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0 All Time Has Passed Away And Left Me Here Alone

To avoid crying out, we sing our griefs softly.

To escape darkness, we close our eyes.

As the days and months pass, I am stifled beneath the bits and pieces of time and memory that settle thickly upon my body and penetrate the pulse of my consciousness. As if being devoured by a huge, pitiless rat, time withers away moment by moment and is lost. I can do nothing to stop it. Many have tried armor or flattery to dissuade it; I have built walls and closed windows tightly. I have adopted an attitude of denial. But nothing works. Only death, the tombstone over our graves, can stop it. There is no other way.

Several years ago, my mother used death to stay time's passage. I remember how she died, unable to breathe. Like a barbed steel needle, her final, cold, fearful cry stabbed cruelly into my ears, where it echoes constantly and forever, never to be withdrawn.

Not long before this, when he left my mother, my father destroyed almost entirely the deep feeling I had for him, and drove a rift between our minds. This was his way of denying time. He makes me think of the story about the man who planted a seed and then forgot about it. When he chanced upon it later on, it had become a thickly leaved flowering tree about to burst into blossom. But he had no idea what kind of seed it had grown from, what kind of tree it was, or what kind of flowers would emerge from its buds.

Time is created from the movement of my mind.

Now I live a life of isolation. This is good. I have no need for chatter anymore. I am weary of the confusing clamor of the city that invades every corner of my consciousness like the constant whine of a swirling cloud of invisible flies. People rant on without cease, as if speech were the only possible route, their only sustenance. They try countless stratagems to utilize it, to keep it as their constant companion. I myself have no such faith in this ceaseless clamor, but an individual is helpless. Since it is impossible for me to swat so many flies, all I can do is keep as far away from them as possible.

I live quietly in this old city in the apartment my mother left to me. The hallways are long and dark, but the apartment has windows everywhere.

Living alone has not made me any more uneasy. There was no special warmth when I was living with my parents. Things are fine now. For so many years, time seemed to be rushing by. But it was tired, wanted to slow down. It has stopped in my apartment. It has also stopped in my face. It seems that time is exhausted. It has come to rest in my face and does not move, so that my face looks the same as it did a number of years ago.

But my mind has already entered old age; everything has slowed down.

For example, I no longer argue with people, because I now know that ultimately there is no connection between argument and truth. It is nothing more than a matter of who for the moment holds the advantage; and "advantage" and "disadvantage," or who is winning, who losing, no longer holds any significance for me.

I will never again believe that the earth beneath our feet is a highway. I believe that it is nothing more than a huge, chaotic chessboard, and that the majority of people go where their feet take them. Any who insist on making rational choices should be prepared to accept the loneliness of going against the tide, to stand quiet and uncertain by the roadside looking on, their bodies bent into question marks, like old men who have suffered from rickets.

I love vegetables, and I'm practically a vegetarian, because I'm totally convinced that only a vegetarian diet can keep the spirit distinct from the flesh, and the eyes clear and beautiful.

I am fond of the plants on my balcony a large rubber tree, a tortoiseshell bamboo, and some perennial flowers. I don't have to go to public parks with all their noise and clamor to enjoy fresh foliage and pure air.

Acknowledgments | A Private Life | c