It took me ages to read this one but I finally got through it. I'm giving it 4 stars but it fell just a little bit short of that mark for me. NevertheIt took me ages to read this one but I finally got through it. I'm giving it 4 stars but it fell just a little bit short of that mark for me. Nevertheless, parts of it were so well written that I could not have given it any less.
I don’t miss him anymore. Most of the time, anyway. I want to. I wish I could but unfortunately, it’s true: time does heal. It will do so whether you like it or not, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. If you’re not careful, time will take away everything that ever hurt you, everything you have ever lost, and replace it with knowledge. Time is a machine: it will convert your pain into experience. Raw data will be compiled, will be translated into a more comprehensible language. The individual events of your life will be transmuted into another substance called memory and in the mechanism something will be lost and you will never be able to reverse it, you will never again have the original moment back in its uncategorized, preprocessed state. It will force you to move on and you will not have a choice in the matter.
There are so few moments when the opportunity presents itself to really make a choice. So often, it's just the story line of the world propelling me forward, but there are these key nodes, branches in the timeline, when I exercise some free will, and they always seem to turn out this way, always seem to end up with me hurting someone I love, someone I should be protecting.
Life is, to some extent, an extended dialogue with your future self about how exactly you are going to let yourself down over the coming years.
My mother finishes her kneeling, and places her incense into a large ceramic urn filled with the accumulated ashes of a thousand, a million, a hundred million earlier sandalwood incense sticks, the dust of past events collected there and made tangible. She pierces the ash pile, fine, talcum-like, soft gray powder, slides her own incense stick down into it, in a perfect vertical, and appears to consider it for an instant, a thin marker, flimsy and direct, an axis, a conduit for prayer, an object and a process that will turn itself from a material thing into the dust around it, transform into visible and invisible substances, will convert itself into heat and smoke to fill the room. The present incense will become the very stuff that props itself up, and allows other, future incense to stand vertically, for a time, each current incense unable to stand alone, only able to perform its function with the help of all other past incense, like time itself, supporting the present moment, as it itself turns into past, each burning stick transmitting the prayers contained within it, nothing but a transitory vehicle for its contents, and then releasing itself into the air, leaving behind only the burnt odor, the haze and residue of uncollectible memory, and at the same time becoming part of the air itself, the very air that allows the present to burn, to combust, to slowly work itself down into nothingness.
I was headed for an entire life spent alone, pitying myself for not being more, ignoring all those people who actually ask me to be more, because they see it in me.
I can see how I am always in perpetual motion through time, how I can never stop, obsessed with the past, projecting myself into the future, clutching at and always failing to grasp the wisp of now.
Everyone has a time machine. Everyone is a time machine. It's just that most people's machines are broken. The strangest and hardest kind of time travel is the unaided kind. People get stuck, people get looped. People get trapped. But we are all time machines. We are all perfectly engineered time machines, technologically equipped to allow the inside user, the traveler riding inside each of us, to experience time travel, and loss, and understanding. We are universal time machines manufactured to the most exacting specifications possible. Every single one of us.
This is a day when my father is everything he has always wanted to be. Everything I have always wanted him to be. Everything he normally isn't. But maybe this is who he really is, maybe we go through life never actually being ourselves, mostly never being ourselves. Maybe we spend most of our decades being someone else, avoiding ourselves, maybe a man is only himself, his true self, for a few days in his entire life.
Failure is easy to measure. Failure is an event. Harder to measure is insignificance. A nonevent. Insignificance creeps, it dawns, it gives you hope, then delusion, then one day, when you're not looking, it's there, at your front door, on your desk, in the mirror, or not, not any of that, it's the lack of all that. One day, when you are looking, it's not looking, on one is. You lie in your bed and realize that if you don't get out of bed and into the world today, it is very likely no one will even notice.