These Ghosts Remain

“If I walk down this hallway tonight, it’s too quiet. So I pad through the dark, and call you on the phone. Push your old numbers, and let your house ring ’til I wake your ghost.” ~Kristin Hersh

ghost1I often feel like a ghost, living my invisible life, performing my invisible tasks, under the watchful eye of no one. I often feel like I haunt the places I used to go, the people I used to know, and the person I used to be. Because, you see, I’m no where near as solid as I pretend to be, my substance ephemeral and shimmery like the vampires in Twilight when I’m exposed to the light of day.

These lifetimes can swallow us whole if we let them, spitting out our bones when they’re through with us, when we are no longer palatable. I’ve lost at least three of those lifetimes. They are back there in the distance, but they haunt me even now. They sneak up on me when I least expect them, reminding me that I’ve died more than once, that I’m profoundly different now, a specter of who I used to be.

And I can’t help but think that my ghost finding yours out in the ether was no accident. I can’t help but wonder if our translucent souls found each other out of either desperation or sheer force of will. Whatever the reason, I have to thank whoever guides the souls once they’ve passed over from their own lifetime, once they’re left to fend for themselves when we move along.

I met you in this lifetime, in an airport, in the middle of a crowd of others who have been reincarnated after their own deaths, who have all at one time or another been someone else, somewhere else. If not for those lifetimes, if not for that time before this, they would not have been in that airport at that moment, to witness our second meeting. If not for those lifetimes you may not have even been there, smiling tentatively when you looked into my eyes for what we thought was the first time.

But we know better now. We know that ghosts pass in the night, in the daylight, in the harsh twilight that separates flesh from soul and knits it back together again. We know that heaven is just another lifetime where we can make up for our past mistakes, or where we can let them linger, forcing us into submission once more before moving on again. And hell is an excuse to pretend this lifetime is all we have.

Yet your ghost reminds me that everything is not the same, that while we have moved on we still live with the exhalations of our former selves. They still breathe through our lungs when we let them, continuing to exist in our dreams and nightmares, dominating our subconscious, pressing it into submission. These ghosts remain in between the silences, reminding us of what used to be, of what might have been, and of what we moved through on our way here.

These ghosts remain in the shadows, in the corners of our lives, but this is not their lifetime. This is ours.


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