Part 1 – Beginnings.
Out of all the concepts I don’t understand, I understand the least about time. Perhaps it is because while elusive, love can still take a physical form. Trust is something that can be proven – yes, like time too, but trust is something that can be explained. Time, I feel, cannot be explained. It is not a simple equation of tiny bits, categorised into bigger bits when ones wants to, moving rhythmically one set after the other – tick, tick, tick.
See, time goes beyond time. Some days feel like years, yet the rules of time dictate it have, really, only been days. An hour of waiting can feel longer than an hour of wanting. That’s the catch, isn’t it? Time isn’t a science or a mathematical equation; it’s a stringy mess of both sides of the spectrum; sheer truth and tangible sensibility. Emotions run as tightly with time as seconds, minutes or months do. And let us not forgot about the human memory, that plays tricks of equal proportion or sinisterism. A year ago could be a year ago, or feel like a lifetime if feeling and memory lack.
And yes, time plays tricks. I’d dare say that at time, is one of the most cruellest of things. If only because time makes of us think of it as something we have. Something we own. If we buy a clock, we buy time. We own a clock, we own time. Organise your day, plan, schedule, lay out your best of future plans and we think we have it. Only we don’t. Life – ranked number two of the things I understand the least – and time are things we simply do not have because it are things we simply cannot have. Time, I feel, is like the perfect illusionist. The perfect spell. Magic.
See, I have spent an awful lot thinking about the concept of time. Of what it is, what it means, what to do with it (I mean, we don’t really have it, do we?), what happens if and when we run out of it (how is that possible, we don’t own it). I’ve read that one way to deal with things is to rationalise. I’m good at rationalising. I like facts. So, here we go.
Fact. Eleven years ago, which is just a few years short of half my life, I met someone. We became friends.
Fact. Throughout those eleven years, we stayed friends.
Fact. We met each other, in the real world, in person, as humans, three years ago and have since met on several occasions, in several cities.
Fact. She lives approximately 7,663 km away from me. That’s technically the other side of the world.
Fact. A plane ticket will get you there.
Fact. I bought that plane ticket.
Fact. I was interested to see and discover how ‘jet lag’ worked because I’m weird like that. I always thought time was a funny thing.
Fact. I spent nine days in west Canada. I went on an epic road trip. I slept in a car (thrice!). I was smuggled into one of the parks of the Rocky Mountains – which sounds more daring, adventurous and criminal than what it really was, but still was heaps of fun. I saw Mountains. I spent most, and too much, money on good coffee and great food. I laughed a lot. I saw a lot. I talked a lot. There was silence too. And music. There were stars. I now know how to keep warm during the day, but also during night. I have slept, in a car, when it was -12 degrees Celsius outside (we think). I have developed a profound fondness for warmed restrooms.
Fact. I did not get jet lagged until I got back and ever since, I’ve been thinking a lot more about time. While it is a scary thing, a lucid, fluid kind of a thing, a ghost, it is also a wondrous thing. Time can do so much and in turn, we can do so much with it, too. Seven months away and you can come back a different person, like you’ve lived a different or even new life. If time is a magic trick, then so are we. We can travel back and forth into time, too, you know?
I still don’t understand much, or anything more, about time now that I’ve flown through several time zones and worked through a jet lag (still am, actually…). Sometimes, days turn into a heap of nothingness. They blur. Time without distinction, without ravel, without notice. Sometimes, days are meaningless because they blur.
Four days in the Rockies, and I’ve learnt that sometimes, days become meaningful because they blur.
We cannot hold time. But if we cannot hold time, perhaps that means that time, also, has no grip on us?
I could see bits through the sparse openings of the clouds. Some white here, some brown there, green in all sorts of shades, rivers running into the distance or into large lakes that looked like puddles from this high up. Then. A mass of peaks, snow-covered, stretching endlessly like an ocean. A sea of rock and spikes. It went on. And on. And on. If my window was a TV screen, it was filled with mountain. I figured, it couldn’t be it. But what else could it be, if not the Rocky Mountains?