I’m a Ghost with Unfinished Business

Channeling Sappho

BECAUSE I DIED on the phone with you that day and I think you know it too.

Saying what you knew would obliterate my heart in the hopes that I would stay away. To sacrifice the one for the many, “This is best for everyone” you said. But is it or is it just best for him? Because you, me, and your child are casualties in this too–and what’s best for them might very well be me and you. Surely the three of us all suffer the loss of each other in this, but it’s what you needed to do.

You didn’t feel anything, you don’t love me you claimed through shaky tears–still holding me to your ear for 30 excruciating minutes longer than necessary if these words were true, as I begged for us to still be friends. But we both know that’s impossible, because were we ever really just friends? Your words made little sense then–in stark contrast to every lingering embrace we shared, those leg touches and face caresses, how you moaned against my lips after asking “What is this?” or the beautiful way you shuddered while meeting that wonderful crescendo of pleasure.

No, I was being foolish. There is no being friends after this. Which is why he asked you to throw me away and you knew it had to be done too. Especially after I confessed my love, thinking even then in my naivety that it was all just me–it had to be–how we both surprised each other with this possibility but I knew all along as I hid my growing feelings for you. Blaming myself for it, “I’m so sorry” I cried when I said it out loud finally. Could you forgive me for it, this shame I felt for never knowing I could love another woman–for ignoring the signs all of my life and thus putting us both willfully in danger. This was all my fault, I thought. I should have done more to protect us from spelling our own doom–as inevitable as this accidental crossing of the line felt, so consumed in the moment of a mutual truth, I didn’t stop to realize that you weren’t being honest either. Stupidly thinking you had his permission in this too.

How many times you questioned if you even deserved me, perhaps knowing you were capable all along of the ability to destroy me. That you might have to, for their sake but not ours. You were already saying goodbye to me, weren’t you? Afterwards, when we cried about it–what we had done and the people we would be hurting, how we had to bury this–the way you traced your fingers lovingly along my cheek just smiling and gazing into my eyes for what felt like an eternity. Perhaps to commit me in memory, the way I was then, not letting me look away when I tried–“Hey, sweetheart…” lifting my chin so that I would keep looking back at you. I would like to thank you for it now, having not seen your beautiful face for over a year. I can still feel and remember this moment, how happy we were in that shared intimacy together–to have that truth in closeness resting between us.

We have to forget about each other.” You cried. And maybe this is what I deserve, for the mistake in thinking to love someone altruistically could ever be without sorrow. But I’m so sorry for all of it, for the anger he must have felt when you tried to make it all right after, for the suffering your child went through when I was ripped from their life and never knowing the real reason why, and for you too–because I suspect that now you’re hiding more than just the truth of us.

So maybe I deserve to be dead and forgotten, perhaps best for everyone–to never see or speak to each other ever again, like you said. “If you really want to help me,” you begged, “Do this for my kids.” Knowing I would, because I would do anything for them and for you. Even if that means lying down in my grave and letting you bury me without a headstone. Here Lies This Tragic Mistake. And hoping you all go on to live and be happy together, forgetting me and my presence there.

But a part of me still hopes that my love will continue to haunt you long after I’ve been gone. Because I will never forget you and I will always love you. To hold my memory in your heart knowing that someone out there–even if they are dead and gone and no more of your world–still thinks of you and cherishes everything that you are. All of the good and all of the bad, embracing you fully and holding you dear–to give you strength and self-love. To know that you do, in fact, deserve it anyway.

And I suppose this is why I love history, because though I am nothing now but a faint figment of dust, I will forever exist as something that happened once. That is where I will live now for eternity, as a piece from your past.