Sometimes I miss the people who are no longer here.
Some of them are dead. Some of them (most of them) I didn’t know all that well. I miss the ones who died young in a special way, because I’ll never find out who they might have been. I had a high school classmate who died within a year or two of graduation. Ironically, I think about him more than I would have if he were still here. Him being missing leaves questions that I know can never be answered.
Most of them, though, aren’t dead. They’re just gone. They’re out there somewhere (as far as I know) doing a lot of the same things I do: eating, sleeping, working, playing, talking, making new things. Occasionally I might spot their phantom electronic footprints. But our circles never intersect. We are the parallel rays in a geometry problem, branching off into our own separate infinities.
Except when I think of them.
The people who are no longer here have left their shadows behind, encased in my neurons. They do not know what I think, what I feel, the personal story of my existence, but they remain a part of me. Most of them touched the events of my life, but the most enduring of them changed who I am. I still hear their voices echoing forward from the past.
I feel their absence.
The ones I miss the most are the ones I love the most. Love/loved, it all blurs together, but in my memory it remains present tense. I wonder why we’ve formed our own worlds (no fault, though, because fault is for frightened people). I wonder if we think the missing is better than the reality. I wonder if it’s true that time is malleable so I can bend it backwards through these small gaps and spend another moment in their company.
Most of them will never read these words. A few will, but I might never know.
I miss you. The ghost isn’t the same as the original.