One of the things I've always fretted about is time. I don't mean wasting time, having enough time, making time or even doing time. I mean TIME - that bastard millstone that doth grind us all into dust. I remember being aware of time's arrow when I was only five or six years old - of realizing that no matter how great the Christmas, nor how fun the vacation, it would never, ever, happen again. A present, once opened, can never be unopened - and a great grandparent, dying in a hospital bed is never going to make you another Sunday lunch.
Ever since that first realization, I've kept my eye out for books on time, theories of time travel, anything that might blunt time's arrow. And I came to the conclusion that no one, no physicist, no science fiction author understood time any better than I did when I was six. It doesn't matter whether you think time is a dimension, or an illusory result of entropy - that still doesn't explain why - why can't I go back? Why should time move forward with such implacable irreversibility?
Because it's tearing me apart.
Vonnegut was right. So, for that matter, was Allen Moore. In a sense - in a very real sense - I really am still six years old, rummaging for toys in my basement, looking at those pale green stucco'ed walls. I really am still eleven, helping my father build the house that we would live in, and jumping off the roof into the dirt pile at every opportunity. I really am still 14, delivering news papers at 4 in the morning, every morning, staring at the night sky and hugging the solitude to me like a blanket. And more than anything, I'm still 18, holding court over my end of Drexel's cafeteria, telling fortunes for complete strangers, telling jokes to people who keep coming back and struggling, struggling with the idea that some of these people are friends that they care about me and that I should try to nurture those connections and not casually destroy them.
I remember my utter (and still unending) astonishment when I went after a girl and I won. I remember when she told me she was moving in with me. I remember the shock of graduation, of visiting "old" friends but feeling like a guillotine had cut us apart.
I remember the day someone finally convinced me - after months of talking - to actually put on the clown make up and to go down to the frickin' Spectrum, for God's sake, and actually and deliberately behave like a complete idiot in front of tens of thousands of people.
I remember the end of that day when, as 10 raggedy tailed clowns schlepped out to the parking lot, a group of kids ran up to me to say good bye.
I remember sitting around that house I built when I was eleven, wondering how and why death had become an all-you-can-eat buffet - an endless torrent of casseroles and grieving people.
Pieces of me, strung along the past, like beads on a string - but while I can see them, I cannot feel them. I carefully restore them but still they fade and crumble before my eyes.
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