Julian took a sip of water.

He kept the glass on the table and moved his attention to the screen of his laptop. He was attempting to write a short piece on a character. He only wrote three lines when he opened a new tab and logged into his Twitter account.

I just can’t understand women, he typed and closed the page.

He wrote another line, then took a sip of water.

Occasionally, he glanced at his notebook. He had jotted down in it in a neat, cursive hand, exercises that would train him to write better. He was currently reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. The book had inspired him to practice writing. He had so far, written a piece on School Lunch and a piece called The Temple’s Light.

He took a sip of water again.

Julian was a 28-year-old living in a tattered apartment in the city. He had recently resigned from his employment and had been without a job for a month. Particularly hopeful, he had applied to a few work-from-home jobs. The one reply that he had received went to his email’s trash bin.

After that, he did not apply.

Standing just over five feet, Julian had a Master’s degree to himself and had a work experience of five years. He had tried hard to enter grad school but by the end of the course, had become disillusioned. He had read Frantz Fanon, Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, Bell Hooks, and even Michel Foucault. He had learned from each of them valuable principles about life, freedom and justice.

But, Julian wanted love and he wanted to be published.

He emptied his glass and wondered whether he should get up now to refill.

A shadow walks across the room. There were two other shadows like this one. Three ghosts living in his apartment with him. Only one of them troubled him, he was immune to the other two.

He continued to write stopping only to allow the flow in his mind. When he stopped writing, he would look at the table lamp or at the display board in front of his writing desk. A friend’s wedding was upcoming as the post-it read. He had also documented the number of hours he had meditated this month. There were also brilliant …

He turned the notebook’s pages to find the word he was looking for.

short saying which is self-explained truth

The Google search displays Aphorism. He is not satisfied but soon accepts it. He learns that the word itself originated in the 16th century. He is enchanted how the word – aphorism – has  stayed on, to be searched by him in the 21st century.

Books on the other table move. Julian knows one of the ghosts is in the room. Soon after, the television is turned on. This is too ordinary for him. The door to the almirah opens and then the room’s door.

He has always wondered how old were the ghosts living in his apartment. The apartment itself was no older than sixty years and had been handed down to the landlady after the country’s independence. Julian himself had moved in only eight years ago.

He knew of the ghosts’ presence from the first night he moved in. At first, he was worried and even disturbed. There were nights when he couldn’t sleep. The television set was used by two ghosts frequently playing soap-dramas through the night. Over time though, he had learned to mask their presence.

Now, they are just a nuisance, he thinks. At least, people do not come see him at his apartment because of them. That pays off not wanting to be social.

Most of his friends were now married and were fathers to two-year-olds. They text him sometimes but they haven’t met in years now. He doesn’t think about them.

The ceiling fan turns on in the next room.

A headache is now forming inside Julian’s head. He looks at the time.


690 words. Not bad, he thinks.

He had wanted to write a short piece on a character. And, there he had it.

He logged into his Twitter account again. Done.


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