It was a dark and eerie night in Greenwich Village in New York City. The night was chilly for October -- too chilly. A murky fog filled the air as leaves violently rustled in the frigid wind. The full moon's orange glow vaguely illuminated the buildings, quietly beckoning drifters into the darkness. I can still taste the cherry ESOS on my lips and hear the deafening shrieks of bodega cats in the distance.
It was Halloween 2013. A night that rattled my being. A night that changed my soul. A night that will haunt my life forever.
Just three months prior, I was a completely different person living a completely different life. I met Connor during Memorial Day weekend in Montauk. We met at Surf Lodge on Friday and he invited my clique and I to stop by his pool party Saturday.
He was crushing a Bud Light in his American flag ('Merica) Chubbies, strutting around the pool to Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark." Abruptly, he paused mid-chorus and lifted his Ray-Bans, locking his eyes with mine. He extended his hand and I couldn't help but giggle at the sight of his quirky Casio Calculator watch. I grabbed his hand and he pulled me towards him like I was his Courteney Cox. Time seemed to stand still. We spent the entire day together, falling asleep in one another's arms as we watched his favorite movie, Caddyshack. And just like that, we had a fire started from a spark.
I'd never fallen so fast. The combination of summer breezes, sensuous hot tub sessions and generously-liquored mixed drinks is a hell of an aphrodisiac, and our summer fling became a full-blown romance back in the city.
Around Labor Day, his behavior became strange and erratic. Things didn't feel the same -- he wasn't the same.
When I spoke, he dazed off, like he was possessed by something soulless and evil. His text response time became longer and longer and the messages gradually became shorter and shorter until they were just one letter -- "K."
I was scared. Who was this person? This wasn't my Connor. This was a bro-ciopath.
Then it happened, in September. The rapture. The day he vanished from existence.
I texted him: No response.
I needed answers to his mysterious disappearance, so I went to research at Starbuck's. Instagram, LinkedIn, Vine, Facebook, Twitter: No recent activity. I Googled, scoured Venmo, swiped Tinder endlessly, checked Snapchat scores and creeped every one of his friends, family members and mutual acquaintances. I found nothing.
I had heard urban legends of this happening to young singles before -- one day a person in a seemingly happy, normal courtship just evaporates, poof, never to be heard from again. But I never believed in ghosts. How can someone just disappear into thin air? Where did he go?
At night I was haunted by his presence, awakening in cold sweats from the echoing ding of his late-night texts on my phone.
But when I looked at my phone, nothing was there.
As any person seeking spiritual cleansing would do, I went to Soul Cycle. This was a new beginning. I was rebirthed into a world without him and I was ready to carpe Halloween the only way I knew how -- with a full on bowl cut and turtleneck (à la Jimmy Fallon's Tight Pants).
I was standing by the dewy window in the Village Tavern when outside, I saw a familiar silhouette lurking from the alley. The terrifying shadow slowly inched closer, golf club in hand, face masked by a green 2010 Master's cap.
Caddyshack, I mumbled under my breath. Heart racing. Hands trembling. Sweat pouring. "Connor, Connor," I shuddered, voice rising hysterically. My friends stared at me, then gave a cordial once-over glance around the bar. I could sense sympathy, boredom, annoyance and disbelief, but not fear, which is what I was feeling.
"Seriously, he's not there."
"Saying his name won't bring him back."
The ghost entered the bar. I couldn't believe my eyes. Chills covered my body and I could feel the blood leaving my face. I ran to the bathroom and did everything a girl seeing the ghost of a bro who literally Houdinied out of her bed would do:
- Primp bowl cut.
- Apply kiwi-mango lip gloss.
- Cut turtleneck into deep V.
- Dry tears and look like I'm having the best night ever and haven't even thought of him, because girls just wanna have fun.
- Talk to every semi-attractive bro around.
- Look desirable in a bowl cut.
- Recite positive affirmations and inspirational Insta-quotes.
- Think, "What Would Patrick Swayze Do?"
- Think, "What Would Betty White Do?"
- Think, "What Would Alec Baldwin Do?"
- Curse my bowl cut.
- Blasphemy. I love my bowl cut.
- What? I might be drunk. I've been in the bathroom for more than 10 minutes. I still look the same. They're gonna think I have an addiction or I have an upset tummy.
- Neither of those are true-ish.
- I do have to use the bathroom. Why did I wear this full length turtleneck?
- I am hungry. I want an Eggo, blueberry, as if there is any other choice. However, if there really isn't any other option, I will take any flav Eggo.
- I guess I should go back out there.
- Here I go.
- One last look in the mirror for motivational pep talk: "Bowl cut you look like a freshly groomed equestrian horse's tail -- I love you, clear eyes, full shots, can't lose. Kiss the mirror" ... Oh shoot that last part was supposed to be an action item. -- *kiss the mirror*
When I walked out of the bathroom, the ghoul was creepily gliding in my direction, his presence cutting straight through me (and my beautiful horse's mane of a bowl cut). I could feel the ice from his cold, dead heart. I watched in stunned horror as girls dressed as sexy little purring cats (what my parents would call "daddy issues"... meow ...) surrounded him, thrusting their bodies together to the music in what appeared to be the Satanic cult ritual of D.T.F.
It was all too much to handle. I checked my pulse, readjusted my bowl cut and took five (five) Fireballl shots.
Wherever I stumbled that night, I felt the presence of the ghost hovering behind me. If I needed a shot, the ghost was right there paying for it. I stopped by late-night karaoke at Sing Sing on 5th and A and the ghost was moaning breathy back-up to my rendition of P. Swayze's mega jam "She's Like the Wind." I needed a double slice of broccoli cheddar cheese with buffalo chicken, the ghost was hollering for a side of ranch.
I woke up the next morning overcome with an sinister sensation I couldn't shake -- something bad had happened here last night. It all must have been a blackout dream, I reassured myself. Slowly, as if guided by some otherworldly spirit, I turned and looked at my nightstand. There lay a familiar quirky watch. Outside my bedroom door I heard shuffling and felt the ground shake. I threw the covers over my head, laid completely still, eyes shut, holding my breath.
I heard the door creak open and then -- BOOM -- slam shut.
There I was, shaken to my core, having to barter his Casio Calculator watch for Plan B, which got me thinking:
- Why does a ghost have to tell time?
- Isn't time eternal in the afterlife?
- How does a ghost even wear a watch?
- Is Casper still a virgin?
Afterwards, I felt a sense of peace rush over me. The ghost was gone, and this time I was sure he would not return.
The Ghosting changed me forever. Yet I know I am not alone. There are millions of others who have experienced the haunting of the most evil type of ghost -- the brost (bro-ghost).
If you haven't... beware... or don't, whatever, get some, you're only young once.