My beautiful friend Saskia sent me a book, a beautiful book that was a collaboration with her boyfriend Vincent. It is about a long and slow journey on foot by Saskia across Manhattan, sometimes with Vincent and sometimes alone. The project is called GHOSTS DON’T WALK IN STRAIGHT LINES.
When Tim left the other time, it was Summer 2004; and I remember the temperature always being wrong. The vibrating white noise of the air conditioner made me insane, yet the atmosphere was maddeningly too still without it. I would open and close the window incessantly. I just couldn’t get it right; and by “it”, I mean living.
So I walked.
I wasn’t sleeping, so I would play solitaire until it was 7:15 AM and I could start my big escape of twenty-five blocks to my breakfast place. It opened at 8:00 AM, and I could easily make that trip in under thirty; but that would mean more time at home... so I’d stop to kill time at the newsstand even though reading was not really a possibility. Reading lead to thinking. Once at the breakfast place, I’d sit in the same spot. I’d eat the exact same thing as the day before to avoid thinking.
Thinking lead to remembering.
Unlike Saskia‘s rate of movement, I walked at a rapid pace to breakfast each morning. Unlike Saskia’s ghosts, every day I took the same two straight lines- one twenty three blocks south, and one two blocks east. Saskia told me she meditated during her walk; I walked to go forward only. I walked to forget.
I walked because I was haunted.
Now that Tim has gone and left again, I’ve been forced to reconsider things like moving forward and killing time. What it means to be haunted. How to live with ghosts.
The first time, I used to pray it wasn’t forever. Now that it can’t be anything but forever, I negotiate to remember.
I walk slower now. I explore different paths. I look around. I look behind me.
I remember Tim was always getting on me about walking too fast. He’d quote The Golden Girls. Something about it not being sexy.
When memories are all that you have left, you take what the ghosts give you.
#TrueConfessions by #BillMullen