When recently moved, it was in a big, messy hurry. I packed everything I owned into boxes and unceremoniously threw them in a spare room in my parents house. For almost two years, I didn’t look back, eager eyes watching the horizon for the next big thing. Finally, while life is no less exciting, hectic or difficult, there’s time to take a breath and look at what was cast aside.
Long before that frantic move, I had saved a half-decade worth of pictures to a disk and tucked it away, confident that no matter where I went next, I would dig the drive out and use it. Instead, I uncovered it like an ancient relic, buried under a rubble of discarded shoes and ruined nail polish. Interested, but curiously unsettled. This disk holds a different persons entire life. I don’t remember putting these images there, I barely remember the days these pictures were taken.
How odd that something so innocuous would unsettle me so much, that simple visions from a past life, just a few years ago, would bother me. My face, but younger, less lined, an easier smile. My hair, but what a horrible hair cut – and look, no rapidly growing grey streak! My family and my friends look out through the computer screen like ghosts, even though many of them are still close enough to touch, or at least call if I wanted.
Life has moved in a direction that the woman with my face in these pictures never dreamed of. I’m not her anymore, and like all of history, it’s hard to imagine I ever was. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a part of life, and had I never frantically packed it away and had I looked at those images every day, I never would have noticed how much of a ghost my own past became to me.
So I want to write. Maybe if I write it all down, it’ll stay real. Maybe I’ll remember how uncomfortable this chair is in a year, and how I can hear the wind beating sand against the window and can still taste sweet tea on my lips.
Not everything I have to say is about Vikings, or history, or art, or anything. Sometimes, I want to say things just to know I’ve got a voice.