This is not the future. This certainly is not the past. This is not about time. Time doesn’t exist. Time hasn’t existed since all this started. You would think this is the immediate moment after time stopped. But time never existed. Time has always been a toy invented by humans to be able to relate themselves to something.
Have you ever thought of that? What would you relate to if there were no time? Would you relate yourself to your achievements maybe; or to the number of memories that you have? What about if you have a really bad memory and you can’t memorise the best moment of your life?
What about if there is no time and you (just) are a soul wandering around trying to figure out for yourself what is your past, your future and when does present starts and when does it end?
What about normality? What would normality be, if there is no time? I’m just wandering, because there was a time when killing was a normal thing. And there was a time when slavery was as normal as cell phones were in another time? What about if time wouldn’t exist, what would be normal in that case?
She was waiting for a sign from God or something. She was waiting in this empty room, eating her nails, her fingers and her hands, since... since forever. She was a kid when she entered this room. She can remember precisely. She was ten. She and her sister were playing a game in the basement. One of those games where you have to hide and the other has to find you. She was wearing the same clothes as today, only her hands were small and the skin was white. Now she has no hands, she ate them in time. And her hair wasn’t gray. She used to have dark hair. She had dark hair when she entered the room. She still had dark hair when she realised there was no way out. She still had dark hair when she started to forget her sister’s looks, or if that, their game, was just a dream.
She tried being logical.
‘Where am I? How did I get in here? Let’s take it step by step. It was after lunch. Mother was doing something in the kitchen and she allowed us to play. We wanted to play outside but it was a rainy day. So my sister came up with this idea, to go in the basement, because there was plenty if room for us to play in there. Mother said we could do that, I remember her annoyed figure, she would have allowed us to play in a cemetery, just to let her do her things. If only I could remember her things... Oh, but I do remember her clothes. She was wearing black, a wonderful black silky dress and a hat. Now that I think of it, mother never used to wear a hat in the house. Maybe it was a special day. She wasn’t upset, no, just annoyed. And I don’t remember seeing my father that day. Now I can think that he was dead. Or maybe he just wasn’t at home.’
You had that feeling when you just look at your life and you think this is the end of it. And after two months you smile thinking what a foolish thought you had. Or when you were a teenager and you had interminable fights with your parents, trying to convince them that you love that person. But there was never love. This is what time does to feelings; it amplifies them, to make you believe you live something extraordinary. But you don’t. Nobody has a wonderful life. Nobody knows what wonderful is. Nobody really lives, because everybody is too keen on living. So maybe her father was dead that day, and nobody told her. Why should they? Is not like that would make your life better or worse... no. That would just bring up some strange anxious feelings, nothing else. Knowledge... Knowledge, why have it?
‘My sister put the light on in the basement and I can remember the smell... the smell of time standing still. I thought that if I would breathe I would inhale it all. HIDE AND SEEK – that was the name of the game, I’m sure of it because I remember. My sister told me I wasn’t, but there was no time left in the room. No spare time for me... Can I blame my sister, please, can I? I’m not angry because I have no idea what had happened but sometimes I wish I could just see the bad guy in this picture.’
When a child is killed in a car crash parents need justice to be done and the murderer to be punished. But time? How can you blame time or the lack of it? What about if you are the victim and you have no one to blame? How would that sort it?
She looked at her shoulders and then she looked at the empty space where her hands used to be. What is space if there is no time? Her hands used to be there in the past. And now there are not there anymore. She ate them. That does tell that there was a past. And her memories tell the same thing. So, will there be a future? She looked at her legs. She touched one leg with the other. Her legs existed then, in that time. Was that a sad thing?
‘If I will start eating my legs in the future and then my legs wouldn’t exist, would time pass? I guess it would! Would that make a difference to me or to anyone else?’
Then, out of nowhere, she heard a sound. Like an old woman choking with some dry cookie. She was so afraid to look back that she didn’t. She started looking at her right leg with hunger. Not that hunger that you would imagine, no, a hunger of knowledge.
‘Can I have a glass of water?’ the voice of the old woman said.
Was she there? Was she there all along and she never thought to turn? It couldn’t have been; she looked in every corner of this room, years ago, when she still had hoped she could escape time.
‘So, can I?’
She turned. It was no one there except her, the black and the time.
‘Stupid girl, you’re just going to let me die here, aren’t u?’
‘But I don’t see you...’
‘Of course you don’t! You would need a pair of eyes to do that, wouldn’t u?’
‘So you are here?’
‘Ever since... what?’
‘I had been here ever since you entered this bloody room. Now stop being a silly girl and bring me a glass of water!’
‘Hurry up; I don’t have all the time in the world.’
‘How do I do that?’
‘How do you do what?’
‘Bring you a glass of water...’
‘I have no idea. How did you do everything else in here?’
‘I know it’s dark and you can’t see but I have no hands, I couldn’t possibly bring you anything.’
‘Then you’re useless.’
Silence makes time stop. Silence makes time start again. Silence is time, in a world where time doesn’t exist.
‘Hey, are you still here? Well? Now I’m going crazy, I’ve started hearing voices. And it wasn’t even a voice I could remember. So it wasn’t a voice from my past. Maybe it was a voice from the future? That means there will be a voice. That’s great news! That’s first page news!