My child died, and I glimpsed the unknowable universe. For just a moment, it all flashed before me, the true nature of time. We are here for just a blink. Though I would like to think it otherwise, our lives are so terribly brief that the cosmos doesn’t even register them. To the universe, I have been born, lived, and died already. My life is instantaneous.
This urge to write – to tell this story – burns inside of me. Why? We are not immortal. None of us. The closest we get to immortality is that others remember us when we are gone. Plato was just a man. And yet, we all know of him. I am no Plato. But I do have a story that burns inside of me. It is the story of my son and my love for him. Though he rots in the ground, I can give him life again. When others know his name and his face, he yet lives.
I trace the veins in my hands, so prominent. Filled with blood – to my heart and back again, saturated with oxygen and then deprived of oxygen – all in a great circle. Sometimes the urge, so great, to cut them open and watch the blood spill onto the floor, seeping in, staining the gleaming hardwood – patterns of sorrow etched there forever.
The heart, so scientific. Divided into atria and ventricles, the great vessels – the carotid, jugular, brachicephalic trunk. And yet, the seat of all feeling. This big dumb muscle responsible for all of the agony in my body.
Since I won’t slice my veins open, won’t allow the blood to seep out, depriving that heart muscle of its needed fluid, ultimately killing the home of my emotions, I must find another way to root out the pain. If the heart cannot die, there must be some other way. So I write.