Time to Remember
"Who are you supposed to be?"
For a second I didn't know how to respond. Sure, I had gotten that question several times that day, but each time the answer seemed inadequate. Earlier that day, everyone seemed to have their own ideas (Papa Smurf, blue man group, the Beast from X-men, or just "scary") and who was I to tell them they're wrong. I know I should have answered with "Who do you think I am?" but instead I replied "The ghost of myself. " and shrugged.
He cocked his head and squinched up his eyes as he studied me. "I like it!. He said, nodding his head and smiling.
We were bar acquaintances who only knew each other peripherally- over the many years of seeing each other across various bar in the area we had shared few words.After a few minutes of chit-chat I patted him on the back and told him it was nice talking with him. He reached out and brushed my arm as I started to move away , an awkward attempt to pat me back. I smiled before turning, waved and said "Later, man." and ambled off to my stool on the deserted back patio.
It was early Halloween eve, and the bar was starting to fill with patrons. Unfortunately for me, besides the lone guy I had briefly talked to, I knew not a soul. Also, besides myself, no one else was wearing a costume. Sure, it was the day before Halloween, but in the past there would be costume revelers throughout the weekend. This year the actual holiday landed on a Saturday and this particular bar was having its' party that night. Picture if you will, a forty-eight year old man slathered with blue paint and a rumpled suit amongst a sea of well dressed people enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail. Kind of scary, and not in a good or intended way.
Maybe it was the time - it was only 8:30. The ghouls don't show up until much later I told myself, but my anticipation for my favorite holiday had inspired me to slather on my makeup before going to work, so at this point I had been painted for well over eleven hours. Amazingly my makeup was in solid shape (the sheer will power it took to not scratch my face was immeasurable) but the thick blue greasepaint was suffocating and making me a little nauseous. Slamming back several margaritas seemed to be the best medicine for it, but then I was just sleepy.
Past Halloweens flashed before my eyes, spent at this very bar with my friends, drunken revelries all. This had been one of my favorite haunts but the past couple years had brought much change. Where before I had no witching hour, now my mornings came early and my energy faded well before midnight. My circle of friends have changed (or evaporated) and now my infrequent sojourns to this fine establishment were spent alone in the corner sipping my cocktails and hiding behind my phone until the battery died and I would leave.
Chalk it up to age or life choices, this was now my life. I knew I would not return the next night for the party- the moment had passed. The realization that I had no one to come with (or babysit or take care of) hit me and a quiet night at home actually sounded...comfortable. I'm not sure if this is progress or just tragic, but I am okay with it. I am the ghost of my self. It doesn't mean that I'm not corporeal. It just means I've "passed on" from that former life.
I think that is who I'm meant to be.
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