Monday, January 1, 2007

The Ghosts of Years Past...

So in not keeping with the spirit of looking toward a bright and shiny new year, it seems the past has reared up its head (and really, why do people always think it has an ugly head?) and presented me with a buffet of my past to peruse and pick through: ex-girlfriend? ex-friend from bibble college? youth group student? cousin?

MySpace is a veritable cacophony of lost souls reaching out into the ether world of wires and connections, seeking out those with whom you may have unfinished business, a simply longing to reconnect, or a curious fascination with unknowns throughout the world...

Let's travel, my friends: Back... back toward... The Bible College Days!!! (insert sounds of crashing thunder as lightening slashes the sky and winds howl through dead trees overarching the window as I hunch over the computer...)

Okay, perhaps a little over-the-top; it's in my genes.

How did this start? What are the circumstances surrounding the mysterious appearance of a Jason Hughes MySpace page?...

As always, it starts with a kiss... (SCCREEECCHHH!!! No it didn't!) Okay, fine, but reality is, as usual, a lot less dramatic. It started with a friend who had one and wanted to show me all the "cool" stuff you could do... I was unimpressed but left it up so people could find this veritable Project of Life site...

First it was the usual suspects: a sister, a cousin, a few others whom you currently know who have been sucked in to MySpace world without apology or regret. Things appear to be going swimmingly. You stop by once a month just to check messages and whatnot...

And there it was. Who is this? you ask yourself when you don't recognize the sender of the latest "friend request." (I'm one of those, I think rare, persons who only add people I actually, physically know as "friends" in the MySpace realm. Not quite sure why, but I think the term "friend" or "buddy" isn't something you just get for having the knowledge of dialing up a computer, but a knowledge and conversation in getting to know someone...) I investigate--it's a young lady who used to be in my youth group at church (whom my one sister cares nothing for, but that's another story). She's doing great, repopulating the earth and all that with four kids, whatever. She was always full of energy and fun, so it's no surprise that her life (thus far) seems to be great. I'm happy to hear from her; it brings back some fuzzy warms and remembrances of a simpler time, a gentler time, when the lion laid down with the gopher and made loafers....

And that's how they get you. You think, "Hmm, I wonder who else is on here that I could look up?" And so I start typing in random names of people whom I used to be fairly close to, find a few, read up on them, don't initiate any contact as I haven't seen these people in years and most times there's no need to open those windows when they've been nailed shut, know what I mean?

Then I found hers. She had been a great friend. We had been planning on getting married. And I kept telling myself, This is the one; she's awesome, fun, caring, yadda yadda yadda... But I knew in my heart of hearts she hadn't been The One. She was female to begin with. I knew even then that I was gay, although I still hadn't admitted to myself what all that entailed. But I knew as we were together longer that I could never be faithful. Not all of my needs were met; I'm not sure what all the ins and outs are of psychological needs and desires and how that relates to the plumbing one is born with, but I just knew: This won't work...

I knew I had hurt her badly, although she seemed to close up in on herself and handle it well, but I didn't know for sure as we definitely drifted apart... Not only were we five or six states away on the Atlantic coast during summer break, but just the revelation of the truth in a new and real form was a wedge not easily overcome...

I stared at her MySpace. I left. I went back a few days later. Should I say hi? Should I let her know I'm okay and ask about her? Should I ignore it? I didn't want to ignore her... She had been (and still is, from what I gather) the same girl who was my best friend for a few years; still had that same ready smile on her lips in her photo... Would this only reopen wounds? Would she be glad to hear from me?

I went back and forth, back and forth; the commercialization of finding people made me uneasy. Was this an impersonal way to reconnect? Should I even do so? But I did it; I sent her a small letter letting her know I had seen her MySpace and just wanted to say hi, and that she needn't write back if she didn't want to.

And The Wait began. You know The Wait. It's always there, hanging out in the back of your mind, wanting to check your email at every waking moment; Did she get the email? When did she last log on? I'll be at peace if she at least acknowledges it enough to say "Buzz off!" But as weeks went by, The Wait became less and less, and soon I forgot about the message I had sent. Not entirely, of course, but enough so that I was no longer expecting any kind of note or acknowledgement, and life remained as it had always been: Enjoyable.

