigo I felt, I’m getting dizzier and dizzier. I want to return home. I want to kneel in front of the toilet in my stolen bathroom and vomit.
I remember how the saltwater burned behind my nose, and also how my lungs ballooned inside my chest as if they were about to burst. I didn’t want to live, I wanted it to be over. I don’t remember the exact moment when I entered the afterlife, but that morning I found out that ghosts exist, that I would need to keep tolerating this consciousness possibly for eternity, except in a far more dreary, colorless, odorless, tasteless world. I walked along the bottom of the sea for a good while, maybe an hour or two, until I emerged onto a beach. I would have thought that I would be tied down as if by magic to the place where I killed myself, and I guess it wouldn’t have been too bad to look at fishes for hundreds of years, but instead I walked out of my hometown. I never came back. I have no clue what happened to my parents, or if anybody found my body. And I couldn’t give less of a shit about any of it.
I feel claustrophobic, and cold sweat is rolling down my forehead. I take out the earbuds and listen to the animated conversations around me. Three tables to my left, a group of forty something men talk to each other as if they’ve been hanging out since they were children. A couple of digital cameras are firing off next to the fort, and their owners are talking in English. I have only spent forty five minutes. I have to wait for at least another forty five until my beloved, the light of my life, returns to my side. I can’t sit still anymore, I’ll take a walk. I look around until I locate the blonde waitress, and I signal for her to come over.

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