Compulsive Time Ramble

Published May 21, 2012 by April Fox

The days lately have seemed longer than usual. I heard a song this morning at work, went to look it up just now and thought it felt like days ago that I’d heard it, rather than just hours. It’s one I had in my head a few weeks ago (months, maybe? I don’t know) and I’ve always liked it, but it’s been floating around my head like the dregs of a dream since it showed up then.

I remember conversations about time that I had ages ago, lifetimes ago, see? Everything relates to time. I feel like I never have enough, that I should be able to stretch and bend it, elastic it should go where I tell it to, when I tell it to, how, and why.

We could lose a step here and there and never know it till the end, lying withered and hushed on starched hospital sheets, surrounded by the worried grimaces of folks we’ve loved forever, loved us back, never would admit that somewhere underneath the heartache they want to let go because time has stopped, held them there in the grip of your fractured hands, and then in silence we might beg for those steps back. The lucky ones believe that it will happen, through Heaven or reincarnation or spectral plane-hopping, universal jet-lag till you find your legs again. The rest of us take deep breaths and close our eyes and when the door closes we reach for the knob and hold it, willing the people we love to stay frozen on the porch step just a second longer-just a second before leaving, because everything is always and nothing is for ever and everything is forever, right now is it, the end, the loop station playing nothing till the power cuts out and the lights go dark.

I want to gather all the seconds that I’ve lost, knit them into a blanket to cover me when I’m dying-but I can’t knit, and I don’t have time to learn.

See how that works?

Today my little one spent the day with her sister, then went to spend the night with her dad after we took her brother to baseball practice. She asked if we could come home first, before I took her over there. I asked if she needed to change, or to get something before she went to dad’s. No, she said, she just wanted to be home for a minute. I get that. I like that she recognizes that need.

We were talking last night, beloved and I and our friend Max and some stranger at the Kava Bar, about the need for time and space of our own. I’m enjoying that tonight, with one little one tucked safely in bed here and the others at dad’s for the night, beloved off making music sound delicious on CD and the house is silent, nearly, just the sound of the fridge and the generic bug sounds that you hear in the summer. I like that we can steal seconds, hours for ourselves; giving them all away leaves you depleted, looking for other things to take the place of yourself inside your head. We need this, maybe more than most people: the chance to stretch out and breathe, even though breathing side-by-side is easier here than it ever was anywhere else. We need this, but I know that when the little ones wake and walk through the door, I will wrap myself in their skinny arms and breathe in the fact of them, let their voices settle into my brain and take up the space I empty out tonight, and before that, when I feel beloved settle in beside me, quiet and lit like a ghost by the computer screen, changing the structure of his form to fit perfectly around mine and speaking sleep into my already tired mind, time will stop and start again and I won’t mind not knowing where it’s going, just for now.

Anyway, I digress. This is the song. I reminds me of our little life, and I like it.

 

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