I am a revenant. I refused to stay buried. They should have driven the stake in when they had the chance. I’d been given up for dead, cast out of the ‘community’ only to find myself surrounded by another community, one united by addiction, by loss, and expulsion. Yet it was here on the Island of Lost Souls, that I would find raw pain and sorrow, brutal honesty, friendship, and in the end, myself.
I’d been buried in the backwater of my youth, hundreds of kilometres from my boys. This was London¹, 2014. In another time and place, particularly The Balkans, the homeland of Kraljevo Girl , I would have been staked, scythed, had rocks placed in my mouth all to prevent me from coming back. But they got sloppy. They had dismissed the elders who tried to tell them of the old ways of making a corpse stay a corpse. So now, like the revenant of European folklore, I have risen from the dead and am back to haunt those that banished me.
It should have been enough to cast me out. That act of purification and expulsion is, however, predicated on the ‘castee’ wanting to be part of the community he’d been cast out of. That doesn’t work with adoptees. We’ve already been through it, even before we knew we’d committed a sin against ‘normal’ society. In my case, I found myself permanently in the role of the social outcast.
Reading Lolita in Recovery enabled me to come face-to-face with the ugliness of what was going on inside me. I soaked up this knowledge, and slowly began to understand that the only way I was going to heal myself was to feed my brain, to challenge it as I had in university.
In doing so, I recaptured the essence of me, the thing that made me feel special, proud of myself.
I had been ridiculed for years, made to feel inadequate by Kraljevo Girl, and during the last darkest of times, had to endure those same lashings in front of my boys.
Soon after finding myself cast out, I found myself planted in a chair at a Starbucks. I know I was there, but my mind was hundreds of miles away. They say it takes one to know one. That could explain why I could see a legion of similarly discarded middle-aged men planted at tables just staring into the abyss — fixed at some point in the distance, or into the dark, oily depths inside the coffee cup. Like me, their coffee sat in front of them, untouched; their coffee getting cold as the ghosts of their pasts floated by their mind’s eyes. I too was haunted by the ghostly apparitions that were my sons. They were everywhere, in every teenage boys face, in every dream cum nightmare. I had one strange vision either during my sleep or during my waking slumber – I found myself staring at a photo of my oldest when he was about 16. As I stared, I could see his face shifting backward in time. From the pimply faced teen through the years right to his very first breath. In exile, separation is the greatest torture. the ghostly shadows that linger everywhere, the pain when recalling the intimacy we had shared, they were there, beside me, at any moment I could place my hands on them, playfully tossle their hair, share little jokes, advice, observations that would become a piece of the puzzle of life they were putting together. Now. Gone. Only shadowy memories.
Still, it was these shadows that I clung to, in order to propel me forward toward my escape from the Island of Lost Souls.
¹ No, not that London. London, ON