Cashing in my mental phantom load

by Charlotte E. Wilde

I’ve been thinking about the phantom load of a memory, the lagging feeling of a thought you can’t shake. I get snagged on these mental preoccupations that exist like a song I can’t get out of my head. And I can’t help but wonder : where does this wasted energy go?

At night it’s phantom loads that keep me up. That sound I hear– feet trudging through snow, blood pounding in my temples, or electricity pulsing through my mind from connections I forgot to un-plug?

Today I’m thinking about human connection. And sometimes I get sea-sick when I swim in the immensity of the thought of the quantity of people with whom we could have fallen in love, with whom we still might.

Love is like a job, perhaps.  We’re all just biding our time until something better falls into our lap. As we get older, we’re perhaps less willing to take the risk of dropping what we’ve got for an unknown, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t jump at the chance if the right opportunity came along, the right benefits. Does this mean we should always hedge our heart’s bets? Keep our options open? What is “love” in any form but mere convenience? Don’t give up the ship, but how can a realization like this coexist with the romantic ideal we’ve held for so long?

Have you considered that the cultural used-car salesman who sold us this idea of love was actually just trying to make a quick buck?

I wonder about phantom loads, I wonder if I’ll get the bill soon for the things I’ve been thinking about in the night. I wonder if you have them too, and if you’ve been keeping back burners on just in case this pot is slow boil.