Since I was seventeen, I have lived with an urgency in my mind, and for a good reason; it occurred to me at a young age that this was all a fleeting affair, and life is only several weeks you could count. I also knew most of it was already over and that things would only end faster from that point on. Even with all this urgency in me, I was tardy. A part of me still is, and even with all my early awareness of the nature of time, I seem to have forgotten most days I have been here. I know I was in them, immersed completely, surrounded by nothing but the passing seconds, but then, you think you are at a table with your friends laughing, and you blink, and that table seems like it was a lifetime ago. The greasy restaurant has shut down, and there is a new joint in its place. Most things change hands as the years pass—eateries, bars and friendships. That is how things happen, and there comes a point you understand what they meant when they said, “I did not know what happened; I reckon we all got busy with life.”
Before you know it, you sit by yourself, lamenting and reminiscing. I would have looked at us, at the moment diligently had I known, you say. I would have recorded every detail had I known we would never be there, as we were, again, and I would have remembered the food on our regular table at the commonplace cafe, the lights and the crowds, and the name of the server who was there every day, the spilt beer, the coffee and the laughter. I would have remembered everything in between; I would have remembered the joke because I remember there was one—I just don’t know why we were cracking up.
No matter how hard we look, regardless of how many notes we make, we will miss something, and we will forget a joke. No matter how hard you try, you will lose people in years and on tables that do not exist anymore. And if things are particularly unlucky, they will stand right in front of you, and you will have lost them still. You will look at them and not recognise them. “You look and sound exactly like someone I knew once,” you’ll tell them, “but I knew them a long time ago, and I do not know who you are.”