Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Haunting of Me

Image borrowed from twisted candy

When walking by mirrors I look away. I look away because I know that she is there, waiting for me. The look in her eyes haunting me with their questions, always pleading, "Why? Why?" and the look of pity upon her face that makes my stomach churn.


Yesterday I was cleaning my closet and stumbled upon an old jewelry box. It was full of old broken jewelry, love notes, and photographs. Jewelry that I would never choose to wear, notes that didn't belong to me (a frumpy housewife), and snapshots of her. I quickly closed the box and pushed it away from me. The closet can be cleaned later. Why is she doing this to me? Why won't she just leave me alone? But I know why she won't leave me alone. I killed her. I squeezed the very breath from her being, stole her place and hid her. I broke her up into little pieces and hid her body in various dark places. Why? Why would I do that? I'm not a violent person. I don't think I even realized what I was doing at the time. When it was all over I told myself that I had to do it, it was the right thing to do, it was better for everyone that she was dead. But now, years later, she is back and she won't leave me alone. WHY WON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE? Her laughter rings through my head. A loud, happy laughter so unlike my own. She loved to laugh and to make others laugh at her. She was brazen, obnoxious, and always ready for a new adventure. I remember her crazy, wild hair and the interesting way she dressed. Never one to bend to the latest fad she was always coming up with new and unusual outfits. The best way to describe her is, "not like me." I'm the responsible, serious type, I know there are things more important than fashion or beauty. I don't have time for silly escapades when there is so much work to be done. If I don't do it, who will? Maybe that is why I killed her. I couldn't stand seeing the stark contrast so I destroyed her so that no one could compare us. But killing her didn't make her go away. People still remember her, talk about her. And now I seem to see her everywhere I go. The other day I was talking to my husband and I swear I heard her voice coming out of my mouth. It's as if she is trying to come back, as if even death won't stop her from living.


Today I felt her inside me. It was when I flipped my wet hair back while taking a shower. I flipped it back and smiled as I ran my hand through my hair, just like she used to do. I looked in the mirror and saw here there, staring back at me. But this time she wasn't pleading, she was smiling. She was getting stronger and she knew it, I knew it too. In a panic I ran around the house, reaching into closets, pulling from under beds, gathering all the hidden mementos of her life. Sitting in the living room, surrounded by her remnants, I studied her, remembered her, allowed myself to want to be her. The ghost that had been taunting me and tormenting was winning, and secretly I began wanting her to win.


Why shouldn't I want her to win? She is my ghost, mine, the person I was before I got married and had children. I thought she had to die to make room for the new me. But she wants to live again, and so do I. No, I'm not going to go and do anything crazy, but maybe today I will do my hair like I used to. Maybe I will spend more than 5 minutes assembling my outfit, and I just might fix some of that old jewelry and wear it again. Who knows? Maybe I will laugh a little louder or take my kids with me on some silly little adventure. After all, it is Halloween, the perfect time to let old ghosts live again.

This was written for entry in Scribbit's wonderful WriteAway contest.

17 comments:

Nurse Betty said...

HOLY CRAP ARE YOU GOOD!!!! Mom tried to compare our writing. I have no where near your pinache. WOW!!
The funniest thing is I have been dealing with my younger alter ego wanting to burst free. It itches and picks but I have repressed it due to the need for continued adultness during scool and work. Hrumph.

Richelle said...

That is great! You ARE a good writer.

Michal said...

this was so well written. i think that everyone goes through this at some point--the great thing is that you aren't blaming your husband and children for her death, nor do you think that you have to give up your current life to let her live again. perhaps you are just at a time and place when the two of you can coexist --the best parts of each one of you.
great essay, lizzy.

LaDonnaMobile said...

This is awesome--it summarizes why I still love to watch teen flicks and am obsessed with the Twilight saga--because I am still in love with the youthful, exuberant, (not to mention gorgeous) self that I used to be in high school! The self who started dwindling with my "freshman 15" and hasn't been seen since I first gave birth. I love this almost gothic tribute to those hidden ghosts from our past! Now instead of Rest in Peace, we should declare "Long may they live!" :)

clan of the cave hair said...

what a great entry about your inner brat! There's room for her in your life, in moderation, right?

DJzoey said...

Wow! Reading this made me miss her too! I remember "her" well. I was always the cookie cutter blonde conformist in High School. I was jealous of the way she looked so good in tattered shorts, a white t-shirt and an old vest from D.I. (I even borrowed those items from her and was never able to look as cool as did). I remember walking into her room and being entertained the whole time. Her room was always full of off the wall items. Her room looked like a design from an abscure artist in the museum of modern art. He free spirit and love of books made me feel dumb, I wished I could be her... to be confident like her... say what I felt. Now I sit here and ponder how much I truly miss that wiild untaimed spirit... then I think, "DANG, where the HECK did the skinny blonde conformist go too?"

Amber M. said...

My gosh, this post took my breath away.

Awesome.

Scribbit said...

Totally unique and totally wonderful--I want to see a picture of how that hairstyle is going to look :) I'm picturing a very 80s you . . .

Annie said...

Great writing! I hope you win :) But honestly, let her out...she's a ton a fun, you know she is!

:)

32 Flavors said...

Oh you. You made me pull out my overalls. I just looked at them because I am still about 10 lbs. away from not looking poochy in them. Won't ever give up the pigtails however...

An Ordinary Mom said...

Most excellent post. There is a lot about me that I would like to unearth as well. I really do want to start playing volleyball again ...

Joanna said...

just found your blog today. i love your whole layout and headline picture. it's so cute. my freezer is empty,too. i feel ashamed haha

Laura said...

Good job! When's your novel going to be finished? I want to read it.

By the way, your mirror picture reminded me of when your sister told me that ghosts are in mirrors. Ever since then, I've never been able to look at a mirror in the dark. It's too spooky.

Sonja said...

Perfect.

On behalf of all of us haunted by our unfrumpy, younger selves...

thank you.

Jeanette said...

I love this! And very timely for me as I was just looking at old pictures and had had similar thoughts. What happened to her and how did she become me?

Kristi said...

Wonderful! Many of mothers are shouting amen at this one. I hope you win.

just jamie said...

Oooooh, this is GOOD!