The Ghosting of Ghost

by Mallory Ortberg

Day 1
hi hello
oh hi
there has to be someone here
there really just has to be
i dont want it just to be me here
oh oh i dont want it to just be me

Day 19
well this happens to be a phone
I couldn’t really say about the others
so nobody knows then
I didn’t say that
Some of them don’t wind up here
or some of them do but not all of them
or not for very long
I can’t make you any promises you won’t end up in a cactus for a time
or a cursed and collapsing star
or a foil packet
or anywhere
Are you listening?
its just hard
to type
the keys are so big and far apart
It gets easier
you seem very good at it
Thank you
have you been here a long time
What a thing to ask me
im sorry
i dont mean to be rude
Please don’t worry about it
only i dont know how things are supposed to be
and i keep finding myself in a different place every day
at least i think i do
Some people –
their memory doesn’t carry over well
They won’t remember someone they knew once
or what they did
or they find this confusing and get forgetful
maybe thats it
You seem forgetful.
i hope you dont mind my asking another question
but where are my parents
Your parents?
you said sometimes people came here
and some of them went — somewhere else or didn’t
make it out somehow
I really couldn’t say
if you haven’t seen them yet
or haven’t recognized them
I wouldn’t imagine that they’re here
yes but
where would my parents be
if they’re not here
If you haven’t seen them
I don’t think you will see them
If you did you might not even know them
all right
So it hardly matters either way
all right

Day 32
but how could he just have
not remembered
bad luck for me
just seems strange
I told you
some things don’t carry over
it’s only a quirk in the process
sometimes one forgets and one remembers
sometimes both forget the same
no reason to it
I couldn’t say why
don’t you think it must have something
to do with how they felt
That’s stupid
that’s very stupid
well you said
sometimes we disappear out of — this stage — 
maybe that’s why
or maybe they remember in the next –
You don’t know what you’re talking about
you don’t know anything about this at all
you’re brand new
and you’re hazarding wild guesses
because you’d rather just believe something
than wait to see if you can find out the answer
im sorry
I don’t know what happens next
how could I possibly know that
i dont know
nobody knows
just like nobody before knew what happened after you die
Some people never show up here at all
Some disappear again right away
I don’t know
well i thought it was romantic of you
waiting that entire time
You make it sound as though there was a choice not to wait
which of course there wasn’t
which of course you haven’t taken the time to think through
There was nowhere else to go
and nothing to do but wait
And it wasn’t romantic, it was very painful
it makes one very tired
and it’s very stupid of you to say otherwise
im sorry
it’s made me very unhappy
im sorry
im really sorry
please dont be angry with me
i dont know anyone else
I know you are
I’m just mean
that’s all.
i know
just now
that was almost funny
you made a joke, didn’t you?
i dont know

Day 85
Excuse me?
oh im sorry
i didnt realize someone was already using this phone
Yes, this is mine
But please don’t apologize
where are we anyhow
I think it’s a Droid, technically
its awfully big in here
It really is
too big for me, to be honest
But I’m not complaining
oh thats good
Before this they had me in a deep-sea vent
sharing a tunnel with a tube worm
oh wow
so I’m not complaining
I like a nice big place to spread out in
how long were you there for
the vent?
I’d guess a hundred years or so
wow wow wow thats a long time!
are you lost?
well i didnt think i was
but now i guess maybe i am
Would you like to stay a while?
if you dont mind sharing
I don’t mind
Anyhow I’m sure you’re better than a tube worm
i hope so!

Day 112
And that’s the last I saw of it.
youre joking
Never heard from the two of them either
Couldn’t use that arm again for tennis for years
tell me youre joking
I never joke
i dont believe you
Don’t believe my story?
Or don’t believe I never joke?
All right
I’ll get him myself
I will
hes here too?
well he isn’t here obviously
but I can text him
oh my gosh
are you really texting him?
of course
should i change?
is that a stupid question
i mean what should i wear
when he gets here
oh my gosh
this is very exciting
Do you need to lie down?
can we lie down here???
of course
did you really not know that?
oh my gosh
ohh wow
oh my gosh im lying down
This is the first time you’ve gotten to lie down since you died?
this is the best!
look at me go!
He’s on his way now

Day 239
You’re back then!
You met the cat?
I’m sorry
I should have warned you
you should have
Oh, I’m sorry to laugh
I’m really sorry
I shouldn’t have done that
you really
Well, I am sorry, really
did you –
shut up talking please Eleanor
for a minute please stop talking
i need
a minute
All right
i need a minute

Day 401
I’m glad it worked out so well for the two of you
oh it was great
just great
except for the part with the cat it was great
we’re going to do it again after she gets back from the vents
If she gets back
if she gets back 🙂
That’s new
whats new?
Before you could barely string three words together
without dissolving into tears
now you’re drawing faces
You won’t need me to send you places anymore at this rate.
you’ll just zip around on your own steam
Oh, very impressive
you think you dont mean that
but youre a little impressed with me
And with that
I think it’s time you got out of here again
ok lets go!!
Obviously I will not be going with you.
i want to have an adventure with you
were going to have one sooner or later
i promise
Do you have anywhere you want to go next?
yep i do
oh, honestly
you said i could go anywhere
he won’t know it’s you, you know
i know
i dont mind
That’s fairly idiotic
there’s no guarantee you’ll be safe, you know
all right
and if you get separated or if it breaks or you fall out
there’s no guarantee you’ll find your way back either
all right
so don’t come crying to me if that happens
i won’t
You will
all right, you know everything

October 14
hey im gaunting you ok
Do you mean haunting
yeah sorry i dont have any fingers
so im poltergeisting a stick to help me text this
Who is this?
oh sorry im a ghost
So do you live inside this phone
yeah kind of

Previously | Next: Text Messages From a Ghost.

Mallory Ortberg is a writer in the Bay Area. She is a regular contributor for The Gloss.