In Time’s study, I sat looking at her from my armchair. I don’t even remember sitting down there. I was just walking through the woods, working to clear my head. And then I was facing Time. He was sitting under his lamp, bookshelves full behind her. Other than the illuminated book in his lap, it was dim, curtains mostly closed and the woods outside shielding the room from light.
I knew she knew all there was to know about me, but Time was still entirely indifferent to my circumstances. She counted today as irrelevant and probably tomorrow too–really, my whole life. However, I did not find his brashness harsh; I almost took comfort in his indifference that nearly curled his nose while she considered my futile plight.
“Pitiful,” I think I heard her mutter under his breath, but maybe he was just exhaling as he turned a page.
Time found my life meaningless, but, then I noticed, with the same looks of disdain, she held reverence. How he portrayed both of these I simply cannot know or say.
“I envy you,” Time spoke, to clarify the look I saw.
I understand Time’s words as much as I understand how he looked at me with both indignant indifference and reverence.
Time offered no explanation and I imagine did not care if we sat there forever.
“Envy me?” Of course I had to restate this with my disbelief added to the words. Time continued flipping through his empty notebook–I assume it held something I was simply not privy to.
“Yes. You, generally speaking. Humanity.” He did not stop flipping through her book. She also made no indication that she would talk again.
“Why?” I asked after she went through a few more pages, after a few more moments of what felt as though Time was struggling to remain here–her presence remaining tangible, but his soul seeming to disappear into her book itself.
“You experience what I never can.”
At this statement, Time finally stopped flipping through his book and regarded me. He seemed to grow weary the longer her eyes were not on the pages, but, she spoke with less monotony and indifference this time.
“I’m outside of this world. I’m here only as a study of sorts; I am continuously disconnected. I see your world and universe in one field– as you would view a two-dimensional piece of art. But here you are: experiencing a life just as tangible as mine, even if much simpler.”
The indifference returned as her explanation ended. Time began flipping through pages once more. Immersed in whatever the blank pages held, I left Time in his study and continued on my way. I walked out of the woods and arrived at a country road and my car.
I’m still here. Whichever way I look, painted yellow dashes stretch from horizon to horizon.
I’ll always be here. Deciding between right or left, backward or forward.
I know that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter: I’m one in seven billion; I’m unique like everybody else. I know that between right and left there is no substantiated correct direction. I know this in light of Time itself. I know of all the indifference, the cold, and the bitter in the majority. I know that everyone regards their state in life as their only god; selfishness absorbing every opportunity for love while disdain and jealousy consume.
I saw the reverence too.