Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ghost Town

When I was growing up as an angry teenager in the Valley,
I used to think I saw my mom everywhere.
I saw her crossing the street, in the stands at the football game, driving a car...
One time I was so convinced I saw her driving towards me, I quickly stubbed out the cigarette I was smoking, as if her catching me would have meant something.
When the car passed and I could see the driver was not my mother,  I was angry at myself for stubbing the cigarette out and I quickly tried to salvage the broken butt.
My hallucinations were not totally unfounded. When I graduated the sixth grade, I told her not to come and she showed up.
And then at my 8th grade graduation, one of my aunts or maybe it was my dad told me she was standing at the back of the church when I received my creative writing award.
I never asked her if it was true. I didn't see her again until my high school graduation, which I did invite her to. She gave me a tiny gold necklace with three tiny diamonds and kept telling me that the diamonds were real. The necklace was real.
I got smashed out of my mind that night.
Still in the valley, sometimes I think I see her. But now that I want to see her I wonder if those living ghosts will go away.
I wonder about a new kind of haunting. Coming down the West Fourth subway station yesterday, I saw my grandmother on the platform waiting for the A train. She looked at me and then someone crossed in front of me. But when they passed, there was a different woman standing there.
It's the second time I've seen her waiting for the train.
This morning I read the New Yorker's review on Robin Hood,  the last movie in Hollywood I had my fingerprints on. The review deconstructs the character of Robin Hood and the many versions of his story and they describe Errol Flynn's merry Robin Hood walking on camera with a deer slung over his neck.
I am suddenly eight years old, watching the movie in my grandparents bed. I ask my grandfather if the deer is real and I can't remember his answer but it makes me feel better. I watched that movie every time I slept over at my grandparents house and every time in their bed where I would fall asleep and then magically wake up in the guest bedroom in the morning.
I hear his whistle all the time.
When I was in LA, I told Mike that this was not going to affect my everyday life.
As if I am ever really in control.
The difference is, I'm not scared this time. I'm just curious.

1 comment:

daleboca said...

beautiful. i saw my grandfather once on bway on new year's eve after he died. i found it comforting, as are memories i have in my grandparents' bed (eating apples not watching movies).
thank you.