Always at my back

One of my early memories is standing alone before our house and tapping a stick repeatedly on the concrete pavement of the sidewalk. I was only perhaps five or six years-old, but I had become fixated by how queer it was that the interval between each tap of the stick marked a moment that could never happen again. I had some silly idea that moments had to wait a near-eternity to bloom and it seemed so sad that they passed unnoticed into nothingness.

There was just something terrifying to my childhood mind at how many moments were destined to be forgotten. I can recall several times in grade school saying silently to myself “I must remember this, I will not forget this.” Ironically these were seldom significant events. I would be walking home in the rain from school, or staring at Laura Paulson’s plump, bland face as she worked a first grade math problem. These were the things I feared losing.

I no longer get quite so wrought up by the rapid passage of time, but in one way or the other I’ve never ceased to have a fixation with it. It’s a large part of why I’ve kept a diary for almost 25 years. People say keeping a diary helps you to see how you have changed over time, but I find it tends more to show how much I’ve remained the same. Twenty-five years ago I was hungry to be loved, haunted by the thought of life passing too quickly and filled with recrimination about my lack of ambition. But if I look back at anything I’ve written in my diary over the last six months, I see only variants on how I long to be loved, how afraid I am of death, and how I wish I had more ambition.

Tap, tap, tap…

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