I don’t think it really hit home that I was moving out for good until the man came to fix my doorbell. This guy was a magician; he was on some real David Blaine shit. He laced two frayed wires together and snapped a neat little plastic box over the tangled electronics and when he was all done, he poked his head around the corner and asked me if I wanted to do the honors—which meant pushing the button. Now all of a sudden I was the one performing. What’s the right way to ring your own doorbell? Do you press it down with your index finger, or do you mash it flat with your thumb? I smothered it with the palm of my hand, like I was trying to muffle a scream. The sound echoed through the house in a way that let me know how empty it was.
I’ve lived in tons of places, but I’ve never moved into any of them. My bags are always packed because I never unpacked them to begin with. Leave your mark, but take it with you—that’s my motto. Here, I’ll show you what I mean. Follow me downstairs. Now look at the carpet. Show me the exact spot where a five-hundred-pound widescreen Japanese TV sat for twenty years. You can’t find it, can you? The carpet has smoothed out on its own. It’s sprung back into its original shape, like a lawn that’s spent an entire winter buried under snow. Now do you understand how eager our surroundings are to forget we ever existed?
Maybe I’ll come back and haunt this place. Not sure I want to haunt a whole-ass house, though. Maybe I’ll haunt something more manageable, like a bottle of Herbal Essences shampoo or a George Foreman grill or a Jet Li DVD that’s always stuck on the start menu. Want to know what I think? We don’t even have to wait to die to become ghosts. We got ghosts sloughing off us all the time, like dead skin.
So if you ever get lonely in here, just turn off all the lights and wait for a me-shaped phantom to materialize. You’ll know the spirit is mine from the way its feet won’t ever touch the floor.