I used to think about a lot of things that I can’t even remember anymore, I just feel their absence, can see the space in the bottle where the wine that I poured into the glass used to reside. Memories that sat on the shelf for years only to be uncorked and swallowed within minutes, hours at most, disappearing forever. I dream of mundane things that mean so much to me; there’s snow falling even though I’ve still never seen it; there are stars falling even though I always want to watch them shine forever, photographic in their imagery. I talk too much; I never say enough.
I walk beneath streetlights in the dark and I let low breezes sweep up under me, taking off my glasses because the last thing I want is to have to see all of these places that the older I get become less familiar and more distant to me, and it’s like all of the memories that still stay in their bottles or are swirling in the glasses before getting swallowed up by my greedy throat belong to someone else entirely. I look at spaces underneath trees where I was knocked over by other kids and tore the cartilage in my knee (I didn’t see a doctor for it, and it healed on its own over the years; I still don’t test the limits of it). I look at the backs of buildings where we used to stand, and it’s like I never knew either of us, like they’re just well-detailed stories someone else told to me about themselves, or someone else they used to know.
But I know it all happened to me. I know this life has happened to me.
I think of a night I sat in a closet in an apartment where nobody lives anymore (and were they really even living then?). I think of how I was surrounded by other people in that closet and yet all of us, each of us in our own ways, were never more alone than right then. I used to feel united with others in our mutual loneliness but now there’s nothing of the sort inside of me – when I’m far away, I’m far away, and when I’m close to everyone else, I’m conjoined surgically. I think of a year ago and then I think of a week ago; keep my eyes on the crumbling gravel of the once-well-paved-street; I stood outside with two other people who I knew were men and who I knew I was nothing alike while everyone else stood inside, talking, laughing, smiling, and I laughed, and I smiled, and I told my jokes and made everyone else do the same but I wondered if it felt so hollow to everyone else like it did to me.
If you don’t care how much time you think you’ve wasted, is it really time you’ve wasted? Who’s to say the value of an hour? Who gets to decide the currency of a year? What’s a week to anybody but me? I want to know more about how other people determine what’s worth their time, but it’s all so abstract to me. I think of the things I was told would be important and I don’t care about a single thing, but all of the meaningless instances, all of the quiet moments, all of the smallest ones that happened at midnight or happened for free – those are the ones most precious to me.
I want every forgotten moment to be so precious to me.