A Most Welcome Visitor


I was nineteen when he visited for the first time. It was very late and the bedroom was pitch black.

“Miles,” he whispered. “Miles. Can you hear me?”

My eyes were wide but only darkness met them. I couldn’t see who was talking.

“Yes,” I whispered back.

“A few more years,” he cooed into my left ear. “Just wait another few years and you’ll learn who I am.”

I reached out, trying to touch the producer of the voice. My hands grabbed the air. I turned over and groped for the bedside lamp and flipped the switch. Pale light poured into the bedroom. I was alone.

I didn’t realize at the time that that would be a constant. A theme.

It’s now been eighteen years since I was visited that night. I’ve spent it by myself.

I wish I could call those years happy and productive. They were, in fact, the opposite. I am depressed. Unemployable. “Mentally ill,” is the official term that lets me collect money for doing nothing but sit at home all day.

Well, not quite nothing.

I daydream. I fantasize about the man who spoke to me that night. I picture him swooping in and knocking on my door, bringing riches and surprises that would heal my ruined psyche. He’d be my guardian angel; a heavenly respite from my day-to-day misery.

For nearly two decades, those dreams went unrealized.

Until last night. Continue reading “A Most Welcome Visitor”

The Incident at the Train Station

Jan and I got there seconds after it happened. People were still shouting with surprise and dismay. The body lay in tatters on the tracks.

“Oh God,” Jan whispered. “That poor man.”

“What happened?” I asked the guy next to me.

“Suicide,” the guy said. “He hopped off the platform right when the train was coming by.”

“Christ,” I muttered. I wondered what our options were. There’d obviously be a delay while the police and paramedics attended to the scene. From the looks of it, Jan and I were going to be late for our friends’ wedding in New York that evening; people were already scooping up the remaining taxis to take to their destinations. It looked like we’d be stuck there for a while. Continue reading “The Incident at the Train Station”