I receive an email that responds to an email sent two months ago, sent in response to an email sent two months before that. We don't need to apologize for guiding the world around ourselves but we always start our messages that way to say that we care and are courteous.
My world does revolve around me.
And your world revolves around you.
Apology em-dash, "it's been a whirlwind couple of months," the email says.
I empathize knowing it is the exact opening phrase I would have written myself by way of bridging the time that has lapsed as only adults seem capable of letting slip. The older we get the less of our lives a few weeks months years add up to. We've waited this long, we can wait some more. "Some" being subjective but first unknown, which is fine because we are on the same page about it, at least. "At least" being an inoperative measuring tool for locating an undefined value in a statement but assuming to be in agreement about it.
The fractions decrease as the clock ticks off incessantly. At least someone is keeping time. "Is keeping" being an inoperative act of suggestion that what is inevitably becoming past is being had in the present.
It is seductive how time is unable to stop reproducing. Its inability to stop coupling and conceiving and killing itself off is admirable, remarkable despite being so standard. Cliché. The ouroboros does not only eat its own end but births it right back into the grave, whether or not we are around to be winding the watch or setting the timezone or changing the clocks back, fall and spring. Even the birds know when to leave for the winter, the salmon swimming back to spawn.
But like a drum machine left on loop, or an alarm that won't silence, the idea of time always ticking two three four is a puncture through you and through me at the very thought, at any moment. At least.
Doesn't time just make you think of a hole-punch through paper?
If time is a fabric being stabbed with every clock's ticking, every gaping hole of passing, then each count two three four punches in to represent the punching out of what had existed in that very space in the first place, at least. It devolves from present to de-presented, is the past. An expiration marking the page now blitzed with negative.
And what falls through all those holes?
Imagine all those paper circles in the air swept up into the whirlwind of time passing by. Open your hands and catch but don't get cut.
I do not check but am very certain I have in fact used this very phrase, earlier, at another time in another thread of emails with this very same person.
A moment two three four gone. Punched out.
How comforting it is that we can count on clichés if we cannot count time. How humbling it is to be able to repeat ourselves.