Saturday, 10 September 2016


I’m a huge believer in stories. 

I was catching the train home from school the other day with one of my closest friends and we were waiting at the platform with our respective cold drinks — my soy iced latte; her mango smoothie. As the train approached from within the tunnel we noticed one carriage had completely blacked out, and so when the doors opened we (as people do) beelined for that carriage. It wasn’t long after we had settled down into a six-seater row when the train conductor burst into the carriage and asked everyone to relocate to the neighbouring carriage, so obviously (as people do) we all stood up and began to make our way to the next carriage — all but one man, whom we noticed was still sitting completely unperturbed, only visible from the glare of his phone screen that lit his face in the darkness of the carriage. Surely there wasn’t any danger about a carriage with malfunctioning lights? Surely it wouldn’t affect its function? So we stayed, too, and for a silent moment the entire carriage was empty and dark, save for my friend, the man, and I.

The train doors shut and the train began to move. And for a moment I was afraid, that perhaps there was more malfunction in the system than just lights, but that fear evaporated faster than it settled as we were launched into the tunnel, and flashing lights gushed past us like jet streams of water.

I said: I imagine time travel would look like this.

She said: We’re just past the 60s now. Oh, and there goes the 50s.

We laughed, and it echoed through the carriage, mingling with the subtle but sure throb of the friction of the rails beneath our feet.

I said: You know, we graduate in like, less than a week. I can’t experience these things anymore without feeling nostalgic. I can’t live in the moment. Like, we’re in a pitch black train carriage in a pitch black tunnel hurtling into more pitch black but I’m not here and all I can think about is that I’m going to miss catching the train home with you wearing the ugliest of olive uniforms and talking about everything and anything and nothing.

She said: But maybe we live through those. Maybe those are our present moments and past moments and future moments, living through memories that have happened and those that haven’t happened yet.

I said: I think we live through stories. The stories that we hear and the stories that we experience.

We’re hurtling through infinity and we’ll probably never end. A scientific report came out last week about an actual hormone anomaly that often occurs in teenage boys and makes them believe they’re invincible and that’s why they do stupid things like take drugs and alcohol and jump from high places and drive really fast. Stories don’t always have linear flows, I don’t think. Sometimes they jump from one story onto another and by the end that never comes you’re in a different country, age, body. People come and people go, like the seasons and the weather and everything else that time can get her itching fingers on, but stories and memories remain. They are the backbone, perhaps; the milestones in the raging rivers of time. They are the rocks that jut out from behind waterfalls, which the torrents inevitably beat down on and erode. And stories live through people. They fade when people stop remembering and they recede into the ebb of the waterfall until they’re invisible under its convulsing gravity.

We’re stretching out the fabric of time and examining the intricacies of its webbing and weaving. There are holes and imperfections, just like those in memories and stories and everything else we dream of and remember. And there’s no incessant need to patch them up or gloss clear nail polish over it to prevent further laddering. 

Sometimes it’s just better to leave them be.


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