When I moved out of the house I lived in with a friend, in the mad rush of chemically-induced madness called being in love, 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 the rush of emotional entanglements is no less exciting, there’s time to take a breath and look at what was cast aside.
Long before that hectic 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 could hear Joey doing his own typing in the bedroom down the hall 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, or just to imagine someone else getting the joke and maybe grinning, or smiling, or shedding a tear.