I found a message from a ghost the other day.
I was digging through old boxes. My parents are moving house, after decades in the same place. They have kindly mailed me many boxes of my old crap that has been taking up garage space, and now I have to unpack it and find places for it all. I always meant to clear it out for them, but there never seemed to be a convenient way to move all of those things that wouldn't have involved driving a moving van for days, and I didn't used to ever have storage space in any of the places I lived, and anyway, I wasn't sure they'd ever move. Excuses.
I have a knot of emotions about them right now, life-related, health-related, but it is tangled and deep underwater in my mind. I can only submerge myself to work on it for little bits, 60 seconds at a time before my lungs run out of air and I have to leave it and resurface.
The message was on a graduation card from a high-school friend. I'm sure I'm in good company when I say that I might, once upon a time, have gladly expunged all memory of my life in that era, filled with little substance and few connections. Yet now, the older I get, the more I treasure small tokens of the past. Things that remind me of how it was to see the world as full of possibility and change, if only to escape the deadness of where I was. In some ways, I am a healthier personality today, more self-sufficient, more certain of myself, more conscious of being loved. But some days, I feel my ambition has been a casualty.
The card was a snarky "degree in B.S.," and not as clever as it thinks it is, but that was perfect for me back then, since I also was not as clever as I thought I was. The back contains a handwritten reminder to "remember me when you become rich and famous."
Hah. Me, rich and famous. Seemed as plausible as anything, back in the day. I didn't know shit from shinola, as they said once upon a time, and my conception of the future held very little credibility. Maybe there's a part of me that still thinks that way, too. At least, I think there is a part of me that aspires to do better, because I feel I am letting people down if I fail to find a way to make some lasting mark. Maybe that's pretentious, or egocentric, or at least foolish. Maybe it's also true. Either way, that's a personality component that has not changed, though it now feels more like a charge than a hope, and I feel I fail it almost every day.
"May success always be your ally," she wished for me. She would have been 41 this year. But she ran out of hope almost two decades ago. The one year I went to Burning Man, I wrote her name on a chunk of wood in a Temple of Mind, and wished for hope when it burned. I can sullenly wish a thousand hells upon the soulless motherfucker who drove her to leave us behind so young, but these are fruitless thoughts.
Better to think on things I can actually do something about.
Thank you, my friend. Miss you today. I'll do what I can.
May 23rd, 2016