Ghosts in the Machine

I’ve been thinking a lot about loss, lately.

I’ve been pondering that hollowness when someone isn’t there any more, even if they are. Or, they are not. When the “them-ness” of them has disintegrated, and the “you-ness” of you has gone with it.

There’s that empty niche that little bit of your ecosystem, that they unique among all creatures used to fill; the spot that maybe sprouted specifically for them to curl up into. (Or had they evolved just to fill you? Were you the special one?) Nature abhors a vacuum, so they say, but how does she feel about longing? Does craving give her hives? Will yearning cause disgust? How do you fill that hole, when the one you loved has gone away. If you cannot still love, or they have stilled despite your love, or they are suddenly not the one that you love…still.

I’ve gotten lost thinking about loss, lately.

I read somewhere (or maybe I dreamt it), that a plan is a memory of a future that hasn’t happened yet. But if that future doesn’t come to pass, not according to plan, can we still recollect it, or do the edges blur, and the colors run together, and your loved one fades into a ghost. If the shape of a memory changes in the remembering of it, if the machinery in our head makes one inaccurate copy after another, at what point has the plan failed? When does a mis-told memory become a lie? When does your ecosystem collapse?

And in this miscarriage of the plot, are you left without a future, or was it always just a fairy tale you whispered with the only other person who could hear it? Do you stuff your pockets full of the untold stories? Can you shoulder both the person who was and who would have been? The latter isn’t nearly so weightless as you might think. “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” is a game best played with friends, but what if you are missing your best friend?

A single butterfly flapping its wings can cause a storm millions of miles away, and a single storm can erase the memories of entire landscapes that never were.

I’ve been thinking a lot about loss, lately.