“Time is the constant”, you explain.
We walk slowly, disturbing the harmony of settled leaves, hearing their crisp crackle beneath our feet. “You see, we’re moving”, you continue, your hand brushing against mine in non-chalance. “But time, it stands still. It’s always there. We choose to pace ourselves against it, slowing down or rushing past – but that isn’t time itself. It’s us.”
“If time is always there, then why do we run out of it eventually?”, I ask. My eyes fixate themselves on the rhythm of your feet. I wonder if it’s the same as the beats of your heart. If the body has an invisible symphony, attuned within itself. And if mine responds to yours in the same tempo.
“Think of it like a tunnel with a finite end. Your entire journey is through the tunnel. It begins where it begins and ends where it ends. Life is that journey. While you’re living, it’s always in that tunnel. When you run its course, the tunnel ends. And then there’s that white light and you know it’s over. Life, and time for you cease to exist”.
I try and think about that. But I’m distracted by your tall frame creating taller shadows before us as the light starts to die behind us. I watch our shadows collide, combine, contrive into a new shape before returning to their persons again. I want to ask you what time it is, but it’s probably not a good time for that.
“You know forever isn’t the concept of endless time. Always is that finite tunnel of time and forever is what remains for us in it still.” I want to tell you I’d love you forever, but now it seems less romantic given it’s so limited. I’d have to work at finding a concept that is more infinite, that defines how I feel for you in its right measure.
“Let’s stop time”, you say suddenly. I don’t know what you mean but yes I’d like time to stop right about now. Now when the wind ruffles your hair. Now when your musk intermingles with the scent of autumn. Now is as good as any other to stop time, as long as it’s just us.
Your feet pause and there is a calm lull as I stop too. I wait for magic, I hope for sorcery. I want the hands on our watches to wait. I want the falling leaves to freeze mid-air. I want to steal this moment and make it last.. forever.
No.. make it last.
Just make it last for as long as I can.
I feel your arms around me, your chin resting on my head. I know the world is about to stop. I am focused on the rhythm of your heart as my ear presses against it. My eyes drop and the orange darkness denies me any surreal sights. Your heart resounds in my own. It’s the same beat and tempo. I want to tell you about it but when your fingers comb through my hair, I know you know all of that already. “You’ll see”, you say – your voice ringing from somewhere far, “that each time you think of this moment, time will stop.”
I could no longer hear the birds. I couldn’t feel the wind. The leaves beneath my feet didn’t complain when you gripped me tighter. Our shadows completed each other.
We found forever.