I am standing still on the platform, but time is whipping by me.There are thousands of minutes left in this week, but not that many days remain. I am thinking about loss of time, because 1) I am losing it, 2) it is being eaten away, 3) it abandoned me and never asked if it could go, and 4) it comes and goes and will come again.
By some time early next year, I won’t live in London any more. I’ll be as I always was, once again: an American living in my home. I’ll have room to move and a car to drive. I’ll walk less and get fatter. Everything will be much less green and the accents–the sing-song sounds of people talking– will no longer be an everyday pleasure. I want to go home, but I will miss this home too.
Nothing can stop the family growing, and the family shrinking too. My uncle Don is dying: a tumor is growing on his brain. I am so far away and I cannot do anything, except look at the color of the autumn light on the leaves and think about him.
Don and Mary Ann have 13 children. They did not set controls on their family the way everyone does now. They married and they had sex and they had children. Children of their children are all around him now, and he, too, is looking at the autumn light on the leaves, feeling time tick away.
It’s a strange tall woman who told me I would have none. She has glasses… no one has glasses anymore. She has done all these tests and she is telling me that I am 36, but my body is finished with cycles and my hormones are trying to make egg follicles but there are none. And I am listening and all I can think of is all the years that have gone, all the months that coincided with all those tiny pills I swallowed to say no to all those eggs that came and went and now there are none.
I am Edwina, Raising Arizona, making jokes, considering a life of crime, ridiculous and barren.
It has hardly rained, but when it has, it surprises us. All day or all night, maybe, it is quiet and clear and lovely. Then, we are sitting and we hear it: the wind suddenly whipping up like a mood swing, the plane leaves slapping around the air. Water is pouring in through hidden holes around our front window. We hang beach towels to catch it. In the morning, again, the sun comes in the room and the tree is thinner, gaunter. More leaves have been ripped away. It makes room for weak winter sun in our front room.
“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.
For some they come in with the tide.
For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.
That is the life of men.”
–Zora Neale Hurston