I hear his ragged fingernails scratching at the door. I know they are dirty. Bits of his last host are deeply imbedded underneath them. He wants me to answer the door. He tries the bell. He knocks. I hear him breathing on the other side. I tell him he's got it all wrong.
I'm not depressed, I tell him. I'm sad. I'm disappointed. There's a difference. He doesn't take no for an answer. Prime target, he thinks. Easy to pull under.
He knows he's been let in before. He remembers a whole series written about him. He remembers I gave him a name. "Uninvited Guest." He knows he's been let in before.
He likes spending time with my husband. He sits next to him on the leather couch and helps him with his crossword puzzle. My husband does his crossword puzzle in pen. The Strong Silent Type is one of his biggest challenges. They have an ongoing thing, he and my husband. They sit quietly together.
When he came for my girl, I railed and raged against him. He was relentless. Two years later, he taps at her window with his raggedy nail. He always has one eye on her. But she almost never looks up.
This time the tap on the door is for me. He knows I'm not easy. I went with him once. When my mother died. I went with him for a while. He found me in that crumpled heap under the covers and made himself at home right next to it. He knew it was more than mourning a death. It was mourning a life. He had so much to feed on. Mother disowns daughter! Daughter has beloved child! Mother dies without meeting/acknowleging beloved child! Mother dies. Daughter goes to the dark place. Years of sad come bubbling up to the surface.
Those were good years for him. He had so much to work with.
Today I sit on the leather couch. I hear his ragged fingernails scratching at the door.
I remind him we only had a one time thing. I'm a glass half-full kind of person. It was only that one time. It was only that one time I let you pull me under. Held me under. I won't go back there. That black abyss. That place with no air. That place where I couldn't remember how to breathe.
I'm not going with you.
I am firm.
He is patient.