On Remembering

Essay 9

A weird thing that happens to you when you turn 30 is that everything starts to remind you of something else that has already happened. And everyone of someone else, from some earlier situation. The world wakes up and takes up a shape, it now moves as a shape—patterns and themes, stock characters almost, duels and duets, pirouettes and prisoner’s dilemmas, a game, a play, a theory, a choreography, all of us spinning on the unstoppable planet, subject to laws of physics and dictations of zeitgeist, a remake of a remake of a remake.

It can be maddening.

This prescience without the ability to stop. The question asked by one, with you answering the one who asked and all the many who asked you before. The detached look at your own hands that move again and again, writing some eternal tale in which you’re but a passer-by, an extra tint, a bow and exit.

And I know if I loosen my mind I can lift myself to where it’s all connected and pure and bright—where we all pulsate as one and there are no shapes. And I can roll myself into the ball of childhood where everything is scary and obstacle and separate and ground, not a pattern but an edge, and I can put up a fight. But in the middle, in the sphere where the social drama plays out, it’s a masquerade, my friends: we change roles and positions and masks from time to time, adding our own colours to some endless repetition.

And I wonder if I’ll be that old lady who lives in the past and thinks you’re her long dead lover when you step in, in the present, unique as you are, a DNA like no other. And if I can be fresh, if I can be alert, if I can be present enough to notice the difference.