What is the appropriate feeling to have when one of your nightmares drops dead?
Another one down. Another ghost from my past is gone. I’m not inhuman enough to feel joy. I am, however, hurt enough from times past to now feel … relief. When I was a child wishing that they all would die, I never stopped to imagine the day they actually would.
Now I think about it. A lot.
I think about my biggest demon and what I will feel like when Carol is gone, and wonder if the last laugh will be that my stepmother outlives me, but I just might be okay with that. There’s a child buried deep inside who petulantly pouts under the covers of her bed at night, thinking “maybe they’d miss me then.”
A penny for my thoughts – oh no, I’ll sell ‘em for a dollar. They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner. Maybe then you’ll hear the words I’ve been singin’, funny when you’re dead how people start listening…
Slowly Carol has lost her family, and has tried to latch on to those of us she’s spurned for so long, but she doesn’t know how to work around her shortcomings, and I don’t care enough to make it easy for her. And now her niece, Christie, has died – Carol’s cohort in the crime of torturing me all those years ago. Hearing the news that another toxic fruit has rotted off of the family tree wasn’t something I considered a loss.
Someone asked me once, as I’ve written of my ghosts, what is my purpose? I had to think long and hard about that. Revenge? Personal satisfaction? Some kind of zen enlightenment?
I don’t always have the need to name names. When writing of a sin that has been committed against me, that has haunted me, I don’t have to put a face on the criminal. I harbor the hope that my telling will put a face to their crime.
I suppose they had their scars to bear as well. There were stories that might have explained their inhumane behavior, but a child doesn’t much understand such things. I only wondered what evil cloud I’d been born upon to be treated so unfairly. It was a hazing I had to endure to be a part of a family I never wanted to claim. The blood between us was shed, not shared.
Over the years, having distanced myself from those who are now sober-by-a-thread and asking my forgiveness, I’ve played the game, smiling sympathetically from my pulpit made of irony and self-righteousness.
One by one, the demons are fading. Falling into their graves. As I tiptoe toward my own tombstone, hiding behind creaking, barren trees, the shadows dance wickedly beneath a knowing moon. This isn’t a tale of forgiveness, hatred or redemption. It’s just a story of a girl trying to outrun her ghosts.
“So I walk up high and step to the ledge to see my world below, and I laugh at myself while the tears roll down, ‘cause it’s the world I know.”
© Kymberlie Ingalls,
January 17, 2012
Lyrics: If I Die Young / The Band Perry, The World I Know / Collective Soul
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