The elusive thief of missed opportunities.
I’ve gone through life thinking the next decision I make would be the last major decision of my life. It took a few years and continuous choices to make me realise things weren’t as they seemed. A few minutes sipping a gin and tonic takes a man back, back into his mind to remember before the loving embrace of the liquor made him forget. Thoughts flooded through neural pathways, carved into the ridges of my mind through years of wear and tear, months of recovery and repair. Love was the strongest force, the glacier that seemed to plough past my defences, routines, habits, and conventions, reshaping me every time I fell. Falling was an apt way to describe the infusion of love into one’s life, because it truly did give the same feeling. Weightless, timeless, continuous, uncontrollable, and truly exhilarating.
The cruel dealer of gambling hands.
As the bartender asks me if I want to top up my glass, I wave him no. A train of thought I hadn’t boarded before was now leaving the station, and it would be such a terrible waste to let it crash into banks of earth without riding it past all stops. Unbidden came my escapades in love, striving to make the last one the last one, if you know what I mean, a reminder I didn’t know I needed. How time once seemed timeless from a birth of a love to it’s demise, always surprised me when it came to a close. Sometimes the amount of commitment stuffed into a year or four, six months or two, seemed to make time seem timeless, untrue to its true nature. Sometimes the distance travelled in being a new person seemed to multiply when you’ve reached your stop, which I guess happens to me every time.
The peerless teacher of harsh lessons.
The girls sitting across the bar might have recognised me tonight, or maybe my easy smile seems to give them a sense of familiarity. One thing I’ve learnt, amongst the many tutorials and trials I have gone through, is that a smile could mean so much. Earnest, honest, a simple smile has the ability to build bridges, fix broken walls, and give support to those who’s ground has been swept from beneath their feet. The way the people I’ve loved once smiled at me stay etched in beautiful hickory on the walls of my memories. Those smiles still get me through my days despite the frowns that they have been replaced by. There was once a time, that happened thrice already, when my days seemed dull and empty, lacking a smile to comfort me. When the darkness seemed to crawl through the cracks on the wall behind which I tried to bury my pain, I had no defence except to shut my eyes tightly as the blistering cold flames washed over. One morning, I smile to myself in the mirror. Earnest, honest, a simple smile that had the ability to start putting my pieces back together.
The diligent archivist of unfulfilled dreams.
When the music changed, I felt a lump rising in my throat. It was her favourite song, a mix of samba and pop, one she used to jump at every chance to dance to. It’s true, some good memories don’t fade as fast as the bad. Every single time I had taken a step into the reality of being one with someone else, I had dreams, I had aspirations. They lay now on the shelves of a million broken, eroding pieces of antiquity, observed whenever I would swing that rusty door open to my past. Now as I walked down the many aisles with a little bit of my favourite intoxicant flowing through me, I couldn’t help but smile. The broken pieces of good memories seemed to fly back into shape as my eyes alighted on them, yet I knew they took fresh shapes now. Nothing looked like it did in its time, all of them becoming objects of awe that I knew my subconscious would worship if I let it. That’s what happens with memories, that’s what they were; figments of our mind, our past, with faces showing what we wanted them to show. I knew there would be hundreds upon thousands more aisles to be filled, and I knew all too well that the older ones would fade. They were all destined to fade.
The loyal keeper of eternal promises.
I tipped the bartender before my feet took me down the stairs and onto the narrow street. Full of life with a mixture of different music laying heavily upon everything like a thick blanket, the street was not as busy as it usually was. Time to go home, I thought to myself. Did I want to repeat this? No, not really. Maybe tomorrow night I’d stay at home and read a book. If I kept doing the same thing every night, was I not keeping myself in a loop? Keeping myself eternally in a circle. Timeless, it would seem. The prospect of the next morning brought to me a promise of life being different again. Maybe to smile once more in the mirror, to dance a new step, and maybe push myself an extra yard in whatever I put my mind to. That was a promise to myself, to never stay stuck in that suicidal limbo of depressive repetition. The only thing that allowed me to do this was time.
The mindful architect of changing destinies.
Time was a human construct, I always said. Never before did it occur to me that the passing of time was purely personal, how time could stop, stretch, rush and seem endless just by shifting perspectives. I remember now, as my cab brought me closer to home, how some days seemed endless. Some days I would be wallowing in self-doubt, anxiety and lethargy, while on others I’m on a phone call that makes me fly through five hours like it was a minute. They say time heals all wounds, and this makes people just sit tight and wait for time to do its job. What we had failed to realise is that we are the embodiment of time, we are the clockmakers and the ticking hands. We are the digits that keep changing, the deadlines and the weekends. Healing came to those that kept their own time, those who rolled the wheel forward when inertia pushed back twice as hard. When the car pulled into my driveway, my train of thought was coming to its final stop.
The ever-present opportunity. The enduring possibility. The great healer.
My phone lit up with her name, the latest in my attempts at finding solace in a romantic plane. Now here was someone I could find myself in a reality of being one with, and that was only possible by moving forward. I could have chosen to pause and to loop, to try and bargain with the timeless, or I could choose to push my own wheel forward. The patterns weaved into my past were just that; patterns, gone, unreal, to be shaped once again at my whim if I put my mind to it. Chance, fate and all those fancy names were given to the entity we cannot explain, which in fact is really the future, the consequences of our actions. As I typed a reply and waited for her to call me, things weren’t as they seemed. New decisions every day led to new facets of our lives, and this gave me peace. Accepting that the world only turned as fast as you let it really put my life into perspective. Even scars fade, I thought, as I looked at my forearm where I once had a nasty jagged line, where now was only clear skin. Even broken hearts mend, I thought as I looked into my mind where I once harboured regret, where now was optimism and hope. Sure, I could’ve been broken seven times, but it was up to me to put myself together every time. When my phone began to ring, I knew there was no need to carry the weight of hurt. It would stop me from being able to carry love and good intentions.
Yeah, I had a lot of time, and I choose to make it go on.