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Je cours avec les fantômes!


One of the awful things about losing friends you made when you were younger, aside from missing them so much, is that you lose a part of your history with them. It’s hard to make new friends as it is, but even friends you’re lucky enough to make later can only have an incomplete sense of where you came from and who you really are. We can hide many of our flaws and our past indiscretions from people that are new in our lives, but the ghosts of our lost friends are always there to remind us of how imperfect and, in some cases, how truly wonderful we are.

And so I run with ghosts.

"Fresh" from my early morning 2 mile run with a two day growth, pink cheeks and an "I don't care" attitude. Believe it or not, I'm making progress!


I do other things with them too, like working in my yard, repairing my roof (where I am always closer to Heaven), whenever I’m writing, and cooking, and sharing special dishes and treats (like my specialties --- pralines and peanut butter fudge). I’ve always loved cooking things and sharing them with others, and get a kick out of surprising someone out of the blue. I try to do that now with the people I know, especially since I can’t share my creations with friends that are gone.

In a way, I like to think that they get to experience the fun of that sharing too. Yes, they’re with me constantly in one way or another. They sometimes visit me in my dreams, I often talk to them, and occasionally I think they make their presence known to me --- sometimes in quite surprising and playful ways.

But most of all, I love to run with them.

I cared for them each in a special and different way. For some, I was able to express my love easily, for others, circumstances prevented me from doing so openly --- and yet, I think the love came through. I’m not always aware of them while warming up, or even after a lap or so. But it usually isn’t long after I begin to feel frustrated with my stiff joints and weakened muscles, the results of not being able to exercise like I’d want due to my chronic physical ailments, that I feel them coming up behind me.

The guys were so special to me, and when I hear their voices and feel their smiles, for a while I forget about the drudgery of getting into shape and just enjoy the experience of running free in the open air with my old friends. My breathing becomes a little easier, my legs not so heavy, and a hint of a bounce returns to my gait. We talk of old times, and what I'm going through now. Sometimes they tease me, and I always give it back to them. It's like it always was.

To anyone watching, I probably look pretty pathetic, trying to get back into running condition after a nine month layoff, but for a few minutes I feel like I’m running on air. The track I run on is usually hard and angry against the soles of my feet, rising up against me as if trying to discourage me, and to beat me down. At times like this, however, it is oh so different, and I feel like I am the one in command, with time and space and distance under my control.

Sometimes my friends’ stay is lengthy, sometimes all too brief, but always welcome and memorable. Usually when they leave me, I’ll feel a little letdown, but if I’m lucky, like today, I’ll find my other ghost friend waiting for me at the finish line. She never runs with me when she does appear, but is always there at the finish line. “C’mon, one more lap!” she’ll say, red hair flying wildly in the breeze, an ace bandage wrapped around her trick knee, always a white towel in her hand which she sometimes twirls around her head. I tell you I can see her so clearly.

I pass her by for that final lap, picking up the pace ever so slightly (that’s all I can do at this stage), so I can hurry and come around to see her one more time before she's gone. It’s usually on a pretty day when I see her. I’m not sure why that is, but she always did seem to make the days so much brighter for me. I make the final lap thinking of her standing there, and as I make that final turn I see her once again, for sure, still laughing, and shouting for me to “pick’em up.” I always want so badly to run straight to her and give her a big sweaty hug and kiss on her cheek, but she’s never there when I reach the finish line.

Sometimes I get closer than others. Today I almost reached her. I got close enough that she playfully tossed me that white towel she was holding, and then she was gone. I’m still so glad that I saw her, even if it was only in my dreams. One day though, I hope I’ll run fast enough and far enough to finally reach her. And so I keep running, sometimes in fits and starts, but as long as I can lace them up, I’ll be out there to try again. I've got all the time in the world.

And so I run with ghosts.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to share that experience with someone a little less ethereal, but you play the cards you’re dealt, and I still enjoy their company so much. You may think that a little odd. I think it’s a little weird sometimes myself. If someone actually asked me if I believed in ghosts, I’d probably say no. After all, I do know what a vivid imagination I have, and how much I wish some things were different. Maybe you do too. I’d still like to believe it could be true, or that I could change the past, although I know that if you change one thing, you change many, if not all.

Yes, time and circumstances and situations have always seemed to place roadblocks in front of me, some I’ve been able to move around, others not. I’m certainly not unique in that respect. But I’d like to think that perhaps, in spite of my many disappointments, despite my losses, I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to experience many wonderful and unique things in my life, having had such good friends, things some people could only dream about.

There is a sense of melancholy that is my constant companion. It tempers much of the joy I still experience in my life, and I have had my moments. I'd like so many things to be so different, but I suppose I wouldn't be who I am today without them (for what that's worth), and, I must admit, with all modesty, it’s not very many people who can say, “I run with ghosts.”


