Creativity Magazine


Posted on the 19 March 2019 by Berijoy @berijoy
Ghosted If someone does not want me it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings. ~Nayyirah Waheed

And just like that, vanished. Gone, as surreptitiously as he had entered my life. I was caught unawares and waited thinking any day that he would re-surface. He never did.

He brought illusions, a now-you-see-me-now-you-don't sleight of hand that captured my attention and my heart, not unlike that child who watches with fascination as the man makes dogs and monkeys out of inflated balloons, his squeaky twists and turns as captivating as the latex animals he fashions. It is a sound that calls forth apparitions from the dark recesses of my consciousness. Hocus pocus! And I was left like Felix the Cat, holding a very confusing bag of tricks.

Do I wear a sign that over me that says, "Welcome, Hungry Ghosts. Feed here."?

The beautiful charmer danced all over my heart.

I still am not used to this new-fangled way people do social interactions. Texting, facetiming, whatsapping. It's the 21st century, and I feel like a relic from 100 years ago, when nothing was so important, so urgent that you had to make a phone call, for example, while walking down the street.

But I digress.

It happened once before and I was, as well, disappointed. I had always given people the benefit of the doubt, assumed their intentions were good, took their word at face value. One friend called me "Pollyanna". Another years later said I was too compassionate for my own good.

The Scientist, one man with whom I got on fairly well when we met, came to visit. We had a great time. But, summarily upon his return to his city, he sent me an email, saying something like, "it was really nice to meet you and your family, but this is not going to work." Nothing more. I read it several times, surprised as much by the mode of delivery of the message, as its content.

I never knew why he sent it.

There is nothing I detest so much as unfinished business. I spent months weeping over possible transgressions I might have made. I let loving friends speak peace to my heart, while cautioning me to value myself more.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

~Kent M Keith, from "The Paradoxical Commandments"

I have never been able to make meaning of or, peace with people who do things for no apparent reason-nor do they seem to be man or woman enough to tell me. Am I such a dinosaur that I believe in owning my part in friendships with other human beings? Is it too much to ask that people man/woman up and treat others with kindness, respect, and civility, and deserving of the human touch, and not through the cold, impersonal devices (or ways that have been spawned from them), that have become an unnecessary evil of modern times?

And then, there was The Geek. A woman I met online and I became friends when she arrived in town. As we got to know each other, we got on fairly well. We hung out, went to lunch, and I introduced her to others in our small community. I may have well been the only local friend who had been invited to her home. All was well, as far as I knew. I didn't see her often, but once a month, or so, the community gathered for communal meals and occasional social outings. She made me laugh and we discussed many topics in the short time I got to know her. Then, she took an extended vacation. At some point, I sent a message to say hi and see how things were going. I knew she thought our homeland a beast, and wanted to see if she was well. She never responded to my message. Several months later, after she returned, I reached out to inquire after her journey. Without a word, she unfriended me from Facebook. I was truly perplexed.

I went over and over in my head to see if I had inadvertently said or done something offensive, or wrong. Additionally, I sought counsel from two mutual acquaintances who said, "She's going through something," and "People are strange," simultaneously. This gave me no solace. Especially when she still talked to them. Their words rested in me in an unholy way. I couldn't be at peace. I tried to figure it out, but to no avail.

Eventually, after many months, I stopped trying to solve the puzzle, and left it to the Fates. I was sure that I had done nothing for which I would earn bad karma. I let it go.

One day, almost a year later, I was in the grocery store checkout line. I was placing my items on the conveyor belt and watching them roll toward the opposite end. In other words, I was bored and distracted. Suddenly, I heard a loud "Hey!" I whipped my head around to see from where the voice was coming. It was this woman who had stopped talking with me. My mouth agape, I turned and walked toward her, keeping my shock mostly to myself. "Hey!" I said back, inadvertently opening my arms to give her a hug. The smile on her face went ear to ear, and as I pretended that there was nothing that was strange about the interaction, I talked mindlessly, all the while dumbfounded. We chatted briefly about her return to the States, and then, said goodbye.

Startled, I turned back to complete my checkout. I never knew what caused the whole thing in the first place.

Fast forward...cycle back.

So, when this Magic Man with whom I cultivated a friendship, with whom I have great love and affection, just stopped talking with me, I was again taken by surprise. And deeply saddened. I didn't want to conclude the worse, but I could hear Maya Angelou whispering in my ear, "When people show you who they are, believe them."

What had I done? We had been around and around and back again. True. But we were friends, family, even. But what was so offensive, so hurtful, so awful that it sent him into hibernation without a word? The birthday wishes I sent hung in the air, emptily. I never knew if he liked the gift I sent him. I clearly violated some unknown code, but I never knew. He never told me, never bothered. I cried many a tear for the loss. How can you mend what you don't know has been rent?

Is it true that 'there's a sucker born every minute'?

Thing is, I know that the ways people respond have everything to do with them, but still. I can't stop hoping that whatever unmet needs still lurk in my own heart, that lie-in-wait for my attention, are in the end, not endlessly and forever fed upon by hungry ghosts, who despite their plunder cannot be filled. I now leave an offering of kindness and forgiveness on the altar of care, that they might be fed and soothed.

And, though I tire, I walk bravely forward, more loving of beings, than weary. I am a hopeless believer in loving kindness, compassion, and goodwill, even when it's showing me its backside.

I know, too, that my heart will heal. I am resilient.

And I will not be easily tricked into believing that I cannot, should not trust.

Nor, try.

Hungry ghosts be damned.

© 2019. Egyirba High. All Rights Reserved.

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