Things Sweep You Up

How did this happen?  How did I become thirty-eight?  How did I get chest hairs, and then bushy gray ones, and then flab all-everywhere, and a 401(k)?  How do I know about local taxes, how do I know how to drive a stick shift?  Many people say something to the effect of, no matter how old I get, inside, I always feel eighteen years old.  I know what they mean but I can’t agree entirely; inside, deep inside, I’m perpetually eight.  Helpless, dewy-eyed, flailing, wiping the eyesnot onto my pillow on sun-dappled mornings as I start to hear the first birds’ chirp through the box fan next to my bed.  How did I get from there to here?  This is an immense amount of life to happen to an eight year old boy.

Things sweep you up.  You get swept up in them.  Time isn’t what we’re told it is–it’s a gel extending in all directions.  You get moving and your momentum just carries you.  You start to age and change and the person you were becomes invisible to you–an unknowable shadow stranger.

How did I become this man?  Decades have passed since I was the first me, the child me.  I’ve known thousands of people; how much did they matter?  I’ve been countless places- were any of them real?  I drank and ate and fell in love and tipped poorly and took advantage of people and swam on perfect summer nights and refused to do things–oh have I ever refused to do things!–and I knew people that died and I sent people mail and I flew on a plane and I lied to people who loved me and I shaved my head and I bought the perfect Christmas gift and then, every now and then, every so often, I go back to the places that things happened, and I look at those places that I stood, that we stood together, and I see myself there, I see those things happening.  It’s like a double-image–the past overlaid on the place, and finally, in those moments, I simply can’t understand any of it.  How can I be here again, when I was already here?  How many times can I be here?  How old can I get?  I’m only eight, after all.

Things sweep you up, they carry you with them, but not like a stream but like a mouse running across a darkened floor and you are the cheese.  Things sweep you up and carry you, they zig and they zag, holy moly do they ever zig and zag.  When you get a moment to breathe you might look back and say, oh my, how did I get from there to here? I’m only eight.  And the answer is simple: you did not get from there to here.  You are still there, you are still here, everything is everything all at once.  I’m just energy, you are energy, this table is energy, the perfect Christmas gift is energy, my eight year old self recycling his electrons into a thirty-eight year old self, all of us unknowable to our future versions, forever and forever and forever and forever and forever and forever and forever and forever.

One Response to “Things Sweep You Up”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    “How many times can I be here?”. That’s a statement that can be discussed for eons!

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