What Would You Do If You Died and Came Back as a Ghost?


Photo courtesy of Pexels

Jenna Hackeman, Staff Writer

Something about waking up on the beach and watching my body float away from me in the water really had me reflecting on my surfing abilities.  

Honestly, I don’t think this one’s all on me though. I understand there’s a tropical storm, but that’s really no excuse for the university not to have a lifeguard out here. I would be more annoyed, but I was still processing how and why I couldn’t feel the crunch in the sand or the storm’s pulling wind. On the bright side, I was spared from both the aches and pains of my failed surfing trip and the walk of shame back to my dorm. Floating is way more fun than walking, by the way, but as fun as it was, it didn’t help me with realizing I now had to face the awkwardness that came with being dead. 

That’s not a usual fear many have when they think of death, but it is the truth of it. Unfortunately, once you get past the fun of glowing in the dark, messing with your ex-roommates, and passing through all the walls you want, being a ghost gets very boring. And worse: incredibly lonely.  

So, what do you do when you can’t communicate with the living? You communicate with the dead. And what do you do when you realize you’re the first dead college kid on campus? You try and make another. 

Maybe I should re-word that actually because I don’t mean I try to kill anybody: I’m just curious to see if they can maybe do it themselves.  

Someone may be admiring a gator in the campus pond when suddenly a breeze carries a dollar into the water. A student with a nut allergy may get their vanilla latte order swapped with pistachio. A fraternity enjoying their lunch with sticky fingers might possibly be visited by a disturbed swarm of bees. Ultimately, whether or not I make a new friend in the process is up to chance or fate.  

Today, I’m watching a sorority named after three letters I can’t pronounce and scheming as they set up for tabling. I hover on top of the tent, scoping out opportunities for potential tricks. Suddenly, and impossibly, I surprise myself screaming when someone else does. I was genuinely amazed because it must have been the first time in history a human spooked a ghost. 

I look around as the other girls do and we all trace the noise back to a girl holding a phone close to her face. Four girls that were posing in front of the camera gathered around the phone and all mirrored a similar shocked expression. Eventually, so did I.  

They captured me in the photo. There, right on top of the tent, was see-through me hovering criss-cross applesauce. The majority of students called it photoshop when it got around the school, but others insisted it was genuine when more of me started popping up in pictures. Because from then on, if I saw a camera, I got behind it.  

There was campus-wide commotion over this: nobody knew if it was a strange inside joke or a campus haunting, and the university didn’t like not knowing. Chaos ensued. 

Students photoshopped me in their graduation pictures, dressed up as me for Halloween, and formed a club to debate theories– I was more popular dead than I had ever been alive.  

I don’t have a grasp of time anymore, but this had gone on for so long the university eventually started selling me on t-shirts and backpacks. The delirium I caused was both surprising and overwhelming, but mostly heartwarming: too much for me to pull any tricks more extreme than ruining a student’s sunset picture.  

It’s so strange appreciating the living for how they make you feel dead. Nobody tells you that just because you’re dead, that doesn’t mean you have to die: you just have to keep the havoc of life alive to stay alive.

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