Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ghost story

Two nights ago, I had a most vivid dream. So vivid, I awoke unsure of reality, and very pissed at myself. First, the backstory.

It was about nine years ago that the ex and I began unravelling. The day after his birthday, in fact ... because his timing was always perfect like that. It would take me a month or so to catch on, but on or about January 19, 2005, he started to leave.

And I started to plead. Beg. Pray. Wish. Sleepwalk. (Oh, there was a lot of sleepwalking in those days.) But mostly, plead. And beg.

I pleaded with him to stay. On my knees, I begged him to love me. Looking back, I hardly know this woman, but the begging and pleading went on. I begged with homemade shepherd's pie. I pleaded, literally clinging to his shirt and weeping.

I'm not proud of it, but that's who I was at the time.

And I recall with crystal clarity a promise I made to him at one particularly vulnerable time. "If you ever change your mind ... if you ever find a way back to me ... I will be waiting."

That lasted not very long, but the words were uttered. And if you know me, you know that I try very hard to be a woman of my word. So imagine my shock when, in a dream Friday night, he took me up on it. Sweet Jesus, it was awful. As the movie in my mind played itself out, I saw the Maggie of today slip back into old habits. I saw myself fade into a shadow of who I actually am.

And I woke up pissed as hell.

I know it wasn't real, and I know I can't be held to a promise I made to someone who was hearing none of it anyway, and who isn't entitled to me holding up my end of any damn bargain. What I was watching was a ghost story - a lost girl, an empty shell, unwilling to admit that the end had come long before the end actually came. A memory of who I once was, and an opportunity to see the contrast between that girl (no, not That Girl) and This Girl.

So much has happened between then and now. It feels like a lifetime ago (and I guess, technically, it is ... if you're nine). She's someone I hardly recognize, because she was a person who had accomplished things, for sure, but had only once or twice strayed from the comfort zone.

I guess if there's anything to learn from all of this, it's that ghosts aren't real, our past isn't our present, and comfort zones are there to be acknowledged and then obliterated. And finally, that some promises are meant to be broken.

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