Riding Metro North. Giving Up the Ghost.


Hump Day. Hump it was.

It’s the 9:06 pm train from Grand Central. A 15-hour day and it wasn’t over.

I sit with other weary commuters heading home. The train is silent.

I can’t get comfortable. I shift left, and then right and then lean against the window. I give up. I need to be horizontal, in my bed.

It’s Haunting. A Ghost. It’s Hilary Mantel’s Giving Up the Ghost:

The faintest movement, a ripple, a disturbance of the air. I can sense a spiral, a lazy buzzing swirl, like flies; but it is not flies. There is nothing to see. There is nothing to smell. There is nothing to hear. But it is motion, its insolent shift, makes my stomach heave. I can sense— at the periphery, the limit of all my senses— the dimensions of the creature. It is as high as a child of two. Its depth is a foot, fifteen inches. The air stirs around it, invisibly. I am cold, and rinsed by nausea. I cannot move. I am shaking. . . . This is the beginning of shame.

You are tired. You know that’s it.  Let it go Man.

I twist the ear buds deeper. I spasmodically click through my playlist.  I turn the volume up on my music player, trying to drive it out.

It was four months ago, but nothing will block the replay. It’s on a loop. I close my eyes, a wet dog shaking and shaking his head – still soaked, won’t dry. A Doom Loop.

Mary Karr suggests that you should publish the story: “it frees us from our old shame somehow.”  

It’s that simple. Hit Publish and it burns it off like sun on the morning mist.

But, it’s not lifting.  It’s hardening, becoming sclerotic, and latched onto the bones with an iron fist.

I should have been better prepared.



  1. This hurts…whatever is solidifying in your veins…I hope you can flush it out somehow.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The guy who is usually very cogent is a bit vague this morning. I hope whatever it is works itself out. Up the coast hugs to you, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmmm……

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You don’t necessarily need to publish it….but write it down. Journal it. Once you feel better you can burn it. Worked for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’re not done with this. Something not ringing true in the retelling? A place where you skipped a stone across the water instead of diving deep?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Letting it out, letting go and finding peace ~ we are hereto embrace you. ♥

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I agree with writing it out. So therapeutic. No need to share it here, just do it for yourself, DK.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Winced as I read this, pal. As others have so wisely counseled, write it down. Never have to share it with anyone (in fact, I’ve written things down and then ceremonially burned them–something very freeing about watching those slivers of ash carried away on the breeze). Need to find some way to lance the boil….

    Liked by 2 people

  9. (((hugs))))

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Letting go can be extremely difficult. Often we hold onto to the belief we need to punish ourselves or believe it is a way to control our situation. On both counts, our minds stay trapped and busy. Write it down, scream it out. Forgive. You will feel lighter when you do, and create more space to receive what you need. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Accept what was. Forgive yourself. When you do the ghost loses its grip. It has worked for me. Many times.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Verbalizing and sharing shame allows it to lose its power and hold. It is the hardest thing to do – to look at an aspect of our selves that we don’t want to face. Yet we all have made mistakes, caused hurt, done the wrong thing and screwed things up royally.
    I know I have done several times in my life. The worst took me years to forgive myself for. I couldn’t admit it to myself, let alone others. It became something to hide and then pretend didn’t really happen…. it caused distress and inner struggle whenever I went anywhere near it in my thinking. My inner boogeyman of failure, letting others down and causing pain.
    Open your heart to your imperfect self. In time you will forgive and then let it go.
    We all make mistakes and when we see them for what they are, they set us free to be fully human and loving of all aspects of ourselves and others.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m sorry, David…and whatever it is, time as usual is the great healer. Acceptance too…that none of us are perfect. And it seems that these moments of deep reflection and feeling only make us better in the end. Be easy on yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. can you let it drip out slowly?

    Liked by 1 person

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