The Ghost Returns

A sharp intake of breath as it comes – the moment to which you practiced a myriad responses a hundred times in your head but was always unable to commit to – rears it’s beautiful head.

The message flashes, “I miss you.”

And so that chilled vice takes hold in your chest, squeezing out the milky, leftover feelings leaking from your still-thawing heart. It’s unrecognizable, but you know it for what it is – those once gushing torrents of adoration and appreciation that you thrives upon, now reduced to such anemic trickles that it only serves to illuminate the emptiness it’s vastness once filled.

Then comes the sense of weeping from some past version of yourself echoing from somewhere just behind your head. But there’s determination there, just between those raw, sobbing moans – a moment of lucidity that tells you that you shouldn’t needn’t mustn’t reply. A desperate effort to cling to some ghostly strand of self-respect and ignore the siren call.

But we fall back, sliding into the murky depths of easy habits, and your heart sinks as arrogant hope pulls you down down down.

How easily it comes to you, to play the part of the faithful lapdog, the purring kitten, the gaping fish starved for attention. I reflect, again, alone, again, used up and drained of all reason. Self-assurance so quickly sours to self-doubt, blending into the fathomless salt sea of self-loathing.

Ah, it’s not that I still love you.

I simply seem unable to love myself.

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