May 25, 2020

My Favorite Ghosts

There is a specific temperature that Robby's shower reaches that unlocks a memory of his younger self, also showering. He suggests that our being inside is firing up old neural pathways gone dormant: the now empty sidewalks of the mind full to bursting with memories, like weeds finally free to grow through the cracks.

I don’t cry much but, when I do, it is reminiscent of that final desert scene from Holes: the one where it rains at Camp Greenlake and the great-great-granddaughter of that awful gold-toothed racist never gets to look at the treasure. Except that I have begun crying in my sleep, waking up to inexplicable sorrow – the dreams usually gone but the feelings lingering like ghosts.

I’m on my hands and knees cleaning the tile in front of the toilet, where, I am convinced, all men will pee at one point or another. Then I am on Rue de l’Abreuvoir with Holly and Rachel and Harrison. Everything is a cold pink, that low blush of exerted cheeks. It’s so vivid that I can hold the feeling there even as the cobbled streets of Paris turn back into old linoleum.

Whether it is because I am again walking the hills of my earliest memories or whether it is because I suppress too much of my emotion, I am constantly being soaked by the showers of recollection. History inserts itself like a Kissing Kate Barlow interlude and waking feels like sleeping.

It’s April 5 and pale spring sun sifts through the blinds of my childhood bedroom. Celebratory cinnamon rolls are being baked in the kitchen and Washington light is grinning through its blue bulb, forever masquerading as wintertime. It is my first morning in the house since my two-week quarantine and, as I wake, I get the distinct feeling that it is Christmas day.

Apparently, lower atmospheric pressure means lower temperature and lower temperature, in general, means more precipitation. This is what my body has been experiencing. It has nowhere to be at any specific time and rarely a specific thought to think. It's less pressurized and infrequently overheated. All it's clouds are moving around, they're making funny shapes.
I wonder whether this is okay, to not know whether I am seeking the memories out or whether they are seeking me. People pull weeds! People have jobs! People don’t care about the 1965 1st Perennial Classic Edition of Aldous Huxley’s After Many a Summer Dies a Swan! People keep some neural pathways dormant! People carry umbrellas!

Here, it's raining. I am taking Polaroid snapshots of my favorite ghosts. I am turning the shower's temperature dial.