Sometimes I can feel a moment so clearly it’s like I’m even aware of my movement forward in time.
Sometimes all the variables are right, everything is just so, and a surreal awareness washes over me for a minute or two.
I was at Tower Grove Park today with Traci and the kids. At first it was pretty normal, hanging out on a playground with way too many people around. Then we walked behind the pavilion and I was greeted with a huge field, peppered with large trees. It was strange because the park is right in the middle of South City so it almost doesn’t seem real. The air was cool in the shade of the trees and I watched as Traci walked out onto the field, followed by Orson and Trent.
As I walked that feeling washed over me. I became aware of the wind, the feeling of air on my skin. I noticed the coolness of the air under the shade of the trees; it was perfect. If magic was real this would be magical. The sun was bright but spots of shade covered the ground. I watched the three of them walk through it; Traci walking confidently and parental, Orson running and Trent walking as best as a 1 1/2 year old can. Orson’s feet are huge, his body so skinny, his skin so pale. Trent looked so much shorter than Orson, plodding along the grass, falling down on his butt as he tried to pick up every leaf on the ground.
I watched them as they walked away from me, toward the open expanse of the field, and I realized I’d never be here again, in the same place, at this same time. My linear progression through time is irreversible and involuntary; I’m moving all the time and will continue to move even after I’m dead, until all traces of my existence in this universe are gone. I’ll be a footnote in a history no one or no thing will ever remember, but I’ll have lived and died nonetheless. That same linear progression through time , that inability to go backward, ensures that I’ll always be a part of the past-even if no one remembers it.
I saw the boys as they were-nearly five years and two years of age-a snapshot in time. I saw them too as they would never be again. They would never trod the same ground in the same way on the same day again. I saw two brothers, I saw memories being made. Trent wouldn’t remember but Orson might. I know I’ll remember, as long as I’m physically able. I might not even remember this event, this strong and bold vision of my family, my chosen life, my replacements in this world after I die, but I’ll remember that they were once young, that they were once carefree, that they once were at the beginning of their lives. That so many possibilities lay ahead for them filled me with joy; that we’d only be able to do this thing together once filled me with both joy and sadness. The sadness was there, the sense of loss as I watched the moment slip away right before my eyes, but the fact that we were even able to do it at all made me so happy.
And I’d prefer to feel that happiness over the sadness.
As the moment passed, maybe a minute or so later, I was back in reality. The strangeness, the sweetness, and the sadness still linger. I’m also glad for that.
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