i've been recently flooded by the spectre of my past. a cousin i haven't seen in over 30 years has sent me a two-cd collection of photographs of my mother's side of the family from 1874 to the present. a roommate of 20 years ago has corresponded via myspace, + a girlfriend from high school, 36 years ago, now a grandmother, has reached me through facebook +, just today, offered to put me in touch with yet another old friend from highschool days. another friend of 15 years ago recently phoned me to get permission to refer to me + certain aspects of my personal history in the introduction to his dissertation.
is this my life flashing before my eyes?
why does revisiting my past, through the eyes of other friends, both lure + repulse? perhaps because it calls up people who may contest my embroidered versions of my past? perhaps because a resumption of contact after decades serves to remind me how old i've become? perhaps because their existence presents me with a different version of who i might have become, had circumstances been different than they were?
having lost three years ago my (then) furthest back friend, whom i'd known since 9th grade, to aids, the "return" of these "new" old friends is more welcome than dreadful, but my feelings are mixed.
they are ghosts of my past requesting permission to cross the threshold to my present life.
i don't know how to explain myself to them ... not to people who once knew me so well. do they know i'm gay? (perhaps the ex-girlfriend did before i did, having written in my senior yearbook, something to the effect that she hoped i would find the right woman someday "if" there is a right woman.) do they know i no longer believe in a god? can they begin to comprehend the path i have taken since they last knew me?
or can i begin to comprehend the paths they have taken since i last knew them?