Concentric farce

—I wonder where he was when the first tremors shook him from his reverie or his sleep, the troubled dreams of an unknown man, where was he when that first tremor jarred him with a violent reality unlike anything he’d experienced before, where was he and how was he occupied when his city or rural plain began to crumble or flood, did he think the end was nigh, was he alone or with someone or by chance could he have been thinking of my mother, was he worried for her in that first instant of impending conclusion, did he miss her, did he think of her when the skies turned to black? Or was he like her, was he dead, was he lucky enough to have died before the quake, before my birth, sparing him the terrible days and weeks that followed, the months of repeat concussions deep in the planet, the famine and disease and absolute chaos, the radiation and unspeakable horror, was he already buried beneath the rubble of his past life and that was the reason my mother had been alone in that room of reflection when I was born into this world? And where are you, Jennifer, now that we’re old and haven’t affected the world in the slightest, this I believe, though everything I’ve experienced has shown me that belief is a logical loose end at best, and most likely a dead end, or at least the end of the believer. And where does the time go? It slips into the wrinkles of our skin, it consumes our cells and swallows our odor, it becomes the stories to remember us by. We become one word, Jennifer. We all become just one word or three words or five words to those we leave behind, five words to describe our lives to others or perhaps only to themselves, he was a writer or he was a sad man, she was wonderful or she was assiduous in her religion, she was sick, he will be mourned, that is all, this is all that’s left of us because time is cruel but history is even crueler, the passage of time is inevitable and soulless but with history at least there’s a chance our story will be told and our life will thereby be validated. But it never is. We’re reduced to memory in the hearts of a very select few people who, like the words fated to illustrate those memories, become fewer and fewer until there is nothing but what is occupied by other people and other lives soon to join the void themselves. If you’re reading this, Jennifer, be not mad or indignant when I tell you that life is nothing but a concentric farce, or at the very least it certainly appears that way—

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