I saw a ghost yesterday.
I saw her in a restaurant eating a sundae with her friends. I followed her to her normal haunts, I watched her laugh as she walked across the street. I listened to her weep over silly crushes and I saw her sitting on a window ledge, her feet dangling over the edge, reading a book. I wanted to scold her as she made rash decisions and carelessly disregard sunscreen. I followed her as she cut class and went to the beach and I watched her wait tables. I listened to her arrogance and naivety and spied on her as she snuck into Disney hotels to swim in their pools.
Yesterday, I met a girlfriend of mine at Celebration (weird Disney-owned town that's a wee bit like the Truman Show) so that the kids could play in the public sprinkler system they have. I did this in March when I was here, but took the toll road. This time I took the main highway that runs through St. Cloud and Kissimmee and was catapulted back 14 years. After I graduated from high school, I attended a small, Christian College that used to be located in Kissimmee. As I was pulled into my memories, I turned on Over the Rhine's "Eve" and just dove in. I had not traveled on that road for at least 10 years and it was surreal. I passed the old restaurant I used to wait tables at (now a Chinese restaurant) and the Friendly's (now with broken windows and weedy sidewalks) I used to go to to get sundaes with masses of friends. I passed Old Towne where groups of us used to go and walk around. I kept seeing my face and remembered thinking the thoughts of yore. I passed the Perkins I used to get coffee at and where I was (unsuccessfully) taught how to play chess. I remembered rebellious thoughts and Dottie Datsun and going to the beach. I remembered struggling over my waking adulthood and having a bank account closed by the bank because of ill use. I remembered slurpies and sunburns and road trips. I remembered meeting Missy and I frantically tried to call her to have her join me in my nostalgia. It almost felt like an out-of-body experience. I didn't really wake up until I pulled into Chik Fil-A to get lunch.
It's interesting thinking about the metamorphosis we go through as we age. I want to laugh at myself back then, drama queen that I was (yeah, yeah I know I'm still a drama queen). How many girls will I be before I die?