This is a breakup story. Plain and simple.
You can haunt the halls, but you can't ask me to make you feel at home.
- Liz Phair
I've always liked the idea of the young widow. The tight lips and the extreme lack of sun in the skin. I've always liked the idea of forced mourning. Wearing black for a prescribed amount of time. To be grieving a boyfriend is entirely different. You feel like you should be drinking a malt with his letter jacket around your shoulders. I knew a girl in high school who made t-shirts to honor her boyfriend when he died in a car wreck. Really, you just have to keep quiet and pretend that it wasn't all that serious.
But the truth is, we felt pretty serious, and it's been months and I'm still not okay. During lunches with friends I sit nervously in my chair, because I'm waiting for the inevitable sentence to drop, "I know this great guy, and you really deserve to be happy."
I feel pretty crazy lately. See, he's a ghost in my house. I'm not speaking of a listening to sad records and drinking wine haunting. I'm speaking of the real thing. At first it was the mirror sightings. I'd be plucking my brows and I'd see the zipper of his backpack darting through the door. Then he began hiding things. Normally I loose stuff,but this paired with the zipper gave me the idea that I was in a scary movie.
I've never been a brave person, but I handled it well in the beginning. I slept with the lights on, but I stayed home more than ever. When I was little I devised a plan that I would go hang out at the mall if I ever experienced a ghost invasion. But, when it first started, I stayed in as much as I could, because I didn't want to miss what he would do next.
We never lived together when he was alive. I never felt comfortable bringing it up because he was very afraid of being stuck in an apartment with me forever. Now I realize that he was smarter in life than in death. We were not meant to live so close. I'm a lot less full of love now and we don't even talk. I feel like the sister of a deaf kid, always interpreting what he wants. "My Ghost needs more room on the couch" or "I'm sorry, you can't come home with me because My Ghost likes to watch "Seinfeld" and he needs to be alone when he does that". I've moved my belongings, because he needs so much room. I miss having the place to myself, I liked it better when I was just sad and wished we were still together. Sometimes it's less like a fun joke and it gets prickly. The lines of reality get really light and for a few hours I can't move from my chair by the door.
This morning I woke up and read two People magazines. Finding this totally satisfying I went back to bed for an afternoon nap. Now I'm laying here trying not to hear him turning the pages of my magazine beside me on the floor. He gives each page one minute, and then swish, on to the next. His human laugh of disdain is nothing compared to his ghostly one. Full of knowledge of the beyond, and now totally sick of me. I could handle the midnight clangings, but the mockery is just too much for me.
After the magazine thing I was so pissed that I went to the mall. I've always really admired the way crazy people talk to strangers and report on the things that are bothering them. Inside the Gap I am joined at the sale rack by a woman who looks quite understanding. I have not really gotten to the point where I can do truly insane things, so I don't tell her about the ghost in my apartment. But it is tempting to turn to her and say, "hey, you know how sometimes you have a really terrible break-up and it hurts so bad if feels like someone has died?".
But, I didn't tell her. I did not tell her about how my ex-boyfriend could be in two places at once. At the same time he was in my apartment looking for the extra syrup, he was also across town playing video games with his new girlfriend. I didn't tell her, "My boyfriend isn't dead, he just doesn't want to be with me anymore. I think I'm going nuts."
I look slim in black, so I keep wearing it even though I'm trying not to indulge in the whole mourning thing. I'm keeping the lights blazing, and I'm not letting myself see him dead in my bathroom anymore. It wasn't really all that crazy, it was just something that got away from me and ran far and fast.