Something happened a couple of weeks ago and I needed to write about it. I thought I could make it into a kind of book eventually, but I only got part of the way through chapter 4 and I lost the connection. It was also painful and exhausting to write. I don't think I'll ever finish it, but I wanted to share what I had written anyway. I don't know why I want to share it, maybe just because it is a piece of trying to make sense of things that don't always make sense. Anyway, I'll post it here. Feel free to read it if you want to.
Chapter 4 The Ghost
The world I lived in wasn’t real. The feelings I felt had no words. My understanding of good and bad was “too idealistic”.
“It sounds good,” my mom said when I tried to explain how I saw things could be, “but it’s not realistic. People can’t live like that.”
Why not? I wanted to argue, That’s how it should be. That’s how it’s meant to be.
But I already knew that I was the one who was wrong and if I argued she would see how wrong I was and I would get into trouble because of how messed up my brain was.
The girl from my dream had felt real to me. The impulse to find her made me feel sick. But just because she felt real didn’t mean she was real. The shadow monsters also felt real. So did the dark cloud that ran through me and the disparity between how things were and how they should be—but they weren’t real to anyone else.
She isn’t real. I told myself. I can’t look for someone who doesn’t exist. It was just a dream.
But then I had another dream. In this dream there was girl at a gas station and car came by and the driver had a knife and he stabbed her over and over and over and she lay on the floor bleeding. I woke up feeling less sick than before, but still unsettled.
Then I dreamt about two girls in some kind of trial together. There were pits around them and they were fighting, and one knocked the other over the edge and cut her fingers to make her let go and she fell into the pit and was torn apart by jaguars and the girl that remained standing was me. I had done it and as soon as I did, I realized that the person I killed was the person I loved and I felt sick.
It was my fault, I knew. I had betrayed her. I had let her die. I had to find her.
In the real, real world things around me were becoming just as chaotic. It was impossible to hide how messed up I was, but I wasn’t focused as much on the real, real world. I was looking for a person who was not real—a person that I needed to find. I owed it to her to find her.
Sometimes I would see her while I was awake. I didn’t see her in a way that made sense to me. She felt like a ghost. She would appear just a second and be gone and leave the terrifying, deep, painful sense of loss and longing in her wake.
Sometimes I heard her calling to me in the wind. I could hear her asking for help, begging to come home.
“Where are you?” I would say into the night sky, “How do I find you? How do I help?”
Those nights were hard. The urgency I felt to find her made me restless and I had to look even though I didn’t know what I was looking for or where to go.
It feels like death, I thought. It hurts so bad and it feels so cold, but I can’t stop looking.
She visited me a lot then, but when she came, I couldn’t look at her for long. The feelings were too strong. The feelings were dark and deep. They were a mixture of love and grief, loss, terror, ice.
“Help me” she would say “Please help me.”
“How?” I asked but then she was gone. She was always gone.
One day she sang to me. It was a song that I knew even though I had never heard it before.
Standing out here in the rain, pleading hard I call your name. The song started, Do you remember me? Do you remember me?”
I cried when I heard it—not real tears but the same invisible substance that I had vomited when I woke up from the dream about losing her.
“I remember you” I wanted to say, “but I don’t know where I remember you from. I don’t know how to find you, or what your name is. Who are you? Where are you?”
I was too young, I knew, to feel that heart-sick over someone and it was crazy to love so deeply someone I had never met. Someone who never existed at all.
I’ve known you, I thought, For longer than I’ve been alive. I know that’s not possible, but I have. Where are you?