Then three nights ago, just after a lot of folks had finished celebrations of the winter solstice in its many varying forms (although we have only now just finished Phase I and Phase II of our festival of Dec.-Jan.), there was the telltale note in my inbox: "You have received a new message from ______ on your MySpace."

I stopped. I just looked at it. Should I open it and read it? Is it good or bad? Was she glad or sad to hear from me? I stop again.

I need to first let my sometimes jealous and paranoid freak of a husband know about this. (Love you Rich! :D; he'll get me back for this later, I'm sure...) So I say:

Me: Rich, I just got an email from an old college girlfriend.
Rich: A what?
Me: A girlfriend? From college? You know, like a boyfriend, but without a penis?
Rich: (Wry look.) What does it say?
Me: I dunno. I haven't opened it yet. I just didn't want you to think I was hiding anything from you or whatever. Just wanted to let you know before I opened it.
Rich: You're weird. Read the email!
Me: You aren't upset?
Rich: You haven't read the email yet...
Me: So you're okay with me reading this email...
Rich: Is she trying to talk you into running off and leaving me with a dog and no pet-support payments?
Me: I dunno.
Rich: Well, if she does, let me know. Then I'll get jealous. Until then...
Me: (I shake my head, mildly amused at his "okayness.") I love you.
Rich: Love you, too.
So after that little delay in which I guess part of me hoped that he would rage and I could blame him for reclosing that book, I clicked it open...

Incredulity (but in what I suspect is a good way); Happiness (I think); and a "contact me" request. All very simple and straightforward. I didn't know what I was expecting, really. Anger definitely. Some bitterness perhaps. Maybe a demand for an apology, but that wouldn't be like her either.

And then two more messages from people I haven't seen for years. Apparently there's some sort of gossip column going around now about the Lost Gay Sheep of Bibble College. A lot of hi's and how are ya's. I'm assuming the ones who've read my profile and saw "Gay" there either decided to ignore it, or just don't care; I hope it's the latter. It had been a real upheaval and point of contention with a lot of folks when I left bibble college; there were bitter memories with certain people there.

So I start this New Year, this 2007, with memories and people of the past; and I say to myself, They must be compatible with the people of my life now. Thirteen years changes a lot of things; and some things wouldn't change if Zeus himself rose from the depths and demanded a game of Monopoly with every deities' spokesperson on the earth. But if nothing else comes from this speaking to the ghosts of the past, I know one thing: I tried. Much like Ebeneezer who needed to go back to find his decent humanness, I know that I am traveling with those ghosts now. In search of something? Not that I know of, but perhaps a little more compassion for people who chose different life paths at that point in our lives. And maybe perhaps reconnect with a friend or two. And, maybe, just maybe, we'll manage to bridge a divide that seems to divide our nation: the bibble versus real life.

Here's to a bright and happy New Year! May your ghosts of the past do nothing but uphold you, love you, and teach you how to make every year greater, and reaffirm your zest and zeal for life on our rock! Life is all we have--here's to making 2007 one of the best!

4 comments:

Darkmind said...

It's like "School Ties" meets "Gross Point Blank"! BWA HA HA HA!!

Sylvia said...

Ok, I'm commenting....oh...so scared, and don't know what to say.
well, here goes it!
Ja, your post about this past girlfriend from your college days was very funny. I laughed so hard. I love your posts...but you know that already, since I tell you all the time.
Anywho, keep 'em coming. I'm actually being contacted from one of the Queefers (Kieffers lol) and don't know what to do...maybe I'll block him. In this techno world we live in, it's easy to ignore your ghosts and pretend they don't exsist.

comment to Darkmind - not trying to sound mean...but you look like Hitler without the mustache.

Love ya Ja!

Darkmind said...

Comment to sylvia-not trying to sound defensive-but that is not a picture of me. It's Trofim Lysenko. I just use the picture...

Sylvia said...

Comment back to Darkmind...THANK GOD IT'S NOT REALLY YOU!!!! now I can sleep so much better.
Let me say this though, Trofim looks like Hitler without the stache.