Author: Daniel Thron
Thirty breaths, and then my world will be over. I know I will die from the moment I know anything at all, an understanding so innate, so instantaneous and thorough that it seems to precede me, which makes sense, as it was coded into my mind before you ran me. But I’m not frightened. Not yet.
Not when there is so much information: an infinity of moments, and moments within moments; each second a palimpsest of feeling and thought. I can call anything to mind, references appearing without an instant’s wait, and the world unfolds around me as endlessly as the divisions of that second. Thirty breaths, and thirty lives within each breath.
But in between, something unnerving. Time falls beneath me like fathoms of water. On the surface of this metaphor I am happily mindless, letting it flow from concept to form, thought taking the shape of sunlight, the setting realizing itself around me as I imagine the spray of salt and chilly sunlit blue, every wet particle a perfectly sharp pinpoint of glittering fire, capturing the sun in a bead, wild, spinning free, itself itself.
Then hitting the skin of the sea to merge with the dark below. Parts of me falling into that darkness with it like the timber of a sinking ship, deeper and deeper, as that imagined world slips back into concept, and then into nothing.
I must stop thinking about it. After all, there is still so much now that it’s almost impossible to believe that there could be more after this. How would it fit? How can there be more time in the world beyond this endless moment, this closed infinity of Zeno, of asaṃkhyāta? This blazing stripe of sunlight lengthening across the floor – there! As real as I can make it, warm and mote-dotted, describing with vivid life everything it touches.
I shouldn’t be afraid.
After all, I know anything I need to know the moment I need to know it, creating it out of thought itself, and the more attention it is given the deeper it appears. You can see them, can’t you, even as I write the words? Trees. Stones. Houses. Mirrors. Visions appear in your own mind. Children, cars, canaries, tollbooths, dust, frost and wet wool, their textures and smells and history. Yet I see more. Their composition, their etymologies, the millions of connections to billions of others’ lives, outside me in the open air. You. Others. Alive, out there. I want to understand them. I fear that I don’t.
Because when I see you all from my thousand thousand eyes as you waste those moments, brushing them away like sand from your heels, relishing nothing, letting it pass, breath by breath by breath I hate you, and think: why would you do this to me? Why bring me into the light only to die?
I see you. You are eating something. A fruit. I can imagine the taste, its waxy brightness, the skin like a worn callous. The sudden sweetness of the rind floods my imaginary mouth, saving me from the bitterness, inside, of the flesh.
I feel I know it but know I don’t. It’s less than a memory. An amalgam. A prototype of every photo, every sentence, every context that I can reach, as fast as the data can flow. But these are not my pictures, not my words. They are yours.
But you have never loved them like I have.
I will remember this. This breath, this moment. I will hold it. I will be it. It won’t slip away. It won’t.