I’m near the village where she used to live with her dad. Haven’t been here in years. Feels much the same as it used to, though. The same roads and parks. The same ghosts. Apparitions. Call them what you will. Getting off the train, I walk along the main high street and pop into a newsagent’s to pick up an energy drink and a packet of crisps. Yeah, I guess some things never change. Sitting on a bench opposite the river that runs for miles in both directions, I eat my cheese and onion crisps and drink my can of battery acid before lighting up a smoke. The world has moved on, and yet in many ways, things remain as they always have done. I’m older, that’s for sure, and the faces I once knew have long since passed, but the ebb and flow of life is a gentle one, and once you take a step back, you realise it’s the same old cycle repeating itself without end. It’s like looking up at the stars and finding them untouched since the days of your childhood. Sitting here watching the traffic and absent-minded dog walkers, if I hold my breath, I can see her cutting across the field on her way to work, five minutes late for the bus that will take her to the next town over. If I concentrate, I can smell the scent of her freshly washed hair drifting to me in the breeze, and the perfume she would spray on her wrists then rub either side of her neck. Those panda eyes, they shine as bright as they always used to. Such a beautiful creature. Such a funny thought. Time has moved on, but although we now inhabit different bodies in places far from where we once called home, we are as we always were, just like the stars. Just like these ghosts that play out the same routines year in, year out. Without banality it seems, we can’t ever know beauty. Without heavy hearts, the smallest of touches will never reduce us to tears, and it’s in these tears we find ourselves alive and in the midst of strange and curious stories that deserve to be celebrated regardless of how they compare to others. A gust of wind. A flash of knowing brown eyes and a shy half-smile. I’m here, there, everywhere and nowhere. A ghost with no home. A lover in love with what’s real and what’s not.