Tuesday, November 24, 2015

a ghost story



When something comes to a terrifying, abrupt halt your mind keeps moving forward as if some sort of cruel mental inertia is at play.  What do you do with all that residual momentum?  The information still in your brain that keeps taking you in a direction other than the brick wall you’ve just hit?  There are leftovers that linger.
We have ghosts that live in our Yahtzee game-box who like to prey on those leftovers.  I don’t mean ghosts like actual entities haunting us, more like an unwelcome knot in the pit of your stomach brought on by a sudden, unexpected reminder of a future that was supposed to be.  The unforeseen wave of nostalgia hits so hard; it is like a tangible manifestation and its presence grips you with hands you can feel.  Seeing those names at the top of old scorecards is shocking and heartbreaking.  They taunt and tease, shrieking and mocking your discomfort.  Just when you’ve stopped checking the other lane of traffic, hoping and yet dreading a glimpse, just when you’ve deleted all the pictures and messages off your phone.  Just when you’ve begun to accept, to move on, to heal.  You let your guard down only for a moment.  And BOO!  Those damn ghosts. 
Games go on and eventually, someday, new names will be scribbled on a fresh pad of scorecards.  We leave some of those beings in the box because we can ultimately find comfort in their presence.  Reminders of a happier time when games were played and memories of smiles gone by, before cancer, before loss.  Those are ghosts that become a lot less scary.
Certain papers we crumple and tearfully discard, knowing that some things just won’t ever be okay.  Some ghosts are meant to haunt. 
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