Seeing Ghosts

        I think I know what it would be like to see a ghost. For almost three years now, my mind has let me know just who is at the helm by frightening me with images of her. It happens quite often; I'm walking along the street, sitting on the bus, watching TV, working, biking, at school, just about anything. Then for just a moment, I think I see her, walking towards me, or passing by me. For a brief second, my mind races with those long buried emotions and hopes, that she has come back, finally, at last. This feels the most like fear.

        Of course, I am just seeing things. It always turns out to be a girl who looks like her from behind, or who from afar would appear about the same height. It never is what my mind makes me perceive. But for a brief moment, what an awful, jarring experience! It always haunts me for the rest of the day. I bet that if I saw my own doppleganger, I would take it more casually than seeing her.

        Just what is it that I feel after I think I see her? I know it is not a good feeling, one of emptiness. I am reminded that she is gone from me for a long, long time. I am reminded of how terribly alone I am in my thoughts. I feel as though I am taunted by fate, his placing ghosts of her, strategically across my path. These cruel images spur latent feelings of love and despair, coursing through my mind, and burning all the synapses in their wake.

        Planning what to do on a day after this has happened is a painful task. I'm reminded that I get to make all these decisions alone. Suddenly, all the fun, interesting lone pursuits feel like nothing whatsoever. They are empty, useless tasks designed to consume the days until I make human contact again. Suddenly, I don't feel like doing a damn thing. The stark contrast is made at this time as to what is a lone death, and what is really living. I really want to spend the time with my friends and family, all my loves. I can't imagine a life without the company of other people, but some area of my mind tempts me into that languid abyss. It's some consuming devil inside of me who keeps himself hidden, as I make small plans to go and visit my mom, or call my friend, or go for a walk. Then he strikes just as I am about to get ready to leave, and sticks pins in my feet, plants me where I am, holds me in solitary confinement! This is what happens when you think about death!

        A decision must be made after you see a ghost. Do you carry on existing in your waning life, or do you ponder the reason a ghost visited you? It is almost insurmountably difficult to make the right decision, but today at least I will try. I will try to make the new love today. I will try to live each day as if it were my last. I will get away from this Goddamn computer and ask that girl out.

--August 1998


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