• Admin

The Phantom in My Sleep: A Five Part Series, Part I

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Dear Ben,

It feels funny writing you a letter; it's been so long now. How many years is it - seven or eight? Time gets blurry when we had so many beginnings, endings and in betweens.

I still think about you from time to time; your face paves its way into a random, weeknight dream and somehow I still wake up not quite feeling like myself. I wonder if it will always be that way with you; if ten years down the road you'll still crawl into the driftless stirrings of my life. If you'll still peek your head in to compare the way things were then to how they are with someone else now.

The truth is, you did so many things to hurt me, I don't know why I still think of you. It's not intentional; I'm not missing you or us; but sometimes I catch glimpses of the way your dark, arcane eyes met mine and how you had this perplexity to you. As much as I knew you, I didn't know you. There was always another layer to unravel, a new identity to be found.

In the beginning, it was the way you looked at me that carved out this space for you, vacant in my chest. You dug yourself a hole and planted a flag along the inner linings of my ribs. It's deep and hollow and gently filling, but not yet brimmed.

How is it that someone who was reckless beyond measure is still hiding in the background of my mind? What is it about you that I just can't rid myself entirely of?

I've met many others after you; men who were kinder, stronger, stable, more responsive. Men that far surpassed who you'll ever become. But it was your subtlety that was the most intriguing. It was your nuance that threw me away. And it's that same mystery that can pull me back in when it wants to.

I don't ever miss you. I don't ever long for what was. Our story has gaps and holes in it now. Large pieces of us are gone, replaced with the men who followed you.

Do you still think of it, too?

Do you remember how it felt in the beginning? When your hands crossed mine, our bodies pressed together, my light eyes set on the darkened circuits of yours, and how we were the only two in any room?

I do.

And I remember what it was like to leave you.

The latitude of unrestraint that fleshed through my veins. The sadness that was subsided by my liberty. The freedom that rose when I was finally immune to you.

But maybe you're something dormant; passive and inert until triggered.

What triggers you, Ben?

What retrieves the feeling of my lips on yours? What restores the impression of my words lingering in the air before walking away? What inches you toward regret?

You used to be my trigger. You knew how to provoke beauty. You were skillful at pushing pain.

You're a memory that's fading. A light that's gone dim. A phantom that only comes to life when I'm sleeping.



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