Thursday, March 13, 2008


I don’t believe that houses, apartment, cemeteries, churches, or any other inanimate space can be haunted. I believe it is the people that inhabit them who are haunted. I am haunted, particularly by the dream I had last night.

In my dream, my last girlfriend was in a car with me. Her friend “Julie” was there, too. The two girls were in the backseat, my mother was driving, and I was in the passenger side. She was telling Julie about her current boyfriend, who apparently the nephew of a very successful artist “Amano.” Apparently she and he hated all the attention they got because of it, and the two of them were actually still quite poor, and living in Japan. All the while, I was pretending to sleep. It was as if I wanted to give the pretense of not caring that she was so far away and not available. For simplicity, I’m calling her N/A.

Somehow we were now on a bus, along with my father and my cousin “Al.” Al went over to talk to her, and gave her a cigarette. I didn’t know that she smoked. The two of them smoked and chatted for a bit; I couldn’t make out what they were saying. My dad was so disgusted by all the smoking that he got off the bus.

Al comes up to me finally and tells me that I really screwed up. He was really smug about it too. I believe I had a clever comeback, but I can’t remember what it was. It can’t have been that clever, and he did have a point.

Finally, it came time to get off the bus, but I couldn’t get off, because I was naked. I guess no awful, anxiety-ridden dream is truly complete without nudity. I’m surprised I wasn’t on my way to write an exam. Or losing a tooth.

So I woke up trying to make sense of it all. Very quickly after dreams such as these, the only sense I can make of them is that I’m thinking about her. That I miss her.

Why would she be smoking? Why would Al be there? Who the hell is this “Amano” artist guy, and does he even have a nephew? Why of all of N/A’s friends, was she traveling with Julie? I always liked Julie; she always made N/A smile. Why were my parents there? Why did my father get off so early?

Actually, that was pretty spot on with his sentiments. Smoking killed his father, that’s not an easy thing to watch someone die of. It takes years, and this is how it all starts – with young, innocent passive puffs, interlaced into ordinary conversation. My parents, particularly my mom, were very fond of N/A. I think it goes without saying that they’re fond of my cousin Al too. That is why my dad couldn’t watch.

The thing I remember thinking most clearly in the dream, was the moment I discovered N/A smoked. What a complete change of character, I thought. Did I do this to her? Is this the effect I had on her, when I yanked our love out from under us?

In the last real conversation I had with N/A, she said some very hurtful things to me. Things I keep thinking that the N/A I know would say to anyone. That’s not what she’s like. She cares too deeply to ever do that. To anyone, let alone me. Yet she said them, and not with emotion, it was all passive. It was as if she wasn’t really all there. That’s what made it hurt the most.

Now years have passed. I don’t know much at all about her current life. Why can’t I talk to her? It’s been so long that at this point I’d just come off as desperate and creepy, yet it only seems to get worse. So here I sit, haunted by the crushed spirit of a woman who is still alive.

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