When Time Glides Up Next To You

The quality of the air in the house right now reminds me of something distinct, something almost-knowable, lost to years or almost lost, right there on the edge of words, and as I’m about to give up and turn from this, it comes to me.  It is waking up in the early morning hours to leave with my family for vacation.  This event I have not remembered for many years.  We used to wake up very early in the mornings for our yearly trips to the beach.  How early we woke up, I can no longer be sure.  It was dark out.  Waking up when it is still dark out becomes, of course, a matter of regularity in adult life, but as a child this seems like as early as is humanly possible.  It seemed we must have been the only people awake at all in the whole of the world.

I have no specific memories of these once-yearly times.  No dialogue or mental snapshots, just a feeling, a sensation, bursts of color and light and the smell of my sister’s bedroom which was next door to mine and the green of the bathroom walls and the still-new taste of toothpaste and the sound of stillness.  These are the only times—or at least some of the only times—our whole family is together at this time of day, and during which we are all freshly awoken and of unified purpose, and there is no television, or radio, just some groggy chatter, last minute suitcase-sitting-on, blowdryers and maybe the smell of a curling iron.  We are excited to leave for vacation but we are tired.

I do not know why the air and sound in my house just now should remind me so clearly of these seemingly fleeting moments, or why they should seem suddenly laden with importance, but, there it is.  Again and again I can sense those moments in that old yellow house as if they were right here with me, hiding around a corner, or tucked into one of these seconds, hiding in the air—as though time had been folded like a dog-eared page in a book and one of those early vacation mornings were pressed right up against me, just waiting for me to leap across the page right back into it.

One Response to “When Time Glides Up Next To You”

  1. So nicely written. Made chills on my arms!

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