Time Has Forgotten Me

A DIRECT Sequel to Time Has Forgotten My Neighborhood because someone kept asking for it. I made this one more abstract...hopefully that's ok.

Time Can be a fickle thing- for some, a single moment can feel like it is unending, like that exact moment in history could somehow progress beyond eternity as progress is ground to a complete halt. For others, days seem to fly by in the blink of an eye, and before they know it, they’re at their end, lying in a pine box as an aggressive storm brews overhead, and a light fog rolls over the hills of their final resting place. The hands on the clock practice their choreographed dance around the clock, the numbers seemingly meaningless to their mechanical motions. We rarely anticipate that anything could or would ever cause them to misstep, that something could cause their routine to be interrupted. Time feels like a linear thing, like a being that marches toward an inevitable demise- point a, to point b. Sure, there are points of importance in between, but the only two certainties on everyone’s timeline is birth, and death. The beginning of your existence, and the end.

If we were to look deeper at our race from the start to finish, one could start to parse the timeline into an infinite number of even smaller point a’s to point b’s. January 1st to December 31st; Midnight to 11:59; sunrise to sunset; inhalation to exhalation. There are an infinite number of moments that exist as a starting point, and the same number of moments exist as a finish line. I think that’s what makes it so fickle in the end, it’s nearly impossible to find where we truly began and even more so to find where exactly what has started, comes to an end. I know, all of this may sound confusing to you, and I can imagine that you’re sitting there thinking that I have very clearly lost my mind, and maybe I have. I will say it’s been hard to not just snap as I’ve traversed this fog, this seemingly unending wall of mist that has kept me contained and confused for so very long. I say that, but I can’t tell you how long it’s actually been.

Maybe I’ve started this story all wrong, maybe I should have started by talking about the weather, maybe it would have made more sense then. The problem is, I can no longer do that; I can’t tell you about the weather now, because you’ve already heard my words, and I started by saying that time is fickle. My profound quote, one that you may have heard before, is officially our Point A, the start to the timeline where I tell you about my story, the start of the timeline where my words permeate your ears, your brain translates my simple sounds into information, and then processes that information into a level of understanding. See, right there- that process is its own timeline, a beginning and an end of something. I speak, you hear me, you process, you understand. I feel like I’m just muddying the waters more as I try to explain this; causing that fog within your mind to grow thicker, if you will. Let’s try the whole weather thing…

On a clear day, you can see forever- from where you stand to the end of the world. When the sun is shining, and the sky shines a bright blue you can stand on your roof and bear witness to the entirety of the city, and even the natural formations that meet the skyline. It’s honestly surprising how beautiful a small mid-western town can be when the circumstances are perfect.

The look on your face, that inquisitive furrow in your brow and slight smile tells me that you’ve heard what I just said before. Your mind has processed that exact string of information at least once in another time, and yet there’s no evidence that it’s ever actually happened. You and I have never met, we’ve never spoken before, and this conversation has never happened, yet something about my voice saying those words in that order has caused you to take pause and rethink whether or not this has happened before. Something about this feels so familiar to you, like you’ve been here before.

Like you’ve always been here…

Maybe you have. Maybe you have been locked within this moment for an eternity, and are only thinking that it’s passing you by. Maybe time has forgotten you entirely, and you’re nothing but a pilgrim stuck in the amber of this moment. There is no why, and more importantly there is no when; it simply is because it is, and that moment is eternal; a simple line that was to connect Point A, to Point B, but has failed to do so. When that line stops short of its destination, what do we call that? Is that a Point C? A point A-and-a-half? Or is it simply a new point B, and the original point B simply ceases to exist?

I know I’ve spent a lot of time talking about you at this point, but let’s talk about me- because that’s where I’ve been. I’ve been stuck in that newly formed, unnamed, midpoint for… well I don’t know how long. I don’t think there’s an answer for how long, because there is no time that has passed, or if time has passed it’s immeasurable. For me, every single moment is the same moment, no matter how much changes around me, around the town, my mind is unable to comprehend time changing anymore. It’s a concept that I’m struggling with in my head- there is no today, tomorrow, yesterday, there is simple the right now and nothing beyond that, nor before that for me. I have been seemingly trapped here and unable to move on for both an eternity and a single moment at the same time. I attempted to get through it, to break free of this freak point of my timeline, but I can’t. When this all started, or stopped, I supposed, depending on which perspective you subscribe to- I saw my neighbors outside and inside doing various things. The problem was that each one of them was stuck on a loop, almost as if their timelines were disrupted; broken and sewn back together at the seams. Douglas, my old neighbor, for instance; he would go outside, open his mailbox and put a letter in, then walk back into his house. He’d then sit down on his couch, grab his remote and turn the TV on. Then he would grab an envelope from literally nowhere, and start the cycle over again. This timeline would start at its Point A, but would then follow a circle until it once again hit that start. I attempted to disrupt his cycle, but none of it mattered. I was finally able to break him out of his eternal cycle, but it came with a cost. He and I eventually collided and it was at that point that my midpoint encompassed his entirety. I saw his start, his end, and I felt everything in between. Then he was gone, or reduced I suppose. There were ashes left where he should have been, and I don’t know if they were him or something else, but I assumed that I had killed him by doing what I did. Interestingly, when he was removed from the timeline, everything that was encompassed within his eternal cycle was gone as well- his remote, letter, tv, couch… all of it had disappeared with him.

