What day is this! How I have longed and waited for this very day to arrive, and yet, somehow, never expected that I would live to see it actually happen. But what day is this! And today of all days for this strange fate to have unwound itself from sorrowful sleep seems unusual and out of place, if a place could ever been determined. I suppose it must have been carried here by the winds or, perhaps, awoken by the electricity thrown across the air as we all attempted to sleep.
I have often imagined this very day, but never in such conditions as these. How could I have expected that it would turn out to be on a day like today? What is today! Today I am free! Today I have been released from my interminable hold in that place of darkness and a placating sense of stagnant dampness and cold.
Today I step out and feel the wind for the first time since I can remember having a sense of time. And the thought occurs to me again, what day is this? I’m walking down the road now, wondering where I should start my reintegration into the world. Can I be reintegrated at all? It has been so long, or has it? No matter which, it seems to me that it has been long enough to prove this bounding leap into reality difficult.
What day is this! That shall be my first task. Then from there I will be more able to figure out where I should being this long process of integration. So I walk. The sky is grey giving me no indication of a shadow on which I could base what part of this memorable day I am currently experiencing. Time for me, it seems, is ever elusive. The tick tock of my wind up watch from childhood is a distant past. Something like a fairytale memory. Although after those years apart, I may believe more in fairies and goblins and knights in shining armor visiting me along this crunchy gravel road than seeing a passing car or growing skyline of a city.
I’m walking for what seems like what might be considered a long time, although this flat landscape gives me no indication. The only clues I have that I have been moving at all is the pain in my feet, due to lack of use. The tower, from which I left, grows smaller too. Or is that shrinking? I cannot even say for sure if the temperature around me is changing. It seems that I remember that it grows colder as the night gets closer. But I don’t feel a change. Or maybe I don’t feel anything at all. That could be an option I suppose, considering all the years I have spent feeling only coldness and the soft caress of my only friends as they scurried over my feet looking for a lost scrap of food. Food! How often am I supposed to get food? I can no longer remember the intervals. I know that food was given to me before I was free but how long apart between these meals is impossible for me to determine. Will I still feel hunger telling me that I should find something to eat? Will I be able to find anything out here along this endless gravel road?
I’m watching the horizon as I walk and I feel a sense of déjà vu, a hint of a memory from a time long past when I watched a program on a television as a child. It was something about how producers create the illusion that someone is driving in a car while they are filming, the rolling sheet of images that flow behind a parked car to give the illusion of movement. The fans blowing wind through the protagonist’s hair and more importantly through whichever girl he has his arm so casually drooped around. This skyline reminds me of that rolling sheet of images and for a second I wonder if I am moving at all. Then I remember the pain in my feet. How much time has passed since I left those carefree memories behind for something more gallant and epic? How is it I have ended up here wondering what time is?
I am unconcerned about the direction I have chosen. This gravel road that bends slightly to the left sometimes and slightly to the right other times, or maybe that is just the sway of my body. My left leg is a little longer than my right. But my right foot is bigger and I’m right-handed, so it may be balanced. I feel like this is a path that I have taken before, but I know that that is just the cause of my isolation and my wild mind playing games to keep itself sane. Has it succeeded? I am unconcerned about this as well. It is plain to me that when I do find what day this is, I will also find out if I have changed since the last day I remember. Since that day there has been no division in time. No indications of change, just constant stable lighting and temperature.
I tend to doubt that this unusual way of living has had much of a negative effect on me. I suppose that if anything, it has released me from those stresses that I remember my mother and father toiling over. My mother’s head in her hands when my father did not come home from work until late, progressing to the biting of her fingernails when he finally called saying that will is going to a bar with some coworkers, and then finally the resigned sigh when the tick-tock ticks enough to tell my mother that he is not coming home tonight, again. But me, in my isolation, I had no such worries. I had no events to anxiously await the arrival, no trials to dread of coming, no appointments missed or rushed to arrive at, and no seasons to wish would never end. No time.
And so I continue walking, no hurry in mind, just walking and wondering if I am going to be able to adjust to the practice of following this mysterious and false idea of a before, now and after.
It seems my father, despite having grown up in such conditions, never quite agreed with the idea of time. He continued to live his life as he had before he met my mother while he was meeting my mother and after he met my mother. It seems that the only reason anything changed for him was because my mother insisted that it be changed. Although, this turned out only to be a figure-head of change, seeing as my father rarely conformed to this idea of being home at a certain time. Maybe it is that he was incapable of change. Change being that which denotes something now is different from something before. There in lies an inherent definition of that which my father, and now I, have tried so desperately to rid ourselves of. This ever suppressing concept of time. My father was never able to break his chains to time. His methods were not irrational enough. He tried to fight against time, to deny its existence. But it seems that those around him imposed time upon him despite his best efforts. All his mistresses eventually grew too old or too fat and my mother eventually disappeared with me. Each of these occurrences threw at him in their own defiant manner their own undeniable reminder of change. My father eventually figured out that he could not live in a world where other people could affect his delirium and needed to escape. And so he has.
So why is it now that I have been released to be free of this non-time world that I have since been living? And why do I rejoice at the idea of doing so? In spite of all my efforts it is obvious that change occurs. In what way have I been changed, I have already come to the conclusion that I have no way of knowing until I reach somewhere that will tell me what day is this. Meanwhile, as in, at the same time, I am still walking past that rolling screen. Do I long for time? Is it this primal need that we all possess to know that something is happening and all is not for nothing? Has my isolation, self-imposed or not, I am no longer sure, accounted for anything? What was it again that I wished to accomplish by this stint of stubborn denial? Was it anything? But if I have accomplished something of worthiness, some sort of breakthrough, does not that breakthrough deny the possibility of such a discovery?
Finally, in the distance I see along this slightly curving road, a building, something that I can now watch growing larger. At last, a time machine that will be able to tell me when it is that I have arrived. Then I am there. Or here? I walk into the building and down a flight of stairs and a calming feeling of cool dampness overwhelms my senses and I fall into a deep sleep, only to be awoken by the scrape of a plate being pushed towards my feet across the floor. I smile, wake up and think what day is this? Today I am sure to know.