The ghost needs a ride, so you let her in your car. The ghost looks like your old girlfriend; the ghost looks like all your old girlfriends.
Esther, you call her, Georgia, Harriet, and the ghost nods at each name, yes and yes and yes.
The ghost wants to go home. The ghost wants to leave something behind in your car. The ghost wants you to know she is real, she is always real, she has always been real. She is the girl who got in a car and said can you take me home; she is every girl who got in a car and said can you take me home.
The ghost is pale like ice, dark like smoke. The ghost folds her hands in her lap and gazes out the window.
She says: Here, oh, here, looking out the window at someplace you have never been, someplace you will never go, and is gone like smoke, gone like ice, and when you touch the thing she has left behind — a key, a glove, a silver ring — you think of the voice of a girl you had long ago forgotten.
Cathy Ulrich used to always need a ride home when she was younger. Her work has been published in various journals, including Longleaf Review, Moon Park Review and Passages North.