You wake up to yellow & orange flashing & loud silent thuds & explosions, like a monstrous old camera shutter going off outside the window, the other side of the blackout blind, only somehow it’s inside your head (although it stops as soon as you close your eyes) & at first you think it’s maybe the circulation of the blood, but it’s far too arhythmic for that both in pulse & intensity of light, and though your legs are soaked in sweat your heart isn’t “pounding”, & you finally realise that what you’re seeing is the nightmare you were just having, translated into a blurred, simplistic, modulated flicker, & that the non-rhythm is the rhythm of narrative with the narrative taken out, & that if you fell back to sleep this minute, exhausted by all this meaningless noiseless cacaphony in the half-waking world in the dark, the nightmare would just pick up again where it left off. & despite the sheer silent assault of it as experienced in this novel way, would prove to be not even very nightmarish.
If a slow accumulation of time is necessary to completely separate you from an event or condition of the past, a single moment is often all that’s necessary to drag you forward and into the present. Suddenly, a time that still seemed close–almost revisitable, like an annex to now, so fresh in the memory–is re-sited forever. It is irreducibly past. Before that moment, it could still be touched in some way. It still seemed accessible: now it isn’t. Even the illusion of accessibility is over. The past is the past. This frees you to move forward, at least into the present. (Although if you aren’t careful–and you feel, for instance, “liberated” as opposed to liberated –it’s easy to mistake that movement for the beginning of a journey into the future you’ll never reach.) Perhaps because I can live in a vanished present for two or three years before something tugs me out of it, the whiplash attendant on this process–this fallacy of a sudden acceleration and a simultaneous catching up with yourself, as if you had moved ahead and left part of yourself behind–always both astonishes and delights me.