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
I can tell you're making progress. You go, boy!!

As far as ghosts, I've had two follow me. The first boy I was truely in love with. And, my father. When my friend died, I was in college, and my mom called me one day. I mentioned him, and she said, "I told you, right he died two months ago." No, she didn't fucking tell me. Sorry, I still have issues with my mother. I grieved for awhile and finally found his obituary on-line. He had been coming to me in dreams before I found out; however I figured that was just my overactive imagination. Nope.

So, I'm glad you run with ghosts. And I hope you are able to embrace them as you get better. I can say that my life has been in an uproar and the only people I'll miss, if they pass tomorrow, are my relatives, Mr. Ed. and, of course my kids. I've had to adjust friendships and such since living down here, and old friendships have been severed...not by me, but because I actually got out of the small town I grew up in.

Well, the kids are ready for bed, so it's hugs and kisses time. I just want you to know I found your post incitful, fascinating, and inspiring. I'm waiting for the kids to sleep before I start crying. And, it's okay. I need to once in awhile.

Thank you.
Mar. 17th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, too many goodbyes and not enough hello's, I always say. You should write more about your feelings like that, though, even if it's only for you. There are things I write, or want to write, that I couldn't bear for anyone to read.
Mar. 17th, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC)
Interestingly, I am basically an open book. I no longer worry about people judging or misinterpreting me. I guess I just never thought about writing those feelings down (can you say suppression??). Your post opened a part of me that I had closed off from myself for awhile, and I appreciate that. :) Thank you. I will write more stuff like that, soon.

I think it's both a good and bad thing to put myself out to people like that. I talk about anything and everything with people in real life, and on lj. It's just the way I am. I have both made and lost friends for that reason; however, I'm true to myself. My attitude? Take me or leave me. ;)

So, long post made short, thank you for the writing idea. If you ever feel the need to write something that you know won't be judged, feel free to email me. I don't judge people, since I get pissed when I'm judged. So, open invite 24/7. Take me up on it if you want to. If you don't, I also understand.

Take care!
Mar. 17th, 2006 02:18 am (UTC)
How do you do it make all the girls cry including me!! I loved them so much too. I know how you feel. I miss my little friend so much and wish she was here the boys too. Try to be happy and get sleep tomorrow will be better I love you. Pip
Mar. 17th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
I always say they get me back though, Pip ... they make me cry ten times more. I'm glad I've got you, though, and you know that. You hardly ever make me cry. lol **smooch**
Mar. 17th, 2006 02:32 am (UTC)
That is a truly moving piece of writing, my friend.
Mar. 17th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
Why thank you Jeff!
Mar. 17th, 2006 03:30 am (UTC)
That was beautiful.
Mar. 17th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
Those are very nice words too. Thanks sweetie!
Mar. 17th, 2006 12:42 pm (UTC)
a very good ghost story

i like your eyes and your smile is contagious :)
Mar. 17th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
I'm very glad you liked it ... and I humbly accept and appreciate the compliments. It's easier to smile a little when you have such great friends.
Mar. 17th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
when someone truly touches your soul, binds it with real unconditional love, I believe it is their very essence that embeds upon you. After they are gone, they linger with you for your eternity. As we will do to others. I hope each day that I can leave pieces of myself with all that I love dearly.

Your story was breath taking my friend. Reading your writing just left me with comfort and yearning.


**Keep up the hard work handsome!!!!!!!!!
Mar. 17th, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
I agree with what you said, Belinda. I think a lot of what we are is the sum total of the people we have experienced, and the ways we interacted with them, good and bad.

I'm glad it gave a pause for comfort, too. That'sd very nice of you to say that.
Mar. 17th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
Lovely. :)

I like that you enjoy having the ghosts with you. A friend of mine lost her dad 7 years ago, and refers to his death as something she's "not over." I tell her she shouldn't try to "get over it", because you can't. I know her dad wouldn't want to be left behind that way, either.
Mar. 17th, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you Xeenie.

Yes, it's hard to cope with the loss of people you love. I understand that you do have to move on, so as to speak. But this thing of "closure" and "getting over it" I'll never understand. It is totally impossible for me to live and not think of them daily. That's just the way it always was.

The loss I feel today is no less intense than it was when I lost each of my friends; it's only insulated by time and resignation. I can only feel lucky that I had them for as long as I did, that we shared so much, and that they were able to affect me so deeply.
Mar. 18th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
what a beautiful post.. and so true.

Mar. 20th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
Hey, the best of luck with your getting back into shape/running. I may not be there to pat you on the back, but know I'm here, wishing I could!

And *droool* - you should send me some pralines and peanut butter fudge!! *yup*
Mar. 20th, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
I will positively send you some soon ... maybe after you get started on your own program. You'll need to have something to burn them off. And I thought you didn't like sweets. ;)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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