Like many others, I find myself caught up in life and death and what they mean to human existence. In contemplation I leave the present; I justify my daydreams by using philosophical notes that strike around while I think about the morbid. Maybe this isn’t the best use of my time, but allowing my mind to “go there” allows me to think introspectively about what it means for things to be dead or alive. I have noticed that we are in constant reach for more time to be alive. It is a ceaseless worry that life will disappear quickly, each second marching us toward death. I wonder why time is so important to us, and why we feel the stress of death. We observe the preciousness of time. We idealize it as a means to measure our worth and what we didn’t waste by living.
My own thoughts get heavily bombarded by the thought of wasted time when I feel regret. I’m not sure anyone can get through life without feeling the drag of one’s heart when they think about what could have been done differently in a given situation. I know I have many, and they fill in along the cracks in my mind begging to be tugged into my thoughts, to be loosened to roam freely and take up with my anxiousness. Time becomes fragile and the idea of wasted time will cause me panic by remembering broken things that never mended. These things set out to haunt me.
Maybe the idea of “waste” in reference to time comes from thoughts about how we will never get it back, and hindsight reminds us of what was and what now remains in its place. Hindsight is a beast within itself. While it is useful to improve our reasoning and consciences, it can act as a weapon too. It can set us on a path of remembering things that hurt us. It can be our enemy from whom we cannot protect ourselves. It can also be our teacher, our compass to what is right and a measurement of positive change. We cannot decide how to use hindsight in conjunction with time, because the relationship can be uplifting and bitter all at once. Who am I to say what things hindsight will attach to in my mind? An uncomfortable truth, we find that our minds will remain independent of what we wish could happen to the unhealed memories. They can reappear suddenly or never at all.
I’m stuck on a particular memory, myself. It’s one that I wish to forget, along with the situation that caused it. My mind remembers how weak I was with the exhaustion of carrying the weight of depression around day after day. It remembers how the life changing event happened in a matter of minutes, but the aftermath has continued on. It mimics my movements, making itself a frequent visitor, a squatter, embedded into the density of this continuing sadness. My mind begs to be left off the hook of the crushing regret that has attached itself permanently to my daily life. New memories are tarnished by the heaviness of the matter, and it sits on my chest, impossible to remove. It may outlive me, or be buried with me when I am gone from this earth. Maybe I am fitting of that type of end: the kind where a few minutes of time tethers me to the past forever and always.
There’s a name I’ll never forget, along with a figure and a place. These three things fester together, impossible to untangle now, engulfing all of the good I used to see in them. When I think about one I inevitably think of the others, and bile churns inside me, ready to expel the physical manifestation of my thoughts. They are damaging to think about, but I cannot save myself. To be told to forget would be like asking the tides of the sea to never come. The memory drowns me over and over, unceasing and unforgiving.
I feel deserving of this fate. Though the memory takes place as an action, a choice in which I was a recipient, I know fully that this was what I was meant for. There couldn’t have been any other way for things to be done, but the finality has my soul trapped. I am forced to relive the action as sadness roils the muck of the memory. The choice is none that I can influence. There’s no turning back from it, but moving forward seems too difficult right now. I’ve been burned by the ice, but I can do nothing but stand my ground, waiting for release. I am Catherine trapped within the moors. I am Heathcliff set against himself.
I am wasted youth, without a soul or a heart. They were removed with precision, a skill acquired with frequent practice. I am sunken, withered, and dried to mummification. I wait with a scream caught in my throat. I hope for an impossible retrieval, a returned gift. I am stagnant. I am stale. My body is a cast off and my mind is terrified of its resolve to torture.
I’m gone. I’m done. My mind repeats. I’m gone. I’m done. I’m gone. I’m done.