15.1.06

Ghosts

I feel:: indescribable
What song is on a loop in my head right now:: Soundgarden~Spoon Man

Just got in from seeing Tristan and Isolde. It was a good movie, but what really affected me is what I did afterwards. Ever since I lived at Ground Zero I have had dreams about that place. I dream that I'm still there and that I'm running some sort of a library/coffee shop. In the 10 years since I moved from there I have only been back twice, including tonight. I can't believe I did it. I mean, how many people would walk up into a closed apartment building at 1am? There are still apartments there and people living in them. One girl was having a little party in the apartment where we used to have band practice. She invited me in and it nearly took my breath away. Talk about having flashbacks. I could see all of my old friends walking and talking in there still, like ghosts. I was really embarrassed that they found me wandering around in the hallway at 1 in the morning, so I didn't stay long. After I left her apartment, I found myself sitting on the front stairs seeing and hearing more ghosts of old friends long gone. I got up to try to leave, but found myself standing in front of my old apartment with my hand over my heart trying to peer inside the door to see if it was still the same as when I lived there. I walked down to the other end of the hallway and stood in front of Richard and Kacey's old apartment as well. Ghosts again. I was standing there trying not to cry as I remembered when Micheal tried to climb up inside the old circuit breaker box in the wall. The hole went all the way to the top of the building and down all the way to the ground. We couldn't guess what they had used it for.

I found myself remembering sitting on my mother's 1970s era rust colored sectional sofa that she gave me belting out Mahalia Jackson songs to soothe myself when I thought I was all alone. Turns out Richard and Kacey could hear me as clear as a bell. I found that out years later and also that they always knew when I was upset or sad because I would sing the blues at the top of my lungs.

I remembered the winter that I lived there with no heat. It was so, so cold that winter. The gas company would not allow me to have gas to the space heaters in my apartment because the pipes inside the building were so old they couldn't stand the pressure. I had wear 3 or 4 layers of clothing whenever I was at home and nighttime was worse. I slept in all my layers of clothes underneath 5 or 6 comfortors and a couple of afghans. It was so cold that there was ice on the inside of all my windows. I had no hot water, so if I wanted to take a shower, it was like standing underneath a freezing waterfall. I actually didn't shower much that winter because I was afraid of getting pneumonia. I also spent that winter living on unsweetened Kool-Aid and Instant Red-Eye Gravy Grits that I got from one of the local church food closets.

I lived at Ground Zero for 5 years. Those were the hardest years of my life. I have never had to struggle for the basic nessecities of life like I did then. How poor are you when you can't even afford Ramen noodles? Yet, I found my very first family there. That's why I stayed and waded through hell, because I thought they loved me. Turns out, while the rest of them were sitting in their warm/air conditioned houses and eating all the food they could stomach, Richard, Kacey and I were eeking out our existence from day to day never knowing where our next meal would come from or what we would do if were so unlucky as to get sick. All the while sharing what little we had with whomever was in need while the rest of them shut their homes up like Fort Knox. It is a measure of how dysfunctional I was (am) that I thought that kind of treatment was loving. It was better than anything I had experienced before and I was loyal to them. I would have died for them.

Yet, when all was said and done and we were forced to disband because Jerry VanDyke bought the entire building, everyone went their separate ways. I had to move home to Camden with Dad. No one called me or even wrote me. It was like I had never known them-my family. That is why I have trouble going to the church they all go to now, of which our old drummer is the pastor. I see them and all I see is selfishness and I want to guard my heart because I know that if they could do it once, they could do it again. Still, though, I love them, still pray daily for them and want to be a part of them I guess because I miss that sense of belonging that I once had. I don't feel like I belong anywhere. I guess that's why I went to the old building at a ridiculous hour in the morning. I think I need some kind of closure.

They still don't make any attempt to keep in touch with me. When I call, I get short, curt, one word responses which makes me think that they really don't want to talk to me. It makes me feel like the whole time I spent with them was a lie. It makes me feel like I was a fool and continue to be a fool for hoping, like a kicked dog, that they could ever love me. I know they don't, but I want them to. It's this that I've been trying to come to terms with for the last 10 years, among other things. Why am I so emotionally tied to these people and that building?

I thought about going to church in the morning, but now I'm not sure that I want to. I don't know if I can face them without unforgiveness harboring in my heart like a sucking blackness.

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