So last night when I got sucked into an “Alex” hole and was picking my way through his discography, his voice blew out my speakers. That’s never happened before, and was fixed by a restart. However, in the interim, his voice became distorted and- let’s just say it- downright demonic.

I get a lot of displeased faces that invisibly surround me when I decide I’m going to listen to his music, and that sucks because I still really deeply love his music and wish it wasn’t like playing a pungi in front of a cobra. But I know it’s not wise, and that just makes me more indignant.

I can do whatever I want. Don’t try to warn me. Don’t try to be the boss of me.

I can’t really describe what it’s like when the veil between worlds gets sketchy, but I suddenly realized I’d done a foolish thing by listening to his music after midnight, in the dark, in my bed, slightly intoxicated (IMAGINE THAT, says absolutely no one). It’s almost like the sides of my vision rupture slightly, and shadows and tiny flashes of light like sequins on a dress burst all around me. I start hearing things that aren’t real. I start to feel a bit like plastic wrap has been draped over my mouth.

When I was brushing my teeth, rushing myself to bed, an oily little voice appeared in the back of my mind. That voice only has one source, the shadowy little confidence man that may or may not have greasily convinced people to cause trouble since literally the beginning of time. I haven’t heard that voice in at least seven years and immediately had a visceral response. But as always, after a moment or two, I started to get lulled into a kind of sedated confusion, and suddenly, my triumvirate protection system appeared.

Before I could say anything, they each sat on an edge of my mattress and said, “Just go to sleep. Go to sleep. Now. Go to sleep.”

This morning, I decided I should listen to him some more, because this is what I do, and also watched an interview with him I’d never seen before. Every time he looked into the camera I felt like I’d been pierced with a knife, but I think his eyes do that to everyone. His speaking voice also has the strangest effect on me. It’s not the same as the oily voice I heard last night, but it still brings out such interesting reactions from deep in my rib cage. Certain inflections and phrases, ways he flips his hands or twists his mouth…

I think I want to believe that there is a separation somewhere, that the man I loved and the one that tried to kill me are not the same. Is that Stockholm Syndrome? I don’t know. Is that the part of me that still loves him and is still actively trying to rehabilitate him? I guess we’ll find out.

Oh, I know it doesn’t matter, and maybe it’s not even real, but I forget sometimes how close I am to trouble, and no matter what anyone else believes, I have to protect myself at all times.

It’s never over.

Yesterday, I read my journals from 2010-2012 for somewhere in the neighborhood of thirteen hours.  I couldn’t stop, devouring page after page after page like it was something I’d never seen before.

I never talk about what my life was like in 2012.  I’ve never written about it, nor was my ex-husband involved in any part of it.   (Related/unrelated: I left my husband in 2013.)

There’s another entire person I was very involved with during this time that I never talk about. He makes no appearance in anything I’ve ever written, but he consumed almost two years of my life.

Ha.  He has consumed a great deal more than that.

I read about things yesterday that made me actually gasp out loud, hold my hand over my heart, slap the pages with disgust.  Some of it is a little choppy because I talk in code that I only sometimes understand now, and because I was beginning to realize my ex was reading my journal behind my back so I stopped being as open as I had been.  It’s incredible what you can forget when your life has been so tumultuous.

I learned the following interesting things.

First of all, I was still going to see “Alex” up until the end of 2012.  I mean, it was really infrequent, maybe once a year, once every six months, but.  I’m surprised that I had forgotten this development.  He has never stopped trying to pull me into seeing him.

2/21/12: Today, Max and I danced to Jason Mraz and he said, “Raise your hand if you like Jason Mraz.”  So we both raised our hands.  Then he said, “Raise your hand if you like [Alex].”  We raised our hands again, and he said, “But I can’t want to be like [Alex] because he’s bad, right?”

The unliving companion I have now was given a lot of grief for being involved with me.  For two or three years, our relationship was tumultuous… to be totally honest, he was almost never around. I spent much of that time mourning yet another new and unexplained absence by him.  I see now that the only way my marriage was ever going to end was to be completely abandoned by the dead.  I had to face the real world, and realize how much potential I had within myself.

There seems to be a certain hierarchy or status attached to living a lot of lifetimes, or achieving a great deal while living them.  I don’t necessarily mean fame, but rather how much you evolve.  This disappearing friend of mine has been around a long time but actively chooses not to live many lifetimes (because he doesn’t like to suffer).

