I have been here before. I’ve met these ghosts. They are old friends of mine now. They enter my house, uninvited, knowing where I keep the good wine in the cupboard. They help themselves. They slip on my slippers and drape themselves across my couch. They sip on Chardonnay with vacant eyes. His eyes. They stare at me scornfully, hauntingly.
I have just sent Alex a tearful text that I can no more see him…because I love him, and it is terrifying.
You are my kryptonite, I write.
You arrived back into the country two weeks ago and we seamlessly slipped back into being us. A, I can’t. Love is a powerful drug…intoxicating. You have intoxicated me with you again, and I must pull away now, otherwise I will be weak and small, and that is not who I am. I am not a weak and small person. I have discarded men easily in the past, batting them away like flies. With you, A, it is hard, the hardest thing, like slaying a dragon.
I wait for his response.
The ghosts circle round me. They place icy hands on my shoulders, as if they were trying to console me in the warm ways of being human, but they are not humans, they are dark voids, the absence of human.
“Darling, what have you done?” they hiss.
“What you and him had was real,” they say, their eyes burning intensely. “It was an otherworldly kind of love…what you had was a Shakespearean sonnet,” they say in serpentine whispers.
What light through yonder window breaks, it is the east and he is the sun…
“He is the sun…”
“He is your sun…”
Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon
”You are turning against the sun…
“Darling, you love him. What have you done?“
As I look up with tear-filled eyes, they have multiplied. They are in every room in my house now, under my covers, lounging on my recliner, crouching inside of my fireplace, nestled into the drawers of my kitchen.
But I will not text him. I will not reach into the ether to feel the warm pulse of his hand again, though I am shivering inside. I must be strong. I must light this mirage on fire. I must let my house burn and let the ghosts burn with it.
And what will remain when the flames have subsided, will be one remaining ghost of him, sitting on my recliner. My heart will continue to recoil and my belly will be sick for a while, knowing that this ghost is always there, its dark shadow following me everywhere I go. But this ghost is a part of me now as much as my fingernails and my organs.
This ghost holds the memories. The cadence of his voice – the way he would say “yuman” instead of “human,” pronouncing his “h”s like “y”s. The way the edges of his chocolate eyes would crinkle when he laughed at my silly accounts of my day. Every scuff on his brown, leather clownish shoes. The way his robust fingers would wrap around my waist, every prodigious muscle in his beautiful arms, the way he moved with the strength and grace of a lion.
When I saw him last Thursday, he had taken me out for a sushi dinner, and walked me across the street to my car, even though daylight still lingered. He had kissed me on my lips and had stood there honing in on me with the intensity of his gaze as if he were trying to memorize my face, as if he knew that someday, I would pull away and no longer be under his spell…
As if the music to our tango were nearing the last measure, and he were holding me in the final pose, my back arched, our eyes locked, and the second I opened my car door, our tango would be over…and we would be forced to walk alone instead of dance together, back into our respective lives.