There is a moment, and all those who know it know it. The details vary. The moment in its essence does not.
Ice rimes over shadows, interlocking lines of darkness sealing frost pictures abstract at first, then ineluctably more concrete, inescapable, and solidly terrible. The sun above no longer floods the world with soft golden waves of light, flowing like warm syrup of knowingness; instead the light is planar, laminar, a cutting cascade of separate sheets. Movement chops, breaks, stutters, strobes.
Those who know it, know the moment when it comes, and their time tears into strips that cannot be rewoven.
It is the moment when the illusion stops. All of life is moments, flow only a precious conceit. There is a moment before, and a moment after. Between them lies the Gulf, uncrossable, impassible, ineluctable, final and dead.
Life is lost in the darkness of the Gulf. No warm thing can survive its bottomless depth, no light fill that aching gap. It cannot be looked upon.
The mind scurries away, the mind finds refuge in moments. The night your father died, and your heart screamed, and a warm hand touched yours in the midst of desolation. The dawn that you woke in a veil of soft hair across your face, sweat-damped arms about you like a ring of impossible hope. A day of surpassingly ordinary sunshine, of content in a garden you imagined you’d sown, redolent with herbs and flowers. A child, your child, in your arms, a glance between eyes that became a bar of life, more solid than flesh or bone. A life.
No more than moments, any of them. Isolated. Lost. Islands you may never return to, for now the door is closing, the instants cut like razors, the light falls in unforgiving sheets, and the door closes, closes in stop-motion, and your doom sits upon you, breathless you, lost in the moment, in the eternal suffocating clarity of the moment.
You wish you’d said goodbye, goodbye I love you.
But you didn’t.