Ghost in the Machine

Dearest Rachel –

Jan can be a real hoot sometimes (and in so doing, she manages to take the most bitter edge off of everything we’ve been finding as we go through the house). Her happy dance when she finds hidden money – and there’s been a lot of it scattered throughout the place; you’ve had a little something in just about all of your purses, and we’ve already discussed the greeting cards multiple times – is hilarious to the point that I feel bad if I find anything and steal that glory from her.

On the other hand, when she encounters electronic equipment – be it computers, DVD or VHS players, software, literally any type of media or accessory – she recoils like I asked her to pick up after Chompers downloaded both meals at once on the carpet.

This is a problem for her, because as you know, we have a lot of electronic equipment. We’ve been collecting computers for the past twenty years, as my workplace would sell off its old equipment after they became obsolete (which was about after four years, but which used to be a biannual occurrence), because hey, $75 for what had been a $2,000 machine was a bargain! And the things still would play those old classic video games we collected for use on the Multi Arcade Machine Emulator, and read all the fanfiction stories we’d gathered up from various sources, so it was all good.

You also made a habit of collecting VHS tape players, because, well, we have a ridiculously large collection of VHS tapes. I confess, I don’t know which, if any, of them still work, but I’m going to have to find out at some point shortly; because before I get rid of these tapes (and I really ought to, as they take up way too much space for the amount of footage they contain. And that’s not even taking into account the fact that they’ve presumably been decaying over time, unlike digital media), I’m going to have to convert what I can to digital format, just like I plan to do with the mini-DV tapes we have from all of our vacations. Of course, these VHS tapes are even less likely to contain anything we truly want to see or keep than the mini-DVs, since we’re not on any of them, but you never know; your Dad did a fair amount of filming too, back in the day. We’ll see… and if nothing else, I’ll get a lot of practice with the Creative Cloud as I go through all this stuff.

Still, it makes me wish you were still here to see all of this.

I also find myself wishing we could share some of the things we used to do, like hanging out in the bedroom watching stuff on the bedside computer. Not always the racy anime stuff – although yes, there is that – but just some channel or another that Daniel never fancied, or found boring. Even falling asleep to a boring channel (like you would as often as not when you’d request something from Thoughty2) was a happy, comfortable thing as the companionable silence faded into light snores, and the sensation of your head against my shoulder.

I wish I could feel that terribly underrated sensation once again.

So, this morning, I woke up waaaay too early. Okay, it was only 6:30 or so. That’s nothing compared to the 5:15 or so I would set my alarm for back when I was still working, but still, for an organic rising time – especially after being up past 1:30 to ensure that Chompers was asleep – that’s still ridiculously early. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I fired up the monitor on your dresser that we used to watch (the computer is on perpetually, partially as it does some P2P sharing, and partially because when we bought it when TigerDirect was closing its brick-and-mortar store, they had used this machine in their office, and it was set to switch on at 7am regardless, and I don’t know how to turn it off) for I think the first time since the accident. As I’m looking through the directories of the hard drives attached to it, I see a text file marked “Don’t Forget.” Now, I’m not expecting some kind of posthumous message from you to me to not forget you, and that you loved me (although that would have been nice, in a terribly sad, forlorn balloon kind of way), but I was mildly surprised to find… all of your passwords to everything you ever used online.

And you know, I really appreciate this, honey. I mean, I have been trying to track down some of your contacts, and this is probably one of the final keys to doing so. I also should probably do something like this myself, should something happen to me, and Daniel needs to get hold of certain information, like paying bills and what have you.

For now, I’m considering what to do with this information. In particular, I should probably let your Facebook friends know you’re gone – although most of them are people we know in real life, anyway, so they already know. Maybe I can use your account to link to this blog, so your friends can keep up with my end of the story, and maybe add stories of their own. Certainly, there are things people know about you that I had no part of, because I wasn’t there, or don’t recall, or didn’t consider significant. There’s so much to tell about you, after all, and my perspective isn’t the only one.

And since I have no presence out there, perhaps I will “haunt” Facebook in your name, following the things and people you used to, just to let them know you’re still there in spirit, even if it’s just through me.

What do you think, honey? Would you mind?

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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