We take it for granted that life moves forward. You build memories; you build momentum.You move as a rower moves: facing backwards.

You can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you.

It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way. Avenoir.

You’d see your memories approaching for years, and watch as they slowly become real.

You’d know which friendships will last, which days are important, and prepare for upcoming mistakes. You’d go to school, and learn to forget.

One by one you’d patch things up with old friends, enjoying one last conversation before you
meet and go your separate ways.

And then your life would expand into epic drama. The colors would get sharper, the world would feel bigger.

You’d become nothing other than yourself, reveling in your own weirdness.

You’d fall out of old habits until you could picture yourself becoming almost anything.

Your family would drift slowly together, finding each other again.

You wouldn’t have to wonder how much time you had left with people, or how their lives would turn out.

You’d know from the start which week was the happiest you’ll ever be, so you could relive it again and again.

You’d remember what home feels like,
and decide to move there for good.

You’d grow smaller as the years pass, as if trying to give away everything you had before leaving.

You’d try everything one last time, until it all felt new again.

And then the world would finally earn your trust, until you’d think nothing of jumping freely into things, into the arms of other people.

You’d start to notice that each summer feels longer than the last.

Until you reach the long coasting retirement of childhood.

You’d become generous, and give everything back.

Pretty soon you’d run out of things to give, things to say, things to see.

By then you’ll have found someone perfect; and she’ll become your world.

And you will have left this world just as you found it.

Nothing left to remember, nothing left to regret, with your whole life laid out in front of you, and your whole life left behind.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Leave a Reply