I used to read ghost stories as a kid and watch scary movies about ghosts and the supernatural. I was interested in ghosts in the same way I was interested in ESP and superheroes. For a long time I thought I'd see a ghost some day, just as I thought if I tried hard enough I could move something with my mind. I blame it all on too much science fiction and comic books.
In all my imaginings about ghosts, I imagined them being the spirits of dead people. I never thought the ghosts in my life would be the spirits of dead relationships.
I'm being haunted by ghosts of ex-boyfriends past. I see them on the street, in my head, in strangers passing by. It's definitely scarier than the stories ever were.
I often find myself seeing people I think are my first semi-serious boyfriend. He had a look that's not uncommon--short hair, little round glasses, milk chocolate skin, tall, average body size... I'd say one of every 5 black men I see on the street at first glance look like they could be him now, since I only have a 10 year old image to go by.
I used to be terrified of running into him--since it could possibly mean I'd go to jail. I've always believed the best revenge is living well, and I try to live by that, but there was a time I would have liked to destroy him. That was then. I think my anger's cooled now. It doesn't mean I wouldn't hide behind a telephone pole if I ever really did see him.
I've been dreaming about another guy. He was a friend before he was something else, and I haven't heard from him in awhile. I miss him as a friend. He's someone I'd like to run into, just to break the ice and get things back to normal. We've both been too skittish or pig-headed to initiate a meeting.
I hadn't thought about him for awhile. Then I had a dream about him Thursday. It's disconcerting to have your subconscious remind you of things you'd put away.
The latest haunting was Friday. I was on the Bay Bridge, which is rare for me, I don't often cross the bay in that direction. It was after work and I was going to Ikea. I was looking pretty cute, luckily, with new pink barrettes and freshly dyed red hair. These are the facts I focus on as that's all he could see through the car window. You see, it was on the bridge itself that I was haunted.
I was driving along and I saw a man on a motorcycle. There was something about him--I knew immediately it was my ex. The Ex. The man I was with for 5 years and who I've managed not to lay eyes on since the day I walked out the door.
The thing is--I still don't know for sure it was him. He was wearing a helmet, as all motorcycle riders should, and it completely obscured his face in fast bridge traffic. He didn't own a motorcycle when I was with him, though he always wanted one. The motorcycle I saw looked used and smallish, not the Harley he'd wanted or the Honda he'd thought about settling for, which makes it more likely it was him as he couldn't have afforded those other bikes. The man wore a tan jacket, like one my ex had. He had approximately the same body type as my ex--which is something considering he was built like a giant football player. And the most compelling evidence--his shoes were identical to a pair of Vans my ex had that he loved and wore all the time.
I don't know for sure it was him, but I tend to believe my intuition. If it was him, and he was paying attention, he knew it was me. He knew the car; he was right alongside me at one point. As for me, I sped up and changed lanes and was careful not to look in his direction.
That's the closest I've come to seeing him and it stopped my heart, like an axe-weilding maniac popping out of a closet. Frankly I think I would have preferred the axe--at least I could have run.
The other exes seem to keep their chain-rattling to a minimum, staying safely in a shoebox of memories. At least for now. The problem with the dead is they never stay dead, at least in scary movies. They always get back up a couple of times to cause mischief.
I'm not sitting around shaking in my boots. I consider my relationships to be as much a part of me as anything and I accept them as characters learn to share space with their poltergeists. They accept that things may not be the same as they left them, they accept being awakened sometimes in the night, they accept a tap on their shoulder out of the blue. I accept all those things and move on, my ghosts following me around but not getting in my way. They make me pause occasionally. They make me wish for an exorcism occasionally. But in the end, they're harmless ectoplasm. They can't touch me.
Posted by Alyssa at July 06, 2002 12:09 AM
I'm participating in the 24 Hour Blogathon for charity on July 27/28th. I'll be updating my site every 30 minutes for 24 hours. I'll be loopy from sleep deprivation and heavily caffeinated. But I hope to make a lot of money for Global Fund for Women which supports women's human rights organizations around the world. Please sponsor me by clicking the Blogathon button below my pic on the left and filling out the form. Thanks.