Look, over there. Right there. Do you see? More right. A little left.
Yes, there. Focus. Let everything else dissolve. Do you see now? Do
you see the emptiness? Yes, it’s looking at you. It’s looking through
you. You see it now, don’t you?
Last night I saw it in the book I used to read when I was almost 10
years old. It was there on page number 62, right below the eighth
line. I kept looking at it.
““No, a star star. In the sky. Keep your eyes closed, think about what
it feels like to be one.” He moved over to her and kissed her
shoulder. “Imagine yourself in that dark, all alone in the sky at
night. Nobody is around you. You are by yourself, just shining there.
You know how a star is supposed to twinkle? We say twinkle because
that’s how it looks, but when a star feels itself it’s not a twinkle,
it’s more like a throb. Star throbs. Over and over and over. Like
this. Stars just throb and throb and throb and sometimes, when they
can’t throb anymore, they fall out of the sky.””*
I left you notes in the third shelf of your cupboard under the old
newspaper that you never change. I know you never look there.
Look at the stars. They are all falling. Blink. Do you see the rocks
of starlight surrounding you? They are everywhere. In your hair, in
the pen cap you thought you lost but is actually lying under your
table, in the first yawn you take in the morning when you wake up. Do
you see now why they fall?
How do I tell you that I move so fast between shipwrecks and autumns
and ancient ruins that I have lost track of what hurts more: love or
hope, full circles or perfect labyrinths?
This world is crumbling down into seven hundred and seventy seven
pieces and we are going to wake up beneath all those pieces: unable to
love and too disabled to hope. It will vanish into a deeper blanket of
voids, like it was never there. Are you focusing? Are you looking?
Blink. You forgot to blink, didn’t you? Blink seven times. Is it gone
What was the shape of her eyebrows? Did he really have grey eyes? No,
she couldn’t have had that long a nose. It’s the faces you remember in
the end, how they looked to you, how they looked at you: screaming
masks, ponds of tenderness. Tragedy floats as paper boats in puddles
of indifference. It comes to you slowly, in closed rooms and old
furniture. There is no forgetting.
There’s something to be said about the way we lose sight of emptiness.
It doesn’t vanish in a flash. It diminishes like tides on a beach. It
moves away and you can no longer feel the water on your feet.
Emptiness shrouds itself into a sky full of voids. Blink. Yes now.
Blink seven times and you will lose it.
Do you still see it? Maybe it’s where time comes from. Maybe it
produces seconds and seconds of nothingness and then more. Maybe that
is where time loses all its geography and becomes a bottomless sea
where the only surviving species is the chaos of memory. It engulfs
you and you remember everything. Sometimes years of forgetting is
washed away in one monsoon.
Blink. Blink again. Close your eyes and look away till it’s gone.
Close the window. It’s letting in too much light.
Do you remember the color of the crayon you used to color the first
house you ever drew?
Don’t you see?
There is no forgetting.
*The lines have been taken from Tar Baby by Toni Morrison