Woozle/Jenny/Dear Ghost-Jenny/2018/02/01

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February 1, 2018

Dear Ghost-Jenny,

I had a most unusual dream about you last night.

As I've probably written in the ongoing undeliverable letter to you (the one I started at the end of 1981, which I assume you haven't seen[1]), my Jenny-dreams usually consist of you showing up briefly and then disappearing again, though I haven't had one of those in quite awhile.

In this one, though, reality had shifted slightly and you had survived the suicide attempt but apparently with some cognitive impairment – according to other people, anyway; I hadn't seen you since then. It was like they'd just remembered that you were still alive, or discovered you in a nursing home somewhere.

So someone (your mom?) had wheeled you out for me to say hi to, and just on the basis of that brief interaction you actually seemed completely you – not impaired at all – though it was hard to tell with the other people around and there wasn't an opportunity to have the conversation we needed to have. (Thinking about it, I can kind of imagine you deciding to put on a facade of impairment for them, because it was just less tortuous than trying to be yourself[2].)

...well, actually, we needed to have a lot of conversations, or at least I would want to, though I guess we'd need to have that one conversation first to see if the rest of them could happen. In a way, this fits the pattern in the other dreams: there's always so unbearably much I want to say to you and ask you.

You looked different, but not necessarily older. I guess that was just my brain trying to extrapolate "older Jenny" and coming up with "different Jenny" instead, because dream-brain is not very rigorous.

It makes me sad now that I'll never know what you would have looked like at age 52. You growing older would have made me sad too, but in a smaller way... and we could have done it together, and that would have been okay.

I think in my mind the "survival with cognitive impairment" was kind of a metaphor for how they saw you, their best vision for your future. You couldn't be exactly what they thought you had to be, therefore you were defective and needed to be institutionalized.

This is increasingly the world we live in now, though, isn't it. People can't keep up, fall just the tiniest bit behind, and suddenly income goes away, evictions happen. You can only escape through privilege; otherwise there's "zero tolerance" for visible deviation.

Are you trying to tell me something?

I miss you.

My love always,

W.

P.S. 15 days until Tigger's 50th birthday

Footnote

  1. If you have seen it, could you tell me where you last saw it? It's currently missing, and I am starting to panic a little.
  2. From the back of your big brown eyes
    I knew you'd be gone as soon as you could
    And i hoped you would
    We could see that you weren't yourself
    And the lines on your face did tell
    It's just as well
    You'd never be yourself again

    BF5