"You were, you were running around Riverside Park without any shoes and I kept thinking, 'Jesus Christ, she's gonna step on a needle or something', but you didn't, you were fine... how did you do that? How were you always okay? There you were, high out of your mind just, skipping around the grass and you were happy, you were always so happy. How did you do that?" "Because I never cared, I never cared about anything. I didn't give a fuck about you then, did you know that? I had to learn to love you, that night I was flirting with everyone at that party and I didn't feel guilty about it because I wasn't a we, I was still a me. You did it though, you made me love you and then you left me. Sure, you were still there but... you left me and I had to make myself okay again after that. I had to accept your instability, I had to accept that you were fallible." "You can't, you can't blame this on me. You were too much, you were clawing at me and I was just trying to li-" "See, every time I start to rethink everything- I remember. I remember the day you told me I wasn't first on your list and I forgive myself a little more each time. Because you were first on mine. You weren't ready, I was just... I guess I was looking for wedding bells. This was never your fault and it wasn't mine. I needed electricity or magnets, something strong that wouldn't ever let go." "You wanted magnets, you had them. You had fucking industrial magnets." "If I did, we wouldn't be having this conversation Jake, I had to let go." "Don't you dare fucking speak to me about letting go, you're the one who left. You're the one who went off and died and made it my fault." "You're still checking the grass for needles, aren't you?" "And you're still haunting me." "I would stop if I knew how. Things might have been different if you had stayed." "I could say the same to you."
The carpet smelled like smoke which was understandable, he's found that almost all things smell like smoke when you're pressed so close to them. Maybe everything in the word is made up of the particles, maybe he's smoke as well. So, he lays on his own rug and tries to remember how much it cost. See, he can visualize the 'sale' sign, he can imagine every aspect of the highlighter yellow background or the stupid smiling face graphic. The price, the price is the only thing he no longer can see, well, that and June's face. Perhaps she was excited for it, perhaps she was pensive, maybe it took her fifteen minutes to decide or fifteen seconds or maybe she wasn't even there at all. Maybe she was never there. Maybe he had bought it during her depression, after the miscarriage. Maybe he had bought it to make her smile but, thinking back, a red rug wouldn't have been the kindest gift. She had probably seen blood in it, she had probably seen the streak running down her leg or the sheets at 3 a.m. He supposes that it doesn't matter much anymore and lays face-down on the carpet for hours straight, just trying to remember the price tag or the store or her face- anything would suffice. He hears the door and doesn't get up but rather turns his face to the side with still shut eyes.
"I think it was thirty dollars"
"It was twenty and you bought it after I killed our baby."
"God, June, you didn't... you couldn't have..."
"But that's what you always thought, wasn't it? If only I'd been more careful, if only I'd taken the prenatal vitamins. The drug companies poison them, Jake! They inject them with diseases and then vaccinate children years later. It's a scam, it's all a scam and who profits? Pharmaceuticals, they would have made our precious baby boy into a guinea pig, autism! Downs syndrome! It's a scam, it's all a plot to make their way into our homes and turn our children against us, I couldn't let it happen, I couldn't let-" He turns, screams louder than he thought he would.
"Enough!" His anger settles as silt at the bottom of the conversation, the red heat cools to gray[everything is gray]. "I never thought... I never thought it was your fault."
"Oh Jake," condescending and slick with pity, "you can't hide from the dead. I know everything, I know that little whore from the lab. You taught her good, didn't you? Did you teach her physics while you were poun-"
"Jesus fucking christ! Enough! Why the... why are you even here." And his head drops to his hands, a thousand pounds, his palms- a magnet. Suddenly, the ghost backs away, hands up in defense and her eyes grow wider than the good china.
"Who... who are you? I don't know you!" She darts to the corner of the room and pulls the lamp from the socket. Raises it, "why are you in my house, I don't know you!" They've become a domestic virus cycle, continually infecting each other, continually poisoning and vaccinating. "Oh, dear. Jake, I'm sorry... I just, I'm sorry." She places the lamp back on the table and shimmers a bit, flickers as a dying bulb. "Do you smell something? Smoke? Here, I'll light a candle."