“Does it feel like you’ve lived a long time?”
I ask my mother the question walking home late at night, down a struggling street, avoiding the eyes of passerby’s. Shrugging down into my coat, shrinking myself into the corners of my mind.
“Why do you ask?”
“I was just wondering, if when I’m older, I will feel like I’ve lived a long time or if it will feel like the time flew by.”
She considers for a moment and I let my eyes wander, the bridge green and red glowing against the night sky. The woman who cuts across the middle of the street, her skin hanging on her bones like wet sheets, her shoulder blades cutting the space around her, letting the bad in.
“There are moments which seem to last forever, sometimes. But, for the most part, I feel like it went by pretty fast. Though, I’m sure there are other people who feel the opposite, people for whom life drags.”
It’s not the answer I’m looking for but, then, I haven’t asked the questions that are really burning through my brain. Will there be enough time? Will I live all the cracks and crevices that I need to? Will I look in the mirror someday and recognize these eyes? Will I ever stop running? Mortality clings to all the words I don’t say, all the things I don’t do, the places I don’t go. I try to shake it off but it’s smeared into all these everyday moments that make up a life. Were you ever as lost as I am? Did you find what you were looking for?
When I get home I consider staying in, but I don’t. I check my computer for a message from him, M.I.A for days. Nothing. I let my mind race wildly with a million scenarios. Let them burst from me in painful births. After a few minutes I rein myself back in, crush all these worries into a ball, place them on the ground, take a step back.
I want to say there is not enough time, not enough time to be patient, not enough time to wait. I want to be able to get up, walk away without a word, disappear like he can. But, there’s not enough time for that.
Not enough time to pretend that all these steps that take me looping around the city aren’t just heavy footfalls waiting to be guided back to him, again.
That my whole body misses his.
That of all the hearts of all the women in this town, he had to walk into mine.
Not enough time. No, no time at all.
Sarah Jaffe – Clementine