Last night I had trouble getting to sleep. There was a young couple whom I think might be moving into the newly painted ground floor apartment next door and they were there until late, surveying the rooms. Cupboard doors banged shut, windows went up and down, they were calling to each other in short excited bursts of conversation. They weren’t loud or offensive in any way but I kept dropping off in the pauses then waking again when their talk resumed. After they left, in the hot silence, mosquitoes began to buzz me. Why do they wait until you are trembling upon the edge of oblivion before descending? Or rather, why don’t they wait until you are properly asleep? I couldn’t be bothered switching on the light and hunting them down so turned the fan on instead. They can’t navigate in the agitated currents of air . . . anyway, I got them both, both blood-filled, this morning. Then I did fall asleep, only to wake in fright, an indeterminate time later: there was someone in the room. Even though the door was closed. A young girl, standing before the dresser just an arm’s length from the bed. Wearing a short flounced skirt, some kind of jacket with wide lapels, and an odd hat, perhaps woolen, with ear pieces – like one of those Bolivian knitted helmets. Maybe twelve years old. I cried out: Who’s there? Reached out my hand, for some reason, towards her, and found only air. As I did this, the vision dissolved. I saw the solid square wooden outline of the dresser reappear through her diaphanous being. I wasn’t afraid, exactly; alarmed rather. Astonished. She was like a figure from a dream but manifest in real world space, real time. I did not see her face. I did not feel any malevolence from her towards me, nor any actual threat. Rather she seemed to emanate a kind of longing or perhaps I mean a sort of melancholy forbearance at her inability to cross over from whatever dimension she inhabits into the domain of the living. A ghost, then. But what is a ghost? A mere projection of my own consciousness, or unconsciousness? Or something that has an existence, a presence, beyond anything my mind might be capable of manifesting? Very strange. And then there came the wish that she might have stayed a little longer, that I might have been able to question her questionable shape . . . foolish speculation. But I cannot avoid the thought that, having found whatever way she took into my space, this space, that way must now remain in some sense open, or more open than it was before. That she, or others like her, may return. That she will continue to haunt, not just my sleep, but my waking too.