Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Chasing Ghosts Backward In Time

In the last few weeks, it seems, I have been chasing a ghost backwards in time.

In Melbourne, nine years ago we were close. "Intense" was her word for that state.

Three years ago, before and after, we were planets apart in every sense. "Alienated" is my word for that state.

Two weeks ago I found myself unexpectedly in London - so close, I presume, yet so far.

It is with a certain symmetry that I now find myself in Melbourne again working for the same customer I was nine years ago when we first met - so far, yet so far.

It is strange to be in this city again.

It seems my intangible memories have stubbornly outlived many of the tangibles.

The phone booth on Grattan - gone. Only a concrete slab remains. The Thai restaurant, the milk bars and mini-golf on Swanston - gone. Ruby Red's in Drewery Lane - gone. Barfly's on Bourke - gone. Caterina's on Queen - not gone exactly, but shut.

The intimacy we once shared faded long ago. Now the spaces and places we shared are fading too: renovated, removed, replaced.

However, the delightful Cafe Italia is still there. As I dined there the other evening, I looked across at the table we sat one Saturday so long ago. How strangely appropriate that a reminder of that melancholy evening should remain so visibly etched in the present.

The ghost has moved on and the city, sensibly, moves on too - in its own way, it forgets.

Yet, I remember.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Avatar said...

If the ghost has moved on and the city too has moved on why do you too not move on?

Perhaps I am mistaken but it sounds as though something "intense" 9 years ago is affecting your present, I am curious why that is? Yes we are a collection of memories, our unique experiences of events make us who we are but surely these memories must fade into the background sooner or later to allow us to move on? If the rest of life has moved on and the universe is giving you signs to move on, why do you cling to this ghost?

Then again, perhaps I am mistaken and it is merely momentary melancholy which has driven this entry?

Yet, I remain curious.

10 October 2005 at 20:44  
Blogger Jon Seymour said...

Why don't I move on?

The answer is both simple to explain and hard to understand.

I haven't moved on because in those 9 years I haven't found an experience that has matched the experience I shared with her.

Cause or effect?

Hard to say, though several years ago I did meet someone who made me realise that I could be happy with someone else. Had that worked, I think I would have been very happy. But it didn't work so eventually my thoughts returned to the ghost.

But you are right, this outburst is essentially a momentary melancholy brought on in part by trips to London and to Melbourne.

Perhaps the giant piece of elastic that took me from Melbourne to London and back to Melbourne has returned me to a point from which I can take a happier and more fulfiling path. Time will tell, I guess.

Anyway, thank you for your curiousity and for your probing questions.

11 October 2005 at 00:31  
Anonymous Avatar said...

Perhaps I am somewhat naive but if you are looking for an experience to match something which happened 9 years ago you will never find it.

Surely you are not the same person you were 9 years ago?

I hope you do find the happier path and share it with the rest of us, or at the very least continue to share your journey.

My curiosity to continues.

11 October 2005 at 13:40  
Blogger Jon Seymour said...

Perhaps poorly phrased...I don't expect to find an identical experience, for that is surely impossible.

It would be nice to experience desire and intimacy with something like the intensity I felt it with her.

In the absence of a current distraction of that kind, it is easy to think about the last one.

My own view is that the human mind has a deep need to have another to think about. Usually that other is one's life partner or one's children.

I admit it is odd, but there is some sense it which it is true that the ghost fills that role in my life. It seems odd because I don't get much out of it, but there you go.

11 October 2005 at 19:27  

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