“‘My heart’s hanging back and my brain is looking ahead and I don’t know where that leaves me. If it even leaves any of me.'”
“Every now and then,” he confessed “I wish that the past didn’t exist. That I’d emerge into now from the shadows, not caring where I came from. Because what’s the point of having this moment, living in the present, if I can’t stop reliving the past, you know?” He sought out her gaze, searching for understanding.
“I can’t—I can’t be in two places at once” he offered, tentatively.
“My heart’s hanging back and my brain is looking ahead and I don’t know where that leaves me. If it even leaves any of me.”
“Yeah, but look at it that way too,” she finally said “the past is a bridge to the present, and the present is a bridge to the future. If you didn’t have a past, you wouldn’t have a present you know? The past may have been terrible, but it brought you to here, to now, at least. If nothing else, it did this much. It doesn’t make the situation any better, the past is still like an invasive plant species, crawling onto the present, but…”
“—but it gives perspective?”
“But it gives perspective.” she smiled, “It draws out the bitterness a bit, replaces it with thanks.”
“I’m scared sometimes that I’ll never find out. That I’ll always feel this gaping hole and never be able to fill it. And my only merit would be to have existed as long as I would have—a sort of congratulations on not dying. “
“I feel like the last of my species sometimes. Like a human-shaped dinosaur. ” she laughed grimly.
“As though I were existing by accident, as if I were a thing of the past already. An absurdity, an anachronism. Something someone would point to to say it did not belong. Or something to stick in an exhibit in a museum for people to ooh and aah at. Except that I would be an object with no discernible history. As if my history was buried with me, and it got left behind when I was unearthed, reborn into the world. I’m scared sometimes that I’ll never find out. That I’ll always feel this gaping hole and never be able to fill it. And my only merit would be to have existed as long as I would have—a sort of congratulations on not dying.
“No one understands, really. The only ones who can would be others like me. Other people from the past. Only they would understand the pain of a thousand years of living without remembering any of it. But I don’t fool myself into thinking they would be the answer. They might understand, but they have their own pains to tend to. Their own callings to answer to. No, what we need are people with a love of old things. People who do not mind if you are a bit broken, because they understand that it’s pretty amazing that you’re here at all.”