Author: Mark Joseph Kevlock
I remember a day I hadn’t remembered. I stood in the field, at the edge of where the woods began. Childhood came through the trees with the morning sunlight, at just the right angle to trigger longing — an overwhelming desire for uncluttered afternoons of play.
Have you ever felt the past brush so close that it no longer seems irretrievable?
I stand among the tree trunks and embrace this certainty: that I can return, can find my way. Something in the quality of the moment tells me so.
My mood lends itself to sorrow, to joy. I search for a doorway, in the dappled shade, along the trails of youth. I recall being here before, long, long ago. The energy of the world aligned that day. Being a child, I was immortal. But so was the world.
I pause along the way, at certain trunks, early on grown divided at their base. What particular madness causes me to insert my hand, between the goalposts of every Y, searching for an opening, in thin air?
And, oh, each disappointment, when I do not find it.
Can days repeat themselves, with a degree of cosmic accuracy sufficient to render the concept of time irrelevant?
Someone else walks through my doorway.
He comes through, instead.
A two-way passage, to tomorrow, to yesterday.
His courage proves quicker than mine. He gazes with wonder — his ever-present filter, in viewing the world.
But am I still, at this decrepit age, a thing of wonder to behold?
Shame forces my hand. I hide behind the nearest trunk. He cannot be allowed to discover his tomorrows, if all his tomorrows look like me.
Realizations flood upon me.
I don’t remember… being so brave.
This isn’t me. This is another me, possessed of an adventurousness that begs the question: what might I have accomplished, with such daring?
I grow jealous of his footsteps, into this new world; of his easy victory scored, against time, space, whatever other immutables he conquers so readily, armed only with his curiosity to guide him.
While I ponder options, he makes friends with birds. Will my world destroy him? Or is he a savior come, to instruct us with kindness?
I live, for a moment, in that moment past. I followed the rays of the sun that day, too. I found the doorway. What occurred next… did not seem real. I have since dismissed it.
He has not.
I determine to kick him back, through the goalposts, to a field where the bark has not yet hardened, with the ugliness of age.
He robs even this action, stealing my intent. With nary a backward glance, he departs, all on his own, seeking the next world to visit.
I remember him, now. I remember his worlds.
The sunlight shifts. The passage closes.
I reach only one conclusion: I am myself, after all.