Monday, April 17, 2017

Haunting Myself

I believe in ghosts now—because I saw some on the corner of College and Broad the other day, and they were all me. I was, like, haunting myself.

I was stopped at the red light there, facing west, and I walked right in front of me, pushing teeny-tiny Sullivan in a baby stroller. I was limping a little, because I had these new shoes on and I'd attempted to walk all the way to Vic Park without knowing what they were capable of (not much, apparently).

I looked worried—ghost me, not real me. Ghost me had this big line across her forehead and she was staring straight ahead of her like she was thinking very hard about something. I don't remember what it was, probably something to do with that miniature version of Sullivan, asleep in the stroller. I remember worrying a lot when he was little, because I'd been warned profusely, mostly by the internet, that death was lurking around every single corner for babies. And I really, really liked this baby; I didn't want him to die. So I worried my way through his entire babyhood. And it must have worked, because here he is, not dead.

As I watched myself pass, I saw another me approaching from the opposite side of the road. She was wearing cut-off jean shorts and pushing a more toddler-sized Sullivan in the same stroller, now without the carseat attachment. She looked a lot happier than the first ghost, and she was pointing at trees and birds and cars, chatting away happily with her ghost child. I saw that she had a tote bag under her shoulder and remembered that she was on her way to the Folk Festival. She was wearing the same pair of shoes as the first ghost, but they were broken in now and didn't make her limp.

And there was another, and she didn't have a baby with her but her belly stuck out like a beach ball and she waddled along, much slower than all the other ghosts.

And then I saw another, and another, and another. Some were walking hand-in-hand with Sullivan, some were pushing him in the stroller, one had him in a backpack carrier. Most of them, aside from the one with the very small baby, looked cheerful and content, because this is the intersection I have to cross to get downtown or to 13th Ave, which usually means I'm going to meet a friend for coffee or for music in the park or something like that. Besides, walking in and of itself makes me feel happy and content, and it's always seemed to do the same for Sullivan. We both like to be going somewhere.

How many times have Sullivan and I crossed this intersection in the past three years? That's how many ghosts there were. Maybe hundreds. It occurred to me that in another few years, a future me might stop at this same intersection on, say, the south side, and see the ghost of me today.

Maybe someday, when Sully's all grown up and I miss this stage of life, I'll just go back to that haunted intersection and watch ghosts.

4 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful image. I drive through that intersection on my way home from work and now I'll have to keep an eye out for your ghosts. I can almost see them now.

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  2. LOVE this. Such an interesting concept.

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  3. Gorgeous. Your writing still gets me after all this time!

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