Now, beyond poor Douglas, there were others. Each of my neighbors were stuck in their own cycle. I watched other neighbors fight each other, which ended in the wife murdering her husband- but there were some points that would seem off. They were… glitching… so to speak. Or maybe it was more that their timelines, or time circles, had desynced. With no time passing, there was no way to truly measure whether or not things were in sync as they should have been, so I think things started falling out of place. I know it sounds really weird, but I think you know what I’m talking about, mostly because I’ve told you this already.

You may be thinking that you don’t remember me telling you about them, or about Douglas, or about any of this insanity- but I have. There was a point in time where I explained every single bit of this to you already. You already know about the desync, about Douglas’ routine, and you also know that each of my neighbors had begun to decay, down to nothing more than exposed sinew and bone. You have full knowledge of every single thing that happened, you know all about how time has forgotten my neighborhood. Maybe you just forgot about it as time went on, I mean it’s been a while. Or has it? How long has it been for you? How many times have you walked through your cycle since I told you about all of this? Because, for me, I told you about this all a very long time ago, or at least I think it was a long time ago- I lost my ability to determine anything related to time somewhere along the way. Maybe it was just a moment ago- I honestly don’t know. Really there comes a point where all of this has to fall in line, where it has to make sense to you, right? Your mind will certainly process this information, and after the synapse begins, and the connections are made, you’ll find your point B. When you do, you’ll get it. It’s simple, you just have to walk your straight line from the beginning to the end, you just have to see the start, and find the logical ending.

Now I know that’s not something you can do right now, whatever that means to a timeless existence, and that’s fine. We have a long time to get to know each other more, a long time to really dig into what all this means for you, for me, for Douglas. That is, of course, assuming our timelines aren’t one in the same, assuming we aren’t just walking through the same circle over and over, and assuming we aren’t dancing through the same timeline from Point A all the way around and back to the beginning. Of course we aren’t though; you know that things are progressing, there’s time that’s passing. Maybe you watched the sunrise this morning, maybe you’ll watch it set this evening; so maybe you know that you’re not stuck in a loop, you know that, for you, time has continued on and will keep going forward toward your Point B. Don’t think too hard about it, it’s best to just believe whatever makes you feel better about things honestly. You wouldn’t want to end up stuck in some weird cycle, walking around your neighborhood, blocked in by a thick fog and wondering why your neighbors are decaying right in front of you.

Or maybe you’re already in that position…

Anyways, there is one thing that I haven’t told you much about, and that’s the fog. Well, despite your fears, despite the absolute terror that may be gripping your soul… I think it’s time you learn some more about it. You see, that fog seemed to encase my neighborhood, it was like a wall that surrounded the few houses on the block, and I genuinely had no idea whether or not I would ever be able to escape, to walk through it. I had this idea in my head that I needed to try, I needed to try and break free from the prison that I had seemingly been trapped in.

When I approached the wall of fog on the northern end of my neighborhood, I felt a sense of anxiety. It was a bit strange, as ever since I had stopped feeling time, I had seemingly stopped feeling anxious. With my brain being unable to process the passing of time, there was no reason to be anxious about anything. I thought I was feeling fear, but it was more likely to be just my instincts kicking in; weird things were weird and my body didn’t like it. That anxiety that struck me with the fog was almost comforting. It was a sense of normalcy, a sense that maybe I could finally progress further down the timeline, maybe I could actually get to my Point B.

Maybe I could escape.

The problem with that thought was that I wasn’t sure what escaping meant. Maybe it meant getting out of my neighborhood, maybe it meant falling off the edge of the Earth. For all I knew it could have resulted in me simply falling over dead, or wandering the fog for all of an eternal moment. But it was none of those things, or rather it was all of them all at once. I escaped my neighborhood, I approached the edge of existence, and I’ve been wandering the fog for some time. I say some time because I don’t know if I just escaped, or if it was a long time ago. The only thing I haven’t done is die, mostly because I’m still stuck here in the middle of my timeline.

That said, entering the fog wasn’t fruitless, I did find something I never expected to find- another person that was just as lost as I was. There was a small rowboat that was seemingly placed in the fog, and as I approached it I saw a person lying there, seemingly frozen in time. That person was you, whether you remember it or not. You were lying in the row boat, you were unconscious in this randomly placed object, and then you woke up. The look on your face was one of confusion, you didn’t know where you were, when you were, and maybe not even who you were. Has time passed since then? Have you felt any time pass from the minute you came into this story, to right now? I already asked you that question, and you never answered me. Maybe you can’t… maybe you’re stuck in that circle and cursed to loop back around, never finding out where your timeline ends.

Maybe time has already forgotten you.

Maybe you’ve already heard this story.

Maybe you are the one that’s been lost in the fog, looking for something new, looking for something to tell you where, when and who you are. Maybe you’ll be here forever, whatever that means to a timeless existence.

You see… Time Can be a fickle thing- for some, a single moment can feel like it is unending, like that exact moment in history could somehow progress beyond eternity as progress is ground to a complete halt. For others, days seem to fly by in the blink of an eye, and before they know it, they’re at their end, lying in a pine box as an aggressive storm brews overhead, and a light fog rolls over the hills of their final resting place…