Ghost Writer

“How do I tell them?”

I’m trying to give this client my full attention, she’s saying something about not wanting her parents to think this is their fault, it isn’t, and I’m listening but not. A letter from Joseph arrived this morning. It’s in my desk drawer, underneath my elbows. Joseph is gone, obviously he’s gone—but the letter tells me why, what kind of gone. I finally touched him, and haven’t seen him since.

“How do I tell them?” she asks again. This one’s name is Kristen. I remind myself so I don’t have to ask her again. “So that they’ll understand why I have to do this?”

“One way to help people understand, Kristen, people who don’t feel the same way you do, is to tell them about the weight.” Maxwell Jackson, Ghost Writer. I compose suicide notes for other people for a price.

( … )

The Tusculum Review Vol. 9, Spring 2013