The Ghost of Lives Present


I’m sitting here in the room we used for watching tv.  There are boxes of DVDs against the wall and there’s a box waiting for the tv & dvd player.  In the living room next door, there are more boxes, of books and china, and the stereo gear and CDs.  The bookcase is empty, the rug is in storage, and even the throw pillows are packed.  In the dining room, there are still more boxes and four bags of tag ends of booze, and an empty china cabinet.  The kitchen is a mess.  Which is why I’m sitting here in the tv room contemplating the ghosts that are wandering around.

You’d think that there would be few, if any, ghosts having lived here just 11 months, but they seem to have come in from other residences and even from empty stages and concert halls and workplaces.  They’re not doing anything – a little talking with each other, a little sharing of information, a few private jokes of mutual experience.  They’re kicking the dust bunnies and pushing the ragged edges of packing tape against boxes.  And while I can’t be sure, I think they’re almost as melancholy as I am.

Moving this time is a really good thing.  I’m going to take great lessons away from the past 18 months, but lessons are not enough on which to base a happy life, so making changes is what we need to do.  Moving, as a whole, however, is a giant pain in the ass.  And shoulders, and knees, and also gives me headaches.  So I’m sad about packing up the stuff we own, and putting so much of it in storage.  And I’m sad that this experience, with the exception of a few friends, turned out the way it did.  And I’m sad we’re not going to see our tulips bloom – damn this late and cold spring weather!

The ghosts have been reminding me that every move, every change is an opportunity to learn things, to experience new challenges and new opportunities.  New ways to hide the empty boxes…  These ghosts are the people I met as a new Navy bride decades ago.  They’re the friends we made at every new duty station, and the people with whom we worked, and family members and cherished friends who have come to this house and all the others in which we’ve lived for weekends and dinner parties.  They’re Julie and Durita and Bryan, our “children” who lived with us for varying amounts of time during their teenage years, enriching our lives beyond what words can express.  They’re our younger, optimistic, less achey selves… and they are who we hope to be 1o years from now (and remarkably, I’m still wrinkle-free).

What they are not, of course, is helpful in terms of getting the last cupboard of spices and other food stuffs sorted out, so I better go back and tackle my last big job before the movers come tomorrow morning.  I hope when the ghosts of your life show up someday – in person or in your dreams – you can enjoy them the way I do mine, that their presence refreshes and encourages you as mine encourage us.  Just don’t ask them to move the furniture.

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