The mountains outside my cabin are covered with snow, blurring the sharp craggy lines, blue in the full moon against a star spangled sky. It's the same sight I see every night as I sit here working or -- like now -- trying to download work and being ignored. There's nothing out there for me to type. I'd rather be in bed, but this is what I signed on for, this is what I need to do to continue working and living and hoping for something better, something more than I have had for the past nine months. I'm tired and lonely and alone, but not for much longer. At least not physically alone. There will be others in the house when I move, soft scrapings and footsteps in the hall, on the other side of the wall, beneath me. I don't know if I can live with people again. I am out of the habit.
The first time I moved from an apartment to a house I didn't sleep for several nights. It was too quiet. No scratchings or fumblings, yelling or snores leaking through the walls, the floors, the ceiling. Just silence. The tick-tick of a light switch from time to time was all I got, a ghost turning the lights on and off as she left and entered rooms. But she was a quiet ghost, just the tick-tick of the light switch is all I ever heard from her. Still, I knew she was there and I wasn't alone.
Other places, other times, and soon I came back into the noise and furtive scramblings and earthy calls of sexual tanglings all around me, back into the midst of civilization, alone and not alone, and then here where the nights are blacker, the stars sharper, brighter, closer, the silence thicker and sometimes smothering, but not alone. Woodpeckers drum me awake. Squirrels chitter and call with the rising sun. Raccoons scratch and scatter when I walk outside to embrace the night and hold it close. Upstairs in the loft, he paces softly, a whisper of sound back and forth, back and forth across the carpet, another ghost, and I'm not alone.
In front of this glowing screen, with the work screen on the other computer behind me waiting to be filled with sound files and words so I can earn my way back to civilization, I work, looking out at the dusky sky toward the mountains, blue with failing night and rising dawn, and wait to be filled. I wait to return to the noise and civilization, to walk away from this cocoon of silence.
Another ghost, George, waits for me in the silence of the new apartment. I wonder how we'll fit together as he goes about his ghostly tasks. He's expecting me, just one person, but there will be another. A visitor who in time will become more, who will come to stay and share my life and whisper to me every night as he holds me in the darkness.
I am not alone. I will never be alone again.