On a quiet night I decide to drive up to Tujunga and stop by Eric’s former house. Eric moved over to Canoga Park for a job, leaving the house to Matthew, Terri* and some others.
When I pull up, it’s still early, but looks empty. Nobody is home except for Terri. The living room is nearly bare. Gone are all the bookshelves filled with books and trinkets from the bookstore. In their place stands a lonely couch along the wall facing opposite the door. Near me is a lazy boy chair facing towards one painting of Terri’s. The only thing adorning the walls other than the paint. It’s the first time I’ve seen it since all the moving. Humble, spartan, and a big contrast.
“Well, hi Robison! I didn’t expect you.” Terri greets me warmly, in her own odd proper way.
“Hi Northy. I was in the neighborhood. Figured, why not, I’ll stop by. See what you’ve done to the place.” I grin because we both know I don’t live anywhere close to here.
Terri sits on the couch and I sit across from her on the lazy boy; slowly rocking and looking around.
“So, what’s up? It’s very nice to see you. You’re looking good.” She compliments me.
I chuckle. She’s always so very polite. We banter for awhile. I ask about the others but everyone is gone. She has the house to herself. In the back of mind is the real reason for my restlessness. The reason for my drive. The legs can pace. The fingers can tap. But where is the release for a restless mind? One that is circling a puzzle, moving into the depths of a labyrinth, but can’t ever find the center.
“What’s up with time? Do you think?” I break the conversation.
It’s not the first time we’ve talked about it. We’ve had this recurring discussion off and on for a month or two.
Terri pauses and sits up straighter. The question broke her out of social autopilot. She’s silent for a few moments. I start to become more aware of my body following the shape of the chair. It presses against my calves, all the way up my legs, unlike a normal chair where your legs would float without contact. It makes me more aware of my weight.
“Well… I’ve been thinking about it lately…” She pauses. Suddenly, she seems very prim and proper. The pause becomes very pronounced. It’s not taking very long, but it feels longer. And it feels sharper.
She explains her efforts to wrap her mind around it. How she tries to understand what it is and how you can see what it does but you can’t touch time itself. But you know it’s there.
How do you push against time? How can you touch it? During meditation it seems possible. It becomes more ‘real’.
Still listening to her, my own thoughts begin to unwind. It’s good to hear someone else walk through the maze. It gives my mind more liberty. The pressure is off. There’s something about the quality of time that the more you start trying to be aware of it… the more elusive it becomes.
You have to watch it without watching. It’s a frustrating trick. Time sits in the background; you know what it is, and it just functions and performs invisibly. When you first become aware of it, it starts to become more tangible. You start to notice the texture of time a little bit more. It’s like discussing gravity, and suddenly you become aware of all the gravities effects. You start to feel a little bit heavier because you’re more aware of it.
“It’s the film strip -” Terri brings up a moment in a conversation we had with Eric recently. He explained that everything that has happened, is still happening.