Jane pulled her jacket closer, chiding herself for not bringing a scarf. She heard the plunge of footsteps into pavement, and the whimsical whispers of poetry. “Here, above, cracks in the buildings are filled with battered moonlight ...” Nathan settled himself on the concrete wall beside her, legs dangling off the edge.
Twenty feet below, the seething river lay eerily calm, an abject abyss of darkness. The mist was beginning to form. Silence hung around them like sheets draped on a clothes line. The air was cold, the wind was still. It was the perfect time for Ghosting. In November, the river froze, and by March the walls were crowded with spectators. It was too frigid, too dark and dangerous these late autumn days for people to venture out. Jane repressed a shiver. Nathan continued, softly, “ ... He does not see the moon; he observes only her vast properties, feeling the queer light on his hands, neither warm nor cold ” he paused, “Are you cold? Here, have my coat.”
“No.” Jane’s long, tightly wound ponytail added emphasis to the shake of her head. “I’m fine.”
“Do you like the poem?”
Jane gave an apathetic shrug.
“It’s called “Manmoth” by Elizabeth Bishop. It was mom’s favourite.” Nathan rattled on. Jane did not fiend a reply.
Down the river she saw them, at first, nothing more than ripples in the fog, but they grew, morphed, gained shapes, faces, legs, arms, eyes. Their silent mouths opened and closed as they drifted by. Jane took out her notebook. Nathan stared at the procession, barely blinking, continuing his incessant murmurs. “ ... he thinks the moon is a small hole at the top of the sky ...” Jane always pitied him. They had been Ghosting for six years now, and always, Nathan would hope, and always, he would be let down. It wasn’t like Jane hadn’t tried. She’d tried explaining it to him, the science, the revolution, the reason for these rituals. Every time, Nathan brushed her aside with an abstraction of poetry and “You can’t fight faith, Jane.”
Jane didn't care. These days, it was the only thing to be truly dead.