Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Infinity shattered

Infinity shattered. It happened that moment, that very second, you realised you were not going to live forever. You were almost twenty years old and living in a strange land. This strange land was made only stranger by the reappearance of an ex-girlfriend in your bed. She'd travelled to see you - without asking you first. You were only being hospitable.

The morning after her arrival, you awoke to find her still there. You thought - no, you hoped - that she may have been a dream (as you had previously dreamt of her plenty), but lying there with her in the early morning, it would have been too great a feat to deny her existence. So, instead, it was then that you first realised you had a past, then that you realised you were getting older, then that you realised your time on earth was finite, that your very being would someday come to an end.

You were nearly twenty years old before you figured this out. It's sad, really. You even thought about death, but considered it such an abstract concept you were unable to take it seriously. It was something that happened to old people. It was something that happened in movies. It was something that happened in other countries, far away from you. Then, infinity shattered - you were an aging actor in a foreign film.

You were lying there awake beneath a too-thin sheet, with an ex-girlfriend beside you. Looking around your flat in the dim early morning light, you were surprised to find that someone had replaced, while you slept, your innocent childish clutter with the mess of an irresponsible adult. Oscar Wilde's De Profundis lay open atop a nightstand, and you realised, in that moment, that you were reading plenty but understanding nothing. You made a commitment to go back and reread everything you had read up until that point.

You were lying there awake beneath a too-thin sheet, decaying. It was then that you used someone for the first time. Sitting up in bed, you looked over at your ex-girlfriend and hated her. You hated her for coming to you. You hated her for staying. You hated her for being so beautiful. You hated her for doing all of this to you, for flipping the infinity switch to OFF. But you needed her help getting out of there, out of that strange land. She had come to retrieve you, and you would let her. You didn't speak the language, and this film wasn't subtitled.

Back home, your relationship, as it were, lasted but a week - and you were surprised it lasted even that. On her birthday, you presented to her an intricately carved wooden box, and told her not to open it until she got home - there was a very important note inside. She liked mysteries, so was more than happy to wait.

You never spoke again, not really, not with the same enthusiasm anyway. And how could you? She was part of your past. In fact, she was the courier who delivered the past to your doorstep. Since her, you age; there is no escaping it. Infinity shattered. And you can not forgive she who threw the stone.

"...Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain."

-Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

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