Allegedly, people were telling him that there was really no way once I get back over there that my entire self will want to be around him.  In one entry he says, “I mean someone who’s like a Level 25 doesn’t want to be around a Level 3.” It’s why he continued to leave- at times, to try to “become better,” getting very serious about changing and evolving, and because he was being shamed out of seeing me.

It was partially how deeply I suffered in his absence that convinced him he was wrong.  Considering the fact that he alone kept me alive through the nightmare of last summer, I’m glad he didn’t give up on himself.  I’m glad we stopped listening to everyone else.

Who I used to be, and what she was/is doing while I sleep is still a mystery to this day.  I never felt rested, even though I slept almost constantly from 2011-2013.  My entire self was also extraordinarily fractured during this time, operating with two entirely separate agendas.  I am both fascinated and horrified to read about a time where I easily talk about who I once was as if she is not who I currently am.  And in many ways, she isn’t, I suppose.

It seems that we all probably live two lives- this waking one, and the complex, confusing puzzle world of the unconscious mind.  Where everything seems like a mystery until you learn the answer and realize you’ve known it all along.

Once, while going through a deep period of depression and suicidal dreams, one of my friends said to me, “Trust me, you do not want to be here.  I would be surprised if you didn’t come back here and immediately request a bounceback.  You’re walking into a mess.  You were set up in such a nasty and destructive way, and you’re going to have to face a ton of criticism when you return.”

I was constantly under investigation or being watched or lectured or judged or chastised for years at a time.  I didn’t remember how long I struggled with my sexuality, how sick I really was, how many times I relapsed.  I didn’t remember how hard people had worked to make me better.  I didn’t remember how involved I’d gotten with the person I don’t speak of here.  His name feels like it weighs a hundred thousand pounds.  I can’t recall the last time I said it out loud.

And I miss my old beach house.  I made several attempts to reclaim it, to have Alex moved elsewhere so I could return to it, but it’s been ruined.  Every single time I write about it in my private journals, I cannot stop marveling over how real and how beautiful and how powerful this place is in my mind.  Every time I would go there, I’d walk in a shuffling, wide-eyed wonder from room to room, running my hands over counters and peering into the enormous fish tank with delight and awe.

I feel very different lately.  This may be my new place to sort it all out, because I can’t stop thinking that I probably need to.  Quickly.

I feel a little guilty acting as if I’m alone when it is incredibly apparent that I am not.

Ever since things happened with… “Alex,” (and oh boy is censoring the name for the sake of safety most unpleasant to me) I have had this friendship with someone else, as those of you who read the entire story (“Begin at the Beginning”) may recall.  He disappeared shortly before I got divorced, and then romantically reappeared once I moved out on my own again in 2013.  Even then, he took a patient backseat to the love I shared with someone else for three entire years.

Last summer, the only reason I survived the constant nightmare of my life was because of his presence.  Every time I started to re-re-re-recalculate my bills or plan for my own ending, he’d whisper, Everything is going to be okay.  I promise.  I promise.  Please trust me.

And he was correct.

Lately, we have been much more involved than we were before- talking all the time, smiling at each other (I often wonder what someone might think if they catch me peeking off to my right with a sly grin), and being intensely intimate.

In 2010, I remember telling my (now ex)husband that I no longer wanted to have physical contact with anyone, because I had mastered the ability to have orgasms without ever being touched.  There’s an energy in sexuality that is apparently capable of being harnessed, and I somehow found a way to lasso it for my own ends.

Because of what I had to go through with Alex, I needed someone to cure me of my physical revulsion to sexuality.  I was lucky enough to be in a transformative relationship for several years after the end of my marriage that healed so much of what was broken inside of me.

Now I have the best of both worlds, and it’s so good that I’d be embarrassed to describe it to you.

I live entirely alone, with no real life friends (aside from a thriving internet family), but I’m also deep, deep in the depths of the most profound and clandestine relationship I’ve ever had.  Maybe what I thrive on is having something no one else can see.

I love a whisper, an illusion, a premonition, a gift.

My boyfriend is a long-dead ghost.

Don’t tell anyone.

Q: “You have someone (probably more than one, really) who watches over you, who is your guardian. I encourage you to find that person. To learn to meditate and embrace the protection you’ve been given. That’s your person. ” So how do you go about finding your person (or people)?