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Some places are haunted. I don’t mean by ghosts or spirits; that debate is not on the table here. Some places are haunted by the memories of what was but is no more. And in some of those places we erect metal and stone and wood ghosts to draw out those memories and make sure that the now is infected by the remembrance of the not.

It’s been ten years since I walked on the dusty deathbed of a dozen memories. I have never forgiven myself for that year or that night, but I have learned to carry the burden as though it were one of the million logs that weighed on my back before it. I recently walked to that site that knew well my boots and my blood, my sweat and my tears. And as all good journeys should begin, it started with a step.

But it’s a step I had not taken for so long, I think I forgot how. I had not even looked in that direction for so long, how could I walk it? I could not go with someone who had known the twelve, how could I look them in the eye. I could not go with someone who knew what I had lost, I could not stand on that ground with someone who pitied me. I could not go with someone who thought it was unimportant, I could not honor the past with someone who didn’t respect it. And I could not go alone, never alone, not alone… I would never leave.

By some miraculous twist I have been given a true friend. I have had many friends who have loved me very much. Many people who have respected me, who have learned from me, who have taught me. I have had many people who would lose with me and gain with me. But never before have I had a friend with whom all of that was secondary to the point of meaninglessness. I have never had a friend whose joy is to give me a safe place, who selflessly gives and finds it unthinkably selfish to take. And this friend took the first step.

It was a long walk, a very very long walk, full of history and trivia and stories and memories and traditions and novelty. It was a good walk. I was sore and tired and sweaty, but I was smiling and laughing right up until crossing the last street from the marble scab over my deepest wounds.

It is hard to explain what goes through your mind when you see the ashes of your world paved over with pretty stones and rocks and manicured grass. When your eyes are filled with tears and shame at the sight of your brothers and sisters frozen in carbonite and thrown up on display in a near mockery of the comraderie shared before the fall. It’s hard to explain why 10 year old grief still sits so near the surface and comes out in anger and indignation and disgust. It’s hard to explain why I walked around perimeter the wrong way, why I never stopped to read the inscriptions, why I looked at the rocks at my feet more than anything else.

But it’s easy to explain why I held on to my friend for dear life. Because my friend is dear. My friend is alive. That field is dead. Those stonehenge monuments don’t tell the time today, but of a decade past. My friend walked a very very long way with me. My friend walked a very long way back. I did not go alone, and everything I came with, I left with. It was a hard walk, a very painful walk. But I walked it, we walked it, and that walk is done.

To all of my friends, thank you for the walks we’ve shared. I have enjoyed them all and long to walk with each of you again. To my friends with whom I will not walk again, those journeys were not in vain for either of us, you will always be remembered. To my friend, for whom this very special walk was a sacrifice and a blessing, you have been my great gift, thank you.

Jason said on 2009-05-09

thank you for posting this. Sometimes we forget to remember.

Posted with : Sanguine Maroon