I’m going to try and get a little heavy today. Real introspective. Bear with me, or you know, skip this post and come back another time.
We reorganized Cassidy’s closet, and that meant hauling everything out of there that had lurked in it since we’d moved into the house. One of those things was my Box of Memories, a sturdy box full of a disorganized mess of pictures, documents, souvenirs, and other carefully collected useless junk. I haven’t opened this box in quite a while and Cassidy was, naturally, quite curious about it. One of the artifacts within was a fake book filled with printed photos from 2001-02, which I began poring over in earnest. (She lost interest and started pawing through the rest of the box almost immediately. She is four, after all)
The photos were of me at twentyish, getting my first car, my first apartment, going on road trips, goofing off with friends. My mom is in a couple of them, healthy and smiling. I have memories of this time, but they aren’t as specific and full-colour as photos tend to be. And there are things and people I haven’t thought about in a long time. So going over these was certainly making me feel ways about stuff.
A day or two later I was having lunch with my family, and somehow we got to talking about memory and the passage of time with Cassidy. I still had these photos on my mind, I suppose. And I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I was trying to articulate to her that things can be a long time ago and still feel like they just happened recently. I knew it was futile, but she asks a lot of questions, and we’ve always tried to give honest answers in ways that she can understand.
In trying to find the words for this effect, I suddenly teared up, and couldn’t speak. All I could do was sit at the table and silently cry, making small hand gestures, and eventually giving up. I’ve often been profoundly affected by things that remind me of the passage of time in this way. Cassidy asked me why I was crying, and I truthfully answered that I didn’t know.
“Are you sad?” she asked. No, I replied, that wasn’t it, not exactly. And that’s actually the feeling I’m probing at right now. There’s I think an element of sadness to the feeling, but it’s more. A little overwhelmed, maybe, at the rush of memories when I really get to thinking about my entire life to this point. All the things that come back, places I’ve never been back to, people I’ve not seen in years. But with it, the good times, too. I was free in ways I’m not now.
Part of the feeling is awe at the beauty and mystery and twists and turns of life. I don’t know a more concise way to put it. That guy, back there, he has no idea about what’s coming, and the profound ways he’ll change, or the unexpected directions he’ll go in. And this guy, right here in 2021 has no idea what the next twenty years (Lord willing) have in store. 2041-me is going to look back here in the same way as I’m looking back at 2001-me, saying oh, you sweet summer child, please enjoy all you can while you can. Good things are coming, to be sure, but there are things you have that you will miss one day.
So we finally come around to Tales from the Loop, and the post I threatened to write months ago. For being a sci-fi anthology show it is surprisingly, deeply interested in grief and the ways we change and grow over time. And sometimes, as in episode 4, there are no flashy science-fictiony tricks that will save the day; sometimes, someone you love will be go away and there is simply nothing you can do, even if you know what’s going to happen.
In the finale, a young boy named Cole disappears for a number of years, although no time passes for him. Early in the episode, before his disappearance, Cole and his mother share a moment where she sees he’s reading a book that she signed out of the library as a child some decades earlier. “Does it feel like a long time ago?” he asks. “Blink of an eye,” she replies.
When he’s returned to his mother, he’s still as young as the day of his disappearance, though she’s aged noticeably and quite a lot has happened in her life, as we see in a series of dialogue-free flashbacks through her life. Rebecca Hall, who plays Cole’s mother Loretta, is an incredible actor in these scenes, and the events of the episode put me in a highly emotional headspace, even though I was only following along peripherally, working on my illustrations while it played on a second screen. Although I admit that as things went on I ended up turning my attention away from my drawings entirely.
The final scene hit me like an emotional truck. We the viewers suddenly time-jump forward, and Cole is in his forties, with a wife and child of his own, standing outside of the house he grew up in. His wife mentions this fact, and his son asks, again, if it feels like a long time ago. Backed by the series’ excellent music, Cole shakes his head slightly and says: “Blink of an eye.”
Reader, that is the line that wrecked me. Because it’s true! So much has happened, and will happen, and yet somehow the present moment often feels like it’s the way things have always been. And I know a lot of art has been made about this exact phenomenon, and I’m far from the first person to have been affected by the idea that time marches on. But goodness gracious, I don’t mind telling you that I full-out sobbed for several minutes while the credits rolled and the show’s beautiful score played the series out.
It’s life, I guess. It’s strange and beautiful and sad, but it’s also good, and it’s the one we have. You realize that time goes fast, sang the Flaming Lips. It’s hard to make the good things last. Enjoy what you can, while you can.
(Looking over this post I really don’t know if I’m any further on understanding why I reacted the way I did, but maybe I’ll understand things better one day)
Thing I Saw: A fascinating speedrun of GeoGuessr, of all things! This last week was Summer Games Done Quick, a marathon of speedruns benefiting Doctors Without Borders. I watch as much as I can during the week it’s on, but almost nobody I know does, so I end up excitedly trying to contextualize my hype levels to anyone in earshot. Or as I put it on twitter,
Thing I Learned: You can soak ground flaxseed in water for like 15+ minutes, and hey presto, you’ve got a nice egg substitute for your crepes recipe. Attempted this morning when we only had one egg left, and I needed one more.
I’m Grateful For: Being Vaxxed + 14 days as of last Monday, so I am now officially Totes Vaxxed. Made going to the zoo yesterday a bit less stressful, because despite the heat there were a good number of people. I’m also grateful that Cassidy is seemingly not bothered by having to wear masks in certain areas, and has never made a fuss about it.
I’m Dreaming Of: Finishing my Nathan Plays Silent Hill 2 series. I cracked the project files open for the first time in a long time, just recently.