If I owned a flashlight, I would hold it up under my chin to make my face look all spooky as I tell this story.
I met this ghost, let's call him Beetlejuice, when I first moved to Philadelphia five years ago. I was making my way through the packed, sweaty crowd on Silk City's dance floor when Beetlejuice grabbed me by the arms and kissed me on my lips. Let me tell you, it got my attention. Flustered, I stammered out, "Do I know you?"
He grinned. "Now you do. My name is Beetlejuice." This man before me had straight black hair and was wearing a navy pea coat buttoned all the way up to his chin. His eyes were the color of typewriter ink and they twinkled under the dimmed lights of the bar. Whoosh! I was hooked.
Pulling me close, he said, "What are you doing after this? I'm heading to the Ruba. You should come."
Seeing as I was new to town, I didn't know where/who/what the Ruba was and I wasn't about to go chase after him like Alice scooting after the White Rabbit (that's not my style.) So I told him something noncommittal and walked away. I figured I'd leave it up to fate; if we were meant to be then I'd surely run into him again.
The next time I saw Beetlejuice, I was at a house party in Fishtown a few months later. When he walked into the room, time stood still. Flashing me a wide smile, he said "How are you doing, Anna?" I didn't recognize him at first because his hair had grown out a bit so I squinted while I tried to place his face.
"Oh, yes. We met at Silk City. Riiiiight," I smiled back. We ended up talking for quite a while. He had an expansive vocabulary which delighted me. He complimented me on my skirt; I swooned.
Since it was almost sunrise, I offered to give him a ride home, which he enthusiastically accepted. Parked in front of his house, he sealed the evening with a kiss as he went upstairs to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. Wait, what? A GIRLFRIEND? It was like the needle skidded off the record when he told me. This whole time I had no idea he had a girlfriend. And thus began the ghost ride.
Every few months I would run into him while I was out. We would always gravitate towards each other, chatting up a storm. Without fail he would say, "Why don't you ever call me?" And, I would reply, "Well, you have a girlfriend, my dear. I don't feel comfortable calling you" and would leave it at that.
One night, he straight-up emoted to me, saying that I was the sweetest, most beautiful girl he had met in years. He went on and on, saying how much he loved smelling my hair, how he loved being around me, how fantastic he thought I was. But--and there's always a but--he just couldn't leave his girlfriend to be with me because it would hurt her too much. I was frustrated, but tried to understand.
So when he changed his status from "In A Relationship" to "Single" on Friendster a year later (remember when we used to use Friendster?), I was thrilled. Yes! Now, I could finally be with Beetlejuice. Holding hands, frolicking in the park, eating dinner at nice restaurants, cuddling in front of a fireplace; it would all be mine soon.
We made plans to meet up for drinks, but he canceled at the last minute. I frowned pretty hard. I didn't get it. When he was in a relationship, all he wanted to do was see me, but now that he was single, he was dragging his feet. After that, he pretty much disappeared off the face of the earth. Shrug.
Well, I ran into him about a year ago and we ended up closing the bar down and talking into the wee hours of the morning. So, I invited him over for dinner that week: "Pick a night, any night, and I'm all yours." He picked Thursday at 7pm. It was just perfect.
So, Thursday arrived and I went grocery shopping and picked up two bottles of wine. I couldn't believe that Beetlejuice was actually coming over to my place for our first official date! After so many years of me wanting this to happen, I was ecstatic. It felt like when Angela and Tony finally got together on Who's the Boss.
Well, around 4pm he texted me: "Working late. Will keep you posted." Um, Ok. At 5:15pm: "I have band practice tonight at 10. May need to cut dinner short. Sorry!" At 6:30pm: "Won't get out of work until 8. Raincheck?"
What annoyed me most was that he picked the night! This was supposed to be the most convenient time for him. I looked around at my apartment full of fresh groceries and let out a heavy sigh. I wanted to punch him in his crap lousy face.
Needless to say, I drank one of the bottles of wine by myself that night. I was totally crestfallen. Why is Philly full of these ghost dudes that float in and out of your life like that Forrest Gump feather? What gives? This ghost needs to be captured inside some genie bottle and thrown off the side of a boat!