Alone with ghostly company

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There are ghosts in my apartment, I swear. 

But they seem friendly, I think.

I’ve named him “Colin the Friendly Jost,” after the infamous “SNL” Weekend Update co-anchor, and I suppose that maybe he’s haunting my apartment because he’s looking for his Scarlett Ghosthansson. I can’t fault him for that, right? 

It’s just me and Josty the Ghosty in my apartment. 

We do everything together. We cry, eat, sleep and cry all over again with only one another’s companionship. But despite his presence, it can get pretty lonely living alone, even with Josty there — he’s invisible, you see. 

Even though Josty gives me his 2 cents on everything, ranging from what I should eat for dinner — sandwich or quesadilla — to whether I should finally fold my laundry, the silence in my apartment can sometimes be deafening. Over time, some of the time turned into all of the time.

There are moments when the loud sounds reverberating off of the colorful homes onto the cracked pavements of the lively Berkeley streets can make the quiet in my roommate-free apartment that much quieter. 

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love a good night to myself, somber and quiet. 

But when that quiet becomes silence and my independence becomes loneliness, the positives start to look an awful lot like negatives.

Venturing out of my not-so-small city and coming to the hustle and bustle that is a college town like Berkeley, I was expecting my life to be anything but silent. Sure, I could have predicted that it would be quiet and a bit hushed at times — but definitely not silent.

As I began my first semester between the four walls of my apartment, acts of independence such as lugging tote bags of groceries from Trader Joe’s and making sure my doors were locked before I slept were the highlights of my existence. I was an adult, and while I still didn’t quite feel that way mentally, I sure as hell looked like one.

Actually, I feel that an amendment is necessary. I am definitely not an adult — I have an imaginary friend named Josty the Ghosty for crying out loud; my sincerest apologies to Josty. 

When I started living alone, it was as though I was playing house and pretending to be something I’m really not. Maybe the sudden independence was a facade because it felt unusual and immaterial. I lived almost the entirety of my life in my family home, and suddenly, growing wings and flying 400 miles away was jarring if not practically horrifying. 

And coming home to a home where a pin drop could be heard was even worse. 

Until it wasn’t. 

I think I’ve gotten somewhat used to it. Lugging home groceries by myself has become a therapeutic experience. I bring home flowers and a baguette and pretend I’m living alone in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. Or maybe I’m bringing some warm scones and ginger peach tea back to my South London flat. 

My fake independence has started to feel very real. In the weirdest of terms, I have finally realized I am a person. 

In the silence of my lonely four walls, I have found myself — and as cheesy as it sounds, it’s kind of amazing. 

I have discovered what I like, what I don’t, how to manage my own space and how to be alone without being lonely. 

And while Josty the Ghosty might still be looking for his beloved Scarlett Ghosthansson, he seems happy enough that I — in all of these months of lonesome — have found my perfect companion: me.

Maria Khan is a sports deputy editor. Contact her at [email protected]