It is said that before the age of Aeron time had been singular. Only one beginning had existed to an end, and the end had come inevitably with the ticking of a time-measurer. The truth is lost in the murky waters that shape what we call time – I would say today, but it is more fluid than that. There is the moment I am present in, but a myriad of other moments are at my fingertips. If I flick my thumb, there’s the horse riding lesson I might have gone to, in which I could indulge if I chose to, or here at my index finger, there is the blind date with Tinlep, which would alter the paths at my beck and call too permanently for me to seriously consider going to.
So what we call the present is multiple moments, but so would be the past. If I so choose, with the pinkie on my left hand, I could call the past moments I had chosen, maybe adjust them, choose different moments, but there is a catch. My lifespan is limited. If I spend my moments adjusting the past, to a certain extent, I lose time, unless the choices I make in those redefined moments lend me more choices for my present moments.
Some dwell in the infinite paths of the past, gnawing at what might be changed, improved, fixed – paths of regret. Others revel in every moment available, living multiple times in the present and the future, experiencing every option available to them, taking the risks and dealing with all the consequences. And me? I am somewhere in between. My desire is to live one life and live it having made the best choices available to me. Singular choices. Father says I am vintage, that my taint is unnatural.
Father says this to me every day, with his dying breath, and somehow I can’t keep myself from sinking back to that moment, the crisp white sheets, the smell of disinfectant, the sunlight bleeding through the window too bright. Father’s face near as white as the sheets, a sheen of sweat on his fevered head, his eyes distant, then returning, then distant again.
Oh father, why did you leave me alone to face this reality? Why did you choose the path that held your death? Was it me? Did I displease you? Or was it that you hungered for an end to the ever-changing river of time?