53: Always – Waiting (2)

Why stay here any longer? Why endure this despair? Such questions have draped them­selves across my daily experiences for such a long time that now they are just part of the furniture, as they say. Simply another aspect of what happens. Especially since my dear wife died, and my mission as her carer ended so abruptly, those questions have grown so large… So I answer them, pretty much every day, when they intrude into my thoughts, I say to them, ‘Let me wait one more day. Something might turn up, something that at last makes real sense of staying, something that will help.’

And I cheat by lining up my projects, for I have to stay here to see them through, and I don’t want to abandon them, or at least I feel I have some obligation to wait and see how they turn out. It’s a sort of trick I am playing on myself. I cannot go yet, because this project, or that project, like an infant, or like my sick wife, needs me to stay to do these things so that it may prosper. And if it does prosper, is that not a sort of prospering for me also?

But there is such a thinness to that reason for staying. I am starting to see through my own trick. And so I introduce another one, by deliberately reading two or three books at the same time, by trying as hard as I may to find them interesting, by underlining phrases and sentences, putting boxes around whole paragraphs, and writing notes all over their pages. I should not go yet, because I have not finished this book, and even though it is not really of any importance … well, something helpful might turn up, and if not proper answers to my predicament, then perhaps something at least comforting, or just interesting, that for a moment shows me a different perspective, from where I can see the sun shining, like it used to, in my dreams.

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51: Time – Breaking

There is a part of me, a fundamental, essential part, who does not live in time. He has no aware­ness of things coming and going, of their not being here and then of their being here. For him, my dear J has always been here. She was here already, when I rode my tricycle for the first time, not so much waiting for fate to unfold its complex map of indecipherable interconnections, but just here, like the sky, like dreams, like waking every morning, like hard words. And now…

And now he does not know that she has gone, that my dear J has gone ahead for a while. And so he brings me dreams, every night he brings me dreams, and there she is … sitting, walking now (as in adult life she could not), reading a book to me, telling me how affairs must be ordered. And I am always at least a bit puzzled … ‘But I thought you had died … how odd…’ And sometimes I even start to tell the sorry tale of breathlessness, of the paramedic, of the flashing blue light that on this night had come for her, of the hospital. She pays me no attention when I talk like that.

But my non-temporal self seems so puzzled by it all. No tricycle, no orchard, no grandparents, no wife, and an aging face in the mirror that looks so forlorn and lost, as if pleading for a ticket that will affect the transition out of the prison camp to somewhere a bit nicer than that. And he says, in such bewildered tones, ‘But they are right here. I have just been up and down the pavement outside, and the bearings are easing. I have my married life ahead of me, don’t I? Will anything be achieved? Will my grandmother stop snarling at my inability to make money? Did I not, then, ever master any­thing of value? I will learn to play the guitar and the lyre, won’t I? Though those tunes I wrote seem ready to pop into my mind, new and as yet unfin­ished, at any moment…’

Has time itself broken? Or has it always been like this?