Letters to Stories: Behind “Summer Ghost”

A modern term, being “ghosted” means to be cut out of contact with someone you consider a friend.

By Simon Heywood

Have you ever been friends with someone where you haven’t been friends very long, but you feel like you’ve known them forever even though you met them like six months ago? That type of connection that is so rare, but so deep, and it all happens so fast. Now, have you ever had a friendship like that, and all of a sudden they just drop off the face of the earth, no contact, just complete radio silence? Have you ever had that type of friendship and then all of a sudden they just stop talking to you? They continue posting on social media, their social media posts after the whole “no contacting you” thing are full of cliche “love” quotes, the “cherish your true friends,” type of post and you see that and you can’t help but wonder at the irony of it all?

Summer Ghost was written in the middle of August, after multiple failed attempts of trying to contact a friend. This poem was inspired by a still fresh wound, being left in the dark without knowing what happened between me and this supposed friend of mine. Things were going great between me and this friend. We talked regularly, we checked in here and there, had some good conversations, and she was one of the first people at I met in college I was able to tell my whole life story to, as well as one of my deepest secrets. Over time, we just got closer. It was like having a best friend. Almost. And then some friendship tensions happened in the friend group we were both in, and we still stayed close.

However, when the Spring 2019 semester ended for us college students, things got weird. We at first were normal, and we just talked like normal. And then the summer peaked and it appears our friendship took the opposite direction. Temperatures rose, our friendship spiked. I made contact in the middle of the summer, and was met with being left on read. I tried again, three different times in August, to be left on delivered and read all those times. I couldn’t help but wonder, what happened?

To this day I have no idea what happened between me and this supposed friend of mine. I would try to connect again, but then I’d be slipping back into old habits, playing the beggar in a situation that apparently to everyone else but me, has long since ended. I know sometimes people grow apart and sometimes people just leave. However, when you have a bond like that, one that grew seamlessly and so fast and so deeply, it is hard to let go of. I know people owe each other nothing when they decide to abandon each other.

All I can say to that is that sometimes it sucks to be human. We are driven by our emotions and the sudden disappearance of a really good friend hurts. And the knowledge that people owe us no explanation for leaving our lives doesn’t make the pain go away, nor does it make accepting the departure any easier.

Being left in the dust by someone who said that they would never do that makes the pain fresh every day. Being ghosted by someone who said that they would always support me makes this all feel like another betrayal. I guess I can’t complain too much, because this isn’t the first time I’ve been left in the dust by a friend who said they would support me and would “always be there for me”. People don’t owe us an explanation, but it would be a lot more humane and honorable on their part if they were transparent about their feelings enough, if they were brave enough to even give a warning that they were going to leave. Leaving with no notice just means they have no respect for human decency.

Sometimes you have a hint as to why someone just leaves you. At least then you can rule out the unknown. But it’s just so much worse when a good friend decides to leave you out of the blue, and you have no idea why. It makes you wonder if they ever thought of you as a friend at all, and if they ever valued the bond.

Summer Ghost is out on my Instagram. Poems go live every week on there, usually Sundays or Mondays.

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