There is a table in the corner of a small cafe where The Writer sits. It is a table for two, but one seat always remains empty, waiting.
The table is next to a bookcase. The books there are dusty, but not forgotten. They have earned their dust. The ghosts would agree.
The ghosts often sit in the empty chair, listening. Nodding sympathetically when they’re not nodding off. They understand the dust. Sometimes they draw their names in it.
“It’s not easy,” they whisper. “This writing thing.”
The Writer often responds aloud. “You’re telling me.” Someone at a nearby table will glance over, then quickly look away. A stymied writer is more frightening than ghosts.
The Writer spends a lot of time staring at the books. Dreaming. Worrying. Lost. Frustrated. Wondering how to get there from here.
“Don’t worry about there,” the ghosts will whisper. “Just work on the here.”
The Writer doesn’t always listen to the ghosts. Or trust them. When she doesn’t, the table is just a table like any other, a resting place for coffee that’s just a drink and a laptop that’s just a distraction.
But when she listens – when she hears – the table becomes a place of magic. The coffee is elixer. The computer is a portal. The ghosts drum their fingers and the words dance.
If someone looks over then, into the alchemy, they won’t turn away. They can’t. Instead, they pause, attentive to mystery. Curious, aching to know. Longing for story.
Then The Writer will look up to the bookcase, to the name scribbled in the dust – their own – and smile.
“Not yet,” she will say. “But soon.”
Because The Writer is writing.