Years pass…



Years pass… The sun sets and rises as if it possesses a mind of its own. I forget things. I forget who I am.

Dawn and Mia become more and more human. Soon, we are indistinguishable from others of our kind. Time exhibits an absurd regularity – so too, for that matter, does space. The measuring devices of this unreal world prove themselves to be nearly infallible.

I know I am lost but it seems an insignificant price to pay. My little successes, after all, bring rewards. All that’s needed is for me to tighten the muscles of my jaw, draw up the perimeter of my vision. Along the way, I see how unnecessary it is to be aware of peripheral things.

One day however, lying on the couch with a book in my hand, I succumb to a light sleep. This almost never happens to me. It seems insignificant, even though, upon waking, I note an unexpected shift in position of the hands of the clock.

As I move through the rest of the day, a feeling comes over me that I have not been asleep. For each time I happen to glance at a timepiece I have a sense that the hour has inordinately accelerated.

After several iterations of this increasingly strange sensation, I call Dawn just to anchor my experience within her familiar frame of reference. She is out of the office. I leave a brief voice message and – so as not to alarm her – make no reference to what I am experiencing.

I call Mia.

“Hi baby.”

“Hi Art, what’s wrong?”

“Why? Do I sound like something’s wrong?”

“Yes. Are you OK?”

“I don’t know. I feel strange. It’s like… I’m losing…forgetting…things – what I’ve just been doing. I know I’m here doing something …but when I look up at the clock…an hour has gone by. And I can’t really remember what I was doing for all that time…”

“Art…just stay there. I’m going to leave work and come home. Did you call Dawn?”

“Yeah, she wasn’t in. I just I left an innocuous message…I’m OK though. You don’t have to leave work…I feel a little… spaced or something. Whatever happened, I think it’s over. I mean… I can’t really remember… but…”

“Art. I’m coming home…now. I love you.”

“Yeah…OK. Yeah…I guess that would be good. I love you, too. Thanks.”

A few minutes pass. Dawn calls.

“Art, I’m on my way home. I talked to Mia. How are you feeling?”

“I’m OK now…I think. I had a strange day. I feel like…I lost a couple of hours…I can’t remember what happened…”

“I’ll be home soon, Art. Just try to relax.”

“Yeah, OK. Thanks Dawn. I don’t know what’s going on… but… I love you.”

Time passes. Obsessively, I try to reassemble the missing pieces of the day. It is as if the act of remembering causes a tunneling effect – a spinning sensation. Holding a few moments in memory seems to cause the entire edifice of the here and now to slip away.

I look at the clock to ground myself. I catch a glimmer, a glimpse of a phone call. I just made a phone call. I heard a female voice. Dawn’s voice? Or was it Mia? I try to recall a few bits of the conversation. Why the call? What were we talking about?

I look back at the clock and ten minutes have passed. But how can that be? Ten minutes for a few thoughts?

Panic… I am losing my memory of immediate things. I am lost in this moment. And I don’t know what is happening to me…


Image: “Years Pass,” drawing, painting, and digital photo collage by Tullio DeSantis, 2009.



Filed under ARTology Now

2 responses to “Years pass…

  1. Rachelle

    I can’t say I had an exact experience of this.
    I’ve had sessions where I wonder why I ponder on a topic in my head. How the mind switches from thinking about one person to another, or strategizing. When laying in bed about to fall asleep, how I feel, I fade out of thoughts, and sweep away from my body and the time.

    Earlier this month, I had a friend text me while I was asleep, somehow I woke up and replied back to her text. The next day she text me wondering why we didn’t hang out that night. It was strange to me because time had no hands when I replied to her. I remember replying to her, but I did not recall what time I did. It was a strange feeling how the time moved unaware.

  2. Jamie

    I wouldn’t think of it off the top of my head but when I read this, I almost have a sense of familiarity with it. Sometimes I will have a busy day and time flies by with nothing to show for it. Sometimes I will have a day where nothing happens at all and time still manages to pass me by like a speeding bullet. It almost frightens me because there is nothing I can do about it after it’s gone and in the past. It’s like the opposite of a dream, where in a dream you can go through a whole set of scenarios and just a few minutes have passed. Yet, in real life nothing much happens and you find yourself left with your head still in the past and your body is in the future. Then you must recover from that, which takes time.
    This also happens in the morning just after I wake up and know that I must get ready for work or school. There is a disorder in which a person’s mind is stuck in a sort of limbo while time moves forward, as usual, but they are simply unaware of it. Sometimes I wonder if I have that disorder but I never come to a resolution because that would take far too much time.

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