Time does not behave now as it used to, or perhaps, just maybe from such slowing down its behaviour is more noticeable. Bound in places, held in spaces what happens to spacetime, when space contracts, time constricts? Seeing no one, unless observed remotely, from windows walking past, or in virtual space in real time – What then is real? What is time? What is space? Or Where is real? Where is time? Where is space? What have we become? Who are we becoming? Going nowhere beyond the shop, necessities seem more necessary, for they are the reason to leave one’s space for a time, venturing to other places masked and distanced. Unable to trust anyone, who knows when or whether a stranger or a friend carries the contagion, making us wary as in every moment life’s time for each individual crawls and scurries onward. What is lost of time’s trajectory, no less precious for its ephemerality, no less regretted for what feels like its wasting, differently experienced now slipping past day on day, hour by moment for a nearly a year gone forever? Shards, scraps, shreds of time tumble in free fall as autumn’s leaves landing silent and mostly unremarked forming mulch for memories.
My twenty-one-year-old self looks down on me, watching from the wall across from my bed, as I sleep and waken, follows me around the room, leaning out from her canvas home, curious and enigmatic. I wonder sometimes what she thinks of the life I have made in the forty-six years since she was painted, a time and a life committed by brush, oils and skill to be a wedding present from my father, when according to him at the time I looked like everyone and no one, too young with too little of life lived to make my features have the unique signature of self only time can grant. Sitting here with her looking down on me now, on the anniversary of that marriage which failed after a quarter century, I wonder what will happen to her when I am gone, I who leave no descendants, no one who would want a portrait of me; but I shelve these musings choosing instead to wonder about the life I’d be living now had I not changed my name, not been divorced two times, gone to university at eighteen instead of thirty-five, not answered the call to leave the religion of my birth as well at its country. For I can see shadows of those other lives lived surely in other places, and perhaps on other planes, from that which I inhabit now, lives with descendants perhaps to carry her forth along with my genetics. I look at her watching me perceiving no judgement sensing no disappointment, feeling no regret, rather there is acceptance, without resignation and the acknowledgement life has its twists and turns, that there are eddies and still pools in the flow of time as well as raging torrents pushing one onward, for the trajectory of being is complex, and the algebra of the heart and the trigonometry of the soul remain mysterious. What I make of the life I have created for myself by the paths I have taken, the doors I have either entered or closed, the decisions and choices I have made, whether with my heart or with my head, whether wise or foolish, each have led me here to a place my twenty-one-year-old self there and then could never have imagined, where my sixty-seven-year-old self here and now can have a silent conversation with her, with that me, any time that I desire, and in those moments find a sense of continuity transcending there and then, where place and time no longer matter for in the flow of being all are one.