Letting Go of the Ghosts

Minding your own business. All’s quiet. There’s a noise in the room… you think. Or maybe it’s just in your head. Yeah, it’s in your head.

It’s always been in your head. Where the ghosts live.

Start. Stop. Start again. Stop some more.

It gets old fast.

Writing. Not writing. Writing again. Not writing some more.

It gets old fast. I got old fast. So did the ghosts. Except ghosts stay the same as they were before they were ghosts. The memories of them, unchanged, from when they were new.

And the worst thing is, they aren’t even there.

Start. Don’t stop.

Writing. Writing again.

Letting go of the ghosts.

©️2020 William S. Friday

falling

Falling. Not hard fast, roof to concrete, flat. Pavement stain.

Falling. Not motion slow, dream, down down. Abyss pain.

Falling. Heart and mind one, you and I one. Blanket to pillow remain.

not empty

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. For as long as I’ve known them, we’ve had these conversations, like if you were talking with someone over the same perpetually hot, never empty coffee for weeks at a time.

The kind of conversation with no beginning or end.

And at some point, each of us talked about emptiness. About the feeling of having nothing left inside ourselves to give to others, because we have nothing left inside ourselves for us.

The friend told me about the times I was there for them but, for whatever reason, had forgotten.

Then the friend told me this…

“Bill, you are not empty.”

I wanted to argue, but I’m smarter than that. Barely. So I wrote this note to myself, instead.

And now, I share it with you.

“You are not empty.”

Disenfranchised

disenfranchised png

I lost a child.  You lost a parent.  She lost a spouse.  He lost a limb.  We lose what we lose, and when it’s lost, it is gone.  Not misplaced. 

Not missing like car keys to be found five minutes later next to the half-and-half in the fridge. 

But missing like one minute you’re saying “Good morning”, “Goodnight”, “See you soon”, and the next, you’re never saying it again, except to a ghost.

This is grief, unless it’s not your child, your parent, your spouse, or your limb.  Then, it’s an excuse, a personal problem, a character flaw.  And it isn’t even that your grief doesn’t belong to you, it’s that you don’t belong to your grief.

You are disenfranchised.

From your pain.  From your love.  From your god-granted human experience.  From all of it. 

You are disenfranchised. 

She lost a best friend?  Get over it.  He lost a girlfriend?  Get over it.  They lost a reason to get out of bed in the morning?  Get the fuck over it. 

When our right to grieve is denied us, except within the boxes others say must be checked.  When all love is love, but not all grief is grief.  When pain and mourning require blood kin for legitimacy.  And when the dignity to recover, as we are, is questioned, we are disenfranchised.

And if you wonder why this story has no end, it is because, like an end to grief, there isn’t one.  Because like you, like me, like he, like she, it, and we, remain disenfranchised.

 

© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday

A Day in an Invisible Life: Hour 3

A Day in an Invisible Life (3)

I Read.

I tell myself that it’s important to do that.  When I was at my deep darkest, it was first reading… not writing… that turned my face to the light again. 

As a child, I was reading on my own before the chairs got warm in kindergarten, but like anything an undisciplined child accomplishes too soon, that child takes it for granted, and if left to wander too long on this path, that child loses his way.  At least this child did.

As an adult, it turns out, the ones I love the most, read the most.  It wasn’t that I set out to reclaim my lost path by finding and loving those who read, it just worked out that way.  Like Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451, maybe readers just found me.  To hear of their love of this thing I took for granted from childhood made me curious to know them, and this love that filled them up.  Without meaning to, they showed me the empty inside myself.  They spoke of reading like a person in love speaks of their special someone, corporeal, as real to them as the touch of another human being.  Of a love that fills their soul.

And I needed to fill my soul.

I read now.  Remedially.  Not because my comprehension or vocabulary is stunted, but because the muscles in my brain that should be running reading marathons are atrophied, like someone waking from a coma, and falling on the way to the bathroom. 

I read now.  Slowly.  Chewing on every word, often aloud, to let the taste and weight of every word satisfy me.  I get filled up so easily, and it hurts to take it all inside, so some days it’s all I can do to read a few lines before I have to stop and digest what new thing I just took in.  Some days it’s poetry, others, classic fiction.  But most days, it’s something I’ve never tasted before, and I chew on it like a baby chews on that first bite of peas or blueberries.  Cautiously, curiously, the way someone who lived life without friends makes friends for the first time.

So today, in this hour, I read.  Not for others, but for myself. 

Because I am empty, and I am so hungry.

 

© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday