I sit here and roll out yesterdays – as they recede in their slow, dimmed consciousness. Along the spaces with blurry corners, and slipping through the floors, to obscurity, my gaze wanders.
(I wish I could do justice to those moments I spent with you, on the edge of a lead-studded day, when I looked into the mirror and saw a hollow-eyed flat-faced creature that no amount of concealer or blush could resuscitate. How then you brought me back to life, slowly, even though now I struggle to remember your face, or recall the particular inflections of your voice, or will to feel the warmth of your skin under my fingertips. The phantom amber notes, and wood, and maybe even lavender still linger.)
You brush your hand against my forehead (am I really sick — as my tender lymph node tends to inform – no doubt, of a deadly African disease?), your touch cascades upwards, towards the wooden beams, where ailing lights lend them unexpected depth. A cavern, then, unexplored, beneath the equatorial sky, and you and I, an island, quite heedless of the rest.
Along this tepid air, I sail – it coldly reverberates along my joints into an aching echo, hollowed out.
And now, having gotten back to the mainland, having not spared myself even a quarter of an hour, and thrown myself from unpacked trunk to hot bath to dinner with friends — pressing repeat, until in one semi-lucid moment of realisation, shivering in my cashmere wrap and head heavy on the couch of Pri’s dad, feeling quite transparent and detached from the tipsy Brazillian camaraderie around me, I understood — I am quite sick, and it’s best to make my way home.
How illness forces you into self reflection, and that is always quite an experience to wake up, with even your forearm — darkly imprinted on the sheets. More so, of course, to observe how time flows in and out, rolling over, turning the blanket, trying to find a dry patch. I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately, in broad strokes over the last couple of months, and getting lost in tesseract’s particulars in the recent weeks. Because it’s autumn, my mind eagerly offers its tributes of school days, and uni days back in Russia — not necessarily in terms of how pleasant, or happy, or miserable they were — but rather how vivid.
Kiener wrote, in explaining his proportional theory of time that half of your perceived life is over by the time you turn 18. Then, of course, it should come of no surprise that the plastic uneven feel of the peeling tiles in the school corridor, or the mush, dusty sound the wings of trapped butterflies made against the glass jar — stand out in sharp relief against the blurry backdrop of the memories of the last decade. Even if – for all intent and purpose – it is my twenties that bore the hallmarks of an interesting, eventful life. Siberia to Germany to Spain — through the frightening luxury of having to choose between five scholarships; to doing a masters thesis at one of the best research centres in environmental sciences in Europe; to Singapore and its humid airless glamour; and then back to Hamburg, cold and unyearning, hailing the start of a new career, so full of promise — of travels and all sorts of delicious experiences.
Only, of course, very few know of what went on behind the scenes during these stellar transformations. One says one should not compare – yourself to other people, but perhaps yourself to yourself as well. How very Dickensonian, and — if there ever were a syntax equivalent of a tesseract, surely, it would be this:
‘The Soul unto itself <…> itself <…> of itself The Soul…’