I’ve been moving for a while now. Continuously, in fact. Loping through existence with cautious optimism, never quite certain of the destination but strung along by the prospect of fulfilment, relief, conclusion. Perhaps we are predestined to believe we are deserving of something more, dying stars blistering into a final awe-inspiring explosion of the cosmos. Ashes to ashes or whatnot. I wish I could say something whimsical and impassioned moves me, like romance, or puppies, or flowers. But that would be insincere. Objectively, it is merely this vessel that moves me, this fleshy and pleasant coincidence of time and fate and muscle and hair.
Objectively, it is merely this vessel that moves me, this fleshy and pleasant coincidence of time and fate and muscle and hair.
The compulsion to both be moved by and simultaneously move towards betterment was first consciously felt before I could even spell the damn word. I was no older than one, hauling my chubby, strengthless body up the family couch until I could feel the pressure of my own weight against the hardwood floor. Then suddenly an impulse to move, to progress, to propel. I pushed myself against gravity and stood for the first time, fat little feet planted on the ground.
My mother said it took me long enough - you were a lazy baby. I thought you’d crawl forever. Since then, those two feet have not stopped moving. Did I know then that once I stood, I would soon walk, and then jump-rope in the playground or run relay? Was I aware that these feet would carry me into the arms of my first love, into my first lecture theatre, apprehensively scuffle under desk-chairs as I tried to recall the names of new faces and friends? Down the aisle of a church? Did I know these feet, these legs, this body, would hurt? Could I be sure that pain would subside, that I was stronger than my circumstance?
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Surely not. I was provoked only by the hope that I would venture so far, moved only by the notion I deserved more. My life was good. I rolled like a stone through this blink of existentialism, presumptively positive, grateful for its tiny discrepancies that came in the form of chocolate cheesecake and mystery novels. I learned to love the little things and expect only a better tomorrow, despite of the day.
The body is only a temporary thing. I know this now, as I struggle up the stairs to bed. It is a cool night. I am swathed under a blanket stitched by my daughter’s daughter, who has a blossoming interest in knitting. I am surrounded by the framed faces of those I love- the bones of my bones, the vessels of my vessel- a smiling patchwork of all I have achieved.
I am surrounded by the framed faces of those I love- the bones of my bones, the vessels of my vessel- a smiling patchwork of all I have achieved.
I call my son to say goodbye. He cries down the phone that this can’t be the end. There is no explosion, no disruption of the cosmos. There is just a warm wave of absolution, my life a distant, silent firework.
“Mum, say something. Are you still there?”
“I love you. Keep moving. Goodbye.”