i think i'm becoming a ghost.
It's a strange revelation for me since i wasn't aware that i was tethered to the world of the living at all until those tethers started getting severed. It started with my church closing it's doors. Snip. A group of people i had been worshiping with, been accountable to, laughed with, cried with, prayed for, been prayed for by for years was gone one cold day in February. The ground felt soft and shifting. But there was ground.
Then Happ, me eldest son, got his driver's license in June. Slice. Suddenly there's one less face at the dinner table. No more challenging discussions about life, ethics, God, growing up, acne. Elwood Station became noticeably more silent... at least on nights when his friends didn't coagulate at our place.
In July the adze finally fell. Though i wasn't sure it was permanent at first; it soon became clear that my boss was streamlining. Jettisoning the jetsom. For years i've looked at the same unshaven faces day in and day out. Spent more hours with a partner that i wasn't married to than the one i had. Now, i spend my days alone, talking to myself or the radio and trying to convince myself to stay at work. But the reasons are becoming ephemeral. They're ideas now, ideas with no flesh and no warmth to them. Just cold reasons.
Even Mynnie, the lovely bride i did marry has been less and less available. She's constantly about the needs of others. Work, volunteering and taking care of her recovering father, a man who nearly took the more traditional route to ghosthood, keep hacking out more of her time, and rightfully so. It might even be a good thing, right?
Now i'll have more time to write, non? Writers instinctually crave alone time anyway. In point of fact, i need it in order to write. People being around are a distraction; they interrupt the flow of my own thoughts. More and more those distractions were disappearing. This was a good thing, right?
It was insidious and patient. Like blood seeping unseen beneath a bandage. Like bleeding out. i was losing all of the close human bonds i had and as i did, i started to lose the ability to relate to those i had left. My world was in my own skull and everyone who tried to engage me was interrupting. i was starting to see people as nuisances more and more. Becoming less tolerant and more eager to be separate. To be alone with my thoughts but those thoughts were becoming restless. They were no longer interested in writing. They were lost, unfocused, missing something unnamed. They began to seek solace of their own in increasingly dark places dragging me along for the ride. (Yes, i know, they are my thoughts and therefore me, but it's easier for me if i think of them as someone else, so roll with it for now. It could be demons, right?)
What is it? What's missing? What have i lost? As usual, i turned to God: in prayer, in sermons (podcast of course, i haven't found a new church yet after nearly eight months), in more prayer. The darkness brought guilt and a need for forgiveness but not pious, self-justification. Pagan penance, buying God's favor wouldn't bring peace or purpose to the demons. Religion, phaugh. No. God reminded me, first in words and then in the touchable, pulse filled arms of my wife, that grace and mercy and forgiveness are not rites and fancy words, but they are all warm, wet kisses in a real relationship.
In the cold, blue light of the moonlit trees, with little sound but the cracking of branches by unseen feet and no companions but my own thoughts, it's easy to believe in ghosts.
When one loses or discards all ties to the living and lives only to please one self, it's easy to become one.