March 1, 2011

Maybe It's Me: Ghosts, or, The Significant and Memorable

As I continue to shake my bones free of the ghosts that have lingered there altogether too long, I've been absorbed by the memories I have of both the first and last meetings with my former lovers. While firsts are memorable, lasts are significant. First encounters remind us of who we were – the whisper of someone we used to be; the lasts we have with someone remind us of who were becoming – and how we got to where we are now.

Maybe it’s me, but I find nothing wrong with remembering those poignant moments in our life when the plot with one character began or ended. Not only are these important intersections to the telling of our own tale; but, those people with whom we shared those moments with are in their own right special to us. No one else in the course of our life will share those same moments because everyone is different; everyone you meet will introduce their own range of emotion, principles, and life experiences which will alter and effect each of us in a different manner.

When people leave such an imprint on our lives, it’s worth remembering them – despite how the relationship ended. And for me, as a writer, it’s nice to see those significant moments captured and written down for posterity’s sake.

It’s also a wonderful way of removing those images from swimming laps in my consciousness, which I think – I hope – will make room for newer, and even more sentimental and important to the-me-that-I-am-now, memories.

It’s time to set the inconsequential memories – the ones weighing me down and keeping me stuck living in the past – free.

My first serious boyfriend was many, many moons ago, but I remember our meet-cute like it was yesterday. I was lazily meandering around a grocery store and turned the corner of the frozen food aisle to find this surfer-looking, hippie with shaggy brown hair, a hemp necklace, and a form-fitting sweater stocking the shelves. We exchanged numbers, and before I was even out of the parking lot of the store he had texted me. That was the first time we met; and because he was my first love, it was and always will be memorable.

Our relationship was long, loving, and laughter-filled, but naturally fizzled out. The last time we met, was years and years later. He had been living on the west coast for some time and came back to visit his family. Borrowing his step-mom’s car, he picked me up and we spent hours driving around and catching up. We actually ended up making-out in the backseat of the car in some parking lot. When he dropped me back home that night, we looked at each other, busted a gut at our silly high school-antics, high-fived, and that was the last time we spoke. It was a significant moment, because we both realized how much we had grown up and everything really was going to be okay.

But now it’s time to let those go.

More importantly than those, I don’t need my last ex-boyfriend renting space in my head for free anymore. We met on New Year’s Eve. It was snowing, and I showed up in my PJ’s to his renovated farmhouse after weeks of sending love letters to one another, yet never having met face to face. He met me outside and held me close as the flurries swirled in around us before leading me upstairs and inviting me into to his minimalist existence. We lay on his bed and sipped jasmine tea while studying one another, periodically caught up in the comfortable silence. That was the first time we met; I would have no way of knowing that he would be the person that would be the catalyst to me finding myself. And because of that, and his life lesson that evening on “expression vs. restraint,” it was and always will be memorable.

Our relationship was short, intense, and tremendously meaningful. The last time we met, I had driven to his house in the middle of the night, because he had unexplainably decided to leave me after previously telling me he was in love with me. I didn’t understand, and looking back, neither did he. With crossed-arms, a face of indifference, and eyes that wouldn’t meet mine he told me that he was in love with me, but couldn’t be with me. And he couldn’t explain why. Sucker-punched by this completely unforeseen event, I tumbled out of his house that evening and into my car broken. It was a significant moment, because I realized that the people who were the best for us, could always be the worst for us. And while I discovered who I really was as a person, it took a very long time to put the pieces of myself back together after the damage he did.

And much as I don’t want to, it’s time to let those go, too, I think.

My latest lover - who’s come, but not gone - deserves recognition just as much, if not more, than the others. It was November, and I met him on the street in front of a park under the glow of early Christmas lights. As he walked toward me with his thick beard, pea coat, and piercing blue eyes I remember being in awe of how taken with me he already looked. Our date that night was to my tattoo parlor, where he sat close enough to me that our knees touched, which I would later find out was not done accidentally. That was the first time we met, and it was memorable because even then I knew, “although I was lost, he thought me a beautiful find.”

And the last?

The last time I saw him, we cuddled on the couch with mimosas and watched bad television as he rubbed my gnarly feet. The time before that, we walked hand in hand through the streets of an art festival, losing ourselves in the pieces and each other. And the time before that he kissed me on the nose and said, “Don’t cry, Freckles, I’ll see you soon.”

And all of those are significant, because none of them are actually the last.

So far.

But they are the newer, the more sentimental and important to the-me-that-I-am-now, memories. They are the feelings I want settling in my bones and staying a while; the memories I want floating in the foreground of my recollection.

And it was time to remember, share, and set-free those ghosts, those memories, weighing me down and keeping me stuck the past. I think my focus from here on out will be redirected from the who of the memory to more of what made it memorable; what made it significant.

From the whisper of someone I used to be; to the someone I've become.