He would never understand how time developed a flexibility that defied the laws of physics. An hour, a minute, a second, they were all standard measures. Each the same as every other. Yet lately they had changed, flexed. For the most part they had gotten shorter, shrunken. He knew that wasn’t possible until he remembered Einstein’s famous quote.* But perhaps that Einsteinian law applied only to those of a certain growing age, like his.
*Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.
Lie back, I said to her, just stare up that way stare into the sky without any clear focus. Do you see him now, the hunter with his bow outstretched, the belt cinched about his waist locked in his eternal search for the prey that would free him from his nightly quest. And there, I pointed can you see the great bear gamboling with her child or there a goddess reclining on her heavenly throne. Now she said, that’s not it at all, not even close, look over there, don’t you see a small child crying out for her mother, and there, two lovers locked in an eternal embrace, their lips barely touching, hips pressed together reclining as one, and there, clear as day a cat lying curled as though sleeping in the warmth of a hearth.
There is nothing like, no words to adequately describe, that moment when a cloud- hazed sun lingers wishfully just above the horizon, grasping the sky with brilliant talons of light, fearing becoming lost in a darkness that will, on this night of the new moon, engulf us all in its inky shroud.
We know, or pray, the sun will return in hours, just as the sun knows its work is never done so long as it has light to give, hoping that final collapse is eons away.
As it finally settles beyond sight, we smile, retreat to the table and consume our dinner and wine, our daily companion forgotten until its dawning return.
Night and the ancients retreat to a dark corner of their celestial prison from the promised arrival of the yellow dwarf from which they know we demand a presence.
We ignore the ancients now, ignore those who cast them into their prison, ignore the acts for which they were banished, care only to name them, and they know that our recognition is their only grasp on existence.
Each day their tiny cousin demands our full attention, defies us to look deeply at him, pleased that he is, for us, the center of our universe.