A lost second. The silent crowd, then voices outside the door. Two strangers laughing.
I walked along the creek bed looking into the deep pools. The sun was burning into the center of the canyon, bedrock walls extending into infinity, one last illumination before the shadows consumed the creek. Violet shadows full of unseen thoughts undreamed and unremembered. Lost like the color of water; translucent and ancient like money.
A reflection of light trapped then released into the distant future; the shimmer of someplace I still can’t remember. I watched the darkness spreading downwards swallowing up the distance till the last light,the last breath of warm air snuffed out.
Remember, the sound of birds shifting into their night voices?
I began again on the next day. The world seemed changed; new, yet familiar like the beginning of summer. I held on to her words in my head afraid of losing myself to them.
She opened the front door. Sunlight poured in across the floorboards. We walked down the steps out into the empty street. The trees spoke in breaths of wind. The emptiness of words unspoken and beyond our grasp. She led me past the parked cars and the silent houses towards the end of the street. A metal railing blocked the road and dug into the cliff edge. The city spilled out across the landscape a thin crust of concrete and broken perspective lines. A dog was barking somewhere. I wanted to tell her everything but I couldn’t talk.
We were sitting looking at the creek, the water so absolutely clear it was almost invisible. Submerged grey rocks seemed to be floating mid air with angled light patterns slicing across them. I looked up towards her face. Her beautiful brown eyes and wide lips. She was so focused on the water’s surface that at first, she didn’t see me watching her. “Do you see this? This is the beginning, the moment where everything emerges”
I didn’t understand her then, I thought she was talking about the water, but now I can hear the start of a different awareness. The first inklings of a new consciousness.
“I can’t stop it, I can’t catch the moment. I know it’s here. These moments, they could be lifetimes or instants. I can’t tell anymore.”
I tried to ground her in the reality of what was happening. The physicality of time. The actual-ness of this world. “It’s true,” I told her. “there is no ‘one’ moment, it is impossible to stop time in the present, but once you can separate yourself from the world and begin to see around you-you begin to exist and with that an entire past emerges where moments can be frozen and encapsulated. Memories. Memory is the contrast to wholeness, to this flow of time.”
“You have to want, to desire, in order to have consciousness.” I told her. “You have to assert your separateness, compare moments against each other” She was so beautiful in her focus her concentration, the way her lips tightened.
“But where does this desire begin? “ She asked me. “How did I first want anything? How did I begin to know this selfness, this separateness from things”
I couldn’t tell her. I don’t think we can ever know this since it happens before our first memory. “Do you remember seeing something,” I asked her. “ something that wasn’t you? That first moment that you were separated from what you were looking at? “ She looked towards me and I felt the absurdity of what I was saying. “That’s when it begins,” I continued. “this idea of self, the containment of personality.”
“I saw you there, you know” she said looking deep into me. “ It was your face I first saw in the whiteness. Your features coming into focus like these water shadows on the rocks.”
She looked at me again. Her eyes were so open and empty that I felt my entire life pulled into them. “Only after that,” She said. “ it was only after that, when I knew it was you.”