Though he'd never been a bon vivant, Ezra had never felt as much as a ghost as he did these days. He worked, went out if he had to, talked. He sat in trams, smiled absently at cashiers, and replied to messages but all of it felt unreal. Actions on his part were reduced to an absolute minimum. He moved as little as he could, fueled no discussions. Just like people imagine spirits moving among the living, barely heard or seen, he mostly read and watched - messages, books, blogs, people, movies. When someone joked about him "finally leaving his cave", his smiles in reply were weak - he knew better. Ezra took his cave with him, wherever he went, existing in a half dormant state, watching the world around him move like Plato's shadows. He felt like he couldn't perceive anything without adding extra context - reality needed to be turned into film, or the pain of it would be overpowering.
He quietly and carefully added a score, wherever he went, his headphones being his surreptitious little conspirators. It's just a movie, Ezra, they seemed to whisper. There's a plot. It'll end. Never looking to the sides, his eyes were a camera, carefully choosing and framing what he needed to see: concrete beneath his feet, the hesitant, abstract movements of his fingers as they performed their mundane tasks, pressing buttons, grabbing things. He added subtext here and there - light was never just light, it was a mood, a mood he liked to think set the tone for everyone who happened to stumble into the shots his mind created continously.
His presence was elusive. He went to one place yet it felt like an entirely different one, almost automatically. Events had to be turned into filmic moments, composed, controlled. Everything redundant had to be edited out mercilessly. Even to himself, Ezra felt like he wasn't there, like a bodiless artificial intelligence, unable to piece himself together to a simple human being. When did the mechanism stop functioning, he wondered as he forced himself to stare at his reflection in a shop window as he waited for a bus. When did he become a ghost, created of denial and numbness, dissociated from the person he was supposed to be?
At a time like this, he greatly appreciated diving into real films and books. They meant that someone elses mind was at work crafting and plotting, weaving a soft story bed to sink his restless mind into, to forget. He'd noticed caring more about the concerns of fictional characters than about his own life, and although that positively couldn't be healthy, he relished it, bathed in the absence of himself in his own story.
Not all was well, though: His alternative universe had to be computed 24/7 and the powers of his brain were getting exhausted. There were times when he almost blacked out in the middle of a street, simply because he was so thoroughly fatigued by thinking, and thinking, and thinking. All that processing was getting too much. But just like an old computer, he could do nothing but shut down shortly before overheating. There seemed to be no way out. Somehow, through all this imagining, he had gotten so out of touch with his human self that it seemed lost to him. There were moments when he realised that hours had passed and he didn't remember what he had been doing all the time.
One day, ultimately, he couldn't remember how he'd found himself sitting on a bench outside in the pouring rain, with his eyes closed, feeling absolute quiet, like some higher power had scooped him up to check what the hell was wrong, why ezra.exe had stopped working. The rain was overwhelming. Water splashed down from somewhere up above, smashing onto the bare skin of his face, soaking his hair and clothes, awakening his senses to the perception of pure physicality. He was, indeed, made of flesh. He felt it. The water almost hurt, in a fantastic way. The ghost in him had retreated, not trying to make sense of the rain, and all that was left in Ezra was the realisation that he existed, he was someone you could see, and touch. A material being, there was a chance for him to make it out back into the material world; a human with a name and a body and a life to live.