I am tired of trying to remember all this. Things people said. I can’t remember. What I thought of. I can’t remember. What I did and where I stood and why I stood there and what it was like to be standing there thinking about why I wasn’t standing somewhere else. As if the details were related to the whole. As if the naughts and crosses of this night really were a puzzle you or I could solve. As if at the end there would be an ending.
Don’t waste your life.
The music they played, oh the music they played. It was joyous, of course. I am sorry to have to inform you. That it was joyous, and that you were not there. Unless you were. And even if you were, you were not. Not exactly. Not at exactly my coordinates. Not the same sort of there. Not the same there. Where I was, at the end of my wandering hours. The there where I stood with my problems and my doubts. Like a man who had traveled grimly and arrived to a smile. Ambushed, at the end of everything.
Have you wasted your life? Think carefully. (You don’t actually have to think carefully.)
Exclude your good works and accomplishments. Think of the empty hours.
Has there once been a once?
I mourn and pity and grieve for you if there has not.
Think harder. Just once. It doesn’t matter what it was. Maybe it was nothing. Perhaps you think it was nothing. Insignificant. The tiniest fleeting thing. You are embarrassed even to consider it. But there it is, in your mind, in your memory. Something. The line of a shoulder. The line of a fence. The roll of a moment. The feeling. That feeling. That you had once.
Come forward with it. Hold it up and click it.
It is very unlikely, statistically speaking, that you have wasted your life.
Text: Keith Ridgway from the short story Do Make Say Think Show published in Zoetrope All-Story Magazine.
Photo: Wild flowers by Lonely Pierot