The title captures how I feel at present. It is unnerving. It is as if I have been condemned to wander the village, unseen and unable to join in, until I have expiated some sin I did not even have the pleasure of committing!
I cannot pack because no definite Completion Day has yet been arranged. I cannot pursue my normal autumnal activities because of the nerve-wracking uncertainty of it all. You see, since 2001, I have been a member of the village Drama Club – and have appeared in many of the productions. Usually, by October, I am into the swing of rehearsals for the Post Christmas Show – but this year, knowing I would be moving, and not wanting to mess people around, I did not even audition. So now I am in the horrible situation of knowing that the cast (which includes one or two close friends) is meeting twice-weekly to rehearse – and I cannot join in.
Delay after delay rears its ugly head, and today I am feeling particularly vulnerable, and tearful, about the whole enterprise: It feels as if I am never going to move; as if I am going to be stuck in Limbo, as a spectre haunting the disparate caves of my life, for ever.
Life in the village carries on without me. Of course it does, and so it should. But I haven’t even gone yet; this is the invidious side of it. It is as if I have disappeared without trace, and been forgotten by most, whilst still living and breathing and, occasionally, walking the familiar streets of the place I’ve lived in for so long.
I wonder if this is how ghosts feel? As they try and manifest so that they can make contact; as they work desperately on their spectral muscles in order that those they have semi left behind are able to see them, even if only briefly and hazily. I wonder if the spirits of the insecure are particularly likely to become haunted and haunters – not out of malice necessarily; simply because they find it so hard to let go and move on.
I cannot start my new life. I cannot truly take part in the old one either. Such a disturbing sensation.
There has been talk of my organising some kind of farewell do – but I am very ambivalent about this at the moment. I want to be gone. I want the process to gather pace. I want to get on with it now. But there are three or four people in the village who are dear to my heart, who are keepers – and the thought of saying goodbye to them (even if it is more of a ‘see you soon’ kind of farewell) makes me cry.
I am ready to leave. But the system, it would appear, is not yet prepared to let me go either easily or speedily.
I am like a child, who, for whatever reason, no longer attends the local school – but drifts past it longingly every day, and peeps in through the railings, and sees all the other children laughing and playing and having fun; said child has been told – and, actually, knows at some level – that the new place, the new school, will be a positive move, that there will be new friends (and room always for the beloved old ones), and that the levels of nostalgia exhibited should be offset, in a more honest moment, by the memory of many years of loneliness and sadness too, and by a weepy sense of not fitting in.
I will, of course, take myself (flaws and all) with me, and am under no illusions that moving will solve every problem in my life: It won’t. But I am also clear that being wild and unconventional and more tomboyish than girly and passionate and not always very tactful do not constitute crimes worthy of expulsion from the metaphorical playground; that there is nothing wrong with being different – and that trying to fit in with those who wish only to be surrounded by clones of themselves is never going to be a recipe for happiness.
Fear of Loss is being triggered, inevitably – but at least, these days, I can step back and look objectively at the nature of that which I fear to lose, and that objectivity starts with the basic question, ‘What, if anything, am I actually losing in this situation?’
The Ghost/Limbo feeling will pass. Soon, I hope. Traditionally, ghosts only haunt places and people that have deep emotional resonance for them – and the people who fall into that category will remain in my life anyway. Love of landscape so permeates my spirit and imagination that no place truly important to me will ever disappear.