Friday, February 17, 2012

Old Ghosts

          I had actually planned on skipping this week. I had a long night, and a terrible day in bed recovering. Somewhere in the back of my head, however, the voice of my friend Jenny was nagging at me for shirking what is something that I enjoy doing (no matter how difficult it can be at times) and that I have promised, at least to myself, that I would get done every week. I've been working on two stories lately, and they are both proving to be a little more difficult than intended. The first is a rewrite of a story I wrote almost eight years ago, and I didn't anticipate the... emotions... involved with the undertaking. In a way that story was oddly prophetic of the years to come in my life. It's cathartic, in a way. I know that a lot of the details won't shine through in the story, but I feel like my experiences are helping me paint a better picture. The whole ordeal just leaves me drained every time, so it's slow going to re-open old (and sometimes not-so-old) wounds. The other story is presenting a whole other host of challenges, in that it is presumably a sequel. I've never had the opportunity to do a sequel before, having (in the past) finished so few stories before. I think the biggest problem I'm having with it is making sure I don't step on the toes of the previous story. It's unique, but it definitely slows the progress considerably.
          It's all a bit of an echo, but that seems to be par for the course lately.

          “It seems like a lot of old ghosts have been cropping up lately” I told her, “I've found it easier to embrace them than to keep them at bay.”

          Echo, echo, it always comes back. It's a lesson I've had to learn over and over again. The past year alone has itself been a giant leap, an echo of people and things past. I know I talk about 'the last year' and 'the last few years' quite a bit, but I think these are important things. I have tried to close entire chapters in my life, but the truth is, life is not a book. It certainly is a story. My mindset as an avid reader and writer works to separate it out into these cohesive chunks, but the truth is that the experiences and emotions of our past are sometimes changed by what happens in the here and now. The biggest reason I focus on the last year or two is because my life literally took a lot of turns I never expected, and from the way even just the past month has been, it's going to continue doing so.
          I avoided a lot of people for a very long time. The funny thing is, the people I have tended to avoid are the people that have been closest to me in my life. Then again, I've also been on the flip-side of this recently, of trying to re-establish a relationship with someone who dodges me at every turn. I understand their reasons, but it hurts nonetheless. I've had to do a lot of walking in other's shoes lately, of confronting the reality of situations which I've been party to both sides of the issue. It's a difficult process.

          I could imagine the look on her face as she replied. “You keep calling me an old ghost, I feel like it's a bad thing.” I could sense the bit of vulnerability in her words, of apprehension. It's been so long since I saw that side of her, and I missed it immediately.
          “The jury is still out on whether it's good or bad” was all I could stand to say.

           Echo, I thought, as I thought of those sweet, scant few days in the bitter winter, seven years ago, and here it is again with the sides reversed. I was the one alone, in a foreign place, and now I'm home. The winter was biting and cold, and now it seems its jaws are nearly withdrawn for the season.
          I know I have a penchant for over-romanticizing my life, and my thoughts, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I like to believe that with every day of bitterness, every night where I force myself into solitude over a thing that isn't quite right, it will pay off. When I find (again) that place where I can connect, that place where I can let my guard down, that the rewards will be well worth it. We all have to earn our scars, and it's so self-righteous for me to believe i've been through enough, especially when I can think back to the days where I boasted about a high tolerance for pain.
          I can see now how this tolerance has been broken down, how beaten and broken this wall is. But just like bones mend stronger, like scars heal thicker, so will this make me stronger.

          “I had thought about asking before, but I thought you would just hesitate, and then I would feel stupid.” I couldn't help but love her for this. 
          The truth is, if either of us should feel stupid for our behavior, it's me.

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