Like most you believe that if it is worth remembering you will, that memory is keyed to some measure of value and if you forget that value had diminished without your noticing. You accept this as a sort of gospel truth for you cannot recall that you once rejected this argument out of hand, for that has slipped way from memory and lies valueless and withering on the synaptic scrap heap. You are certain you had a childhood but just as certain you were thoughtless until age three when life came rushing in remarkable fits and starts bridged by chasms of nothing though you fear that some memories may be slipping into the abyss even as you deny that possibility.
It is a precarious balance, really, more an exercise in tottering and hearing than in standing still. Some prefer stasis, others, I included, find that leads inevitably to a loss of energy, to an entropy from which it is difficult to escape. I don’t walk along the edge of the precipice, but I do. peer over, amazed at what lies below that I hope never to see up close. Is a precarious balance, but one that can be maintained if you just close your eyes, and sense what actually lies around and beneath you.
You never read the ultimate autobiography which doesn’t exist unless you live in an Oulipian world. You can write up to the moment Of your death, and we would, if begrudgingly, conceded the last moments incompleteness, but you cannot write a true and complete autobiography without falling into the recursive abyss where everything that you say is suddenly autological and the reader collapses in on himself, a literary blackhole.
The difference between love and lust is as thin as the blade of a fine razor, as broad as the Rio Grande Canyon outside Taos, so how can you tell one from the other? Some will say it is an impossible task others will take the “I know it when I see it” route leading nowhere. There is no easy answer, certainly, but those who have tasted love will tell you the difference is monumental and elemental. I have wanted a woman deeply, cared for her, missed her in her absence but when my love, my lover, is not here I am incomplete, and that is an abyss into which I dread falling.
And then there is the abyss where it all comes crashing back down on you and there is nothing and no one, and you grasp and find only yourself at the bottom and arise, crawl up and out, and nothing has changed except the face of one who saw you fall. You say words meant to calm either you or the others, but they sound hollow, all words have an emptiness in this moment, and you know it will pass, and you know it will not pass nearly soon enough, and you remember the moments, once, when you would think that the abyss the drug created would last forever and in that moment you began the slow return.
His is six and deeply confused, and asks questions to end that state. He wants to know if Adam and Eve had two sons, and one killed the other, where did all of the people come from? Ask your father seems and easy answer, but one he cannot accept, too easy for a mind that needs timely response. I stumble around, try to deflect, and finally admit I don’t know but that some stories cannot be taken literally. He knows what that word means, and it is a sufficient explanation for now. In a week we’ll have the conversation once again, this time not Adam, not Eve, but Shem, Ham and Japheth, and how the three sons of Noah repopulated the entire planet, and I will once again admit to my sad lack of knowledge, and silently curse the Religious School for creating the abyss into which my grandson is all to pleased to lead me.
Horizons are the thing we have they greatest trouble with. They are omnipresent, immutable and yet move at our approach. They are at once inviting and fear inducing, though now we are largely convinced they do not mark the edge of a precipice over which we would catapult into some endless abyss crossing their margin. As we age we are allowed nearer and they see less foreboding though we struggle to keep eyes open knowing that too soon enough we will close them finally and step across into the abyss.
Between this moment and the next lies an unbridgeable gulf that the mind leaps with great ease, never looking back, or down into the abyss. It is only when the body stops, tries to grasp the space between, that everything collapses and falls into itself until all that is left is improbability.