Week 394 // The Seat of Your Soul

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Smile at the camera
Say hello to your future self
Say so long to this moment in time
It was fun while it lasted
Say hello to your future self

In a hundred years or so
When our ashes are floating to the ground
In a hundred thousand years or so
When all the data is destroyed
And the dust of us is blowing all around

Come on wave to the camera
Wave to the guests at your 90th birthday party
Flash a smile for your grandkids
Make it look good for the jaded youth
In your extended family

Smile at your lover
Watch your lover smiling at you
Watch your other
Perched on the seat of your soul
Feel your lover smiling at you

Come on wave to the camera
Wave to guests at your funeral
Flash a smile for your grandkids
Make it look good for the jaded youth
Dragged to your funeral

Notes
Rebecca and I spent the weekend at her 10-year reunion at Skidmore College, which was also my de facto 11-year reunion. Being back at school was marvelous and captivating. For all the fun and unrestrained joy the return held, there were somber moments too. I spent a long while sitting at a bench that has been installed to commemorate an old friend who was lost nearly 13 years ago. I sat there with a new friend who also knew my old friend, and we talked about impermanence and memory. My heart contorted as I reckoned with the sensation of my worst memories bubbling to the surface of my best memories. Thankfully my new friend was kind, wise, and helpful. No place is not complicated, I remembered.

Much of the weekend was spent intermittently passing around phones displaying old photographs of our former selves, and the way things used to be. Their smiles found us through the years, and I looked over my shoulder to realize they were smiling past us to our 20-year reunions, and 50-year reunions, and our anniversaries and birthday parties whether we live to see them or not, smiling straight past the present moment all the way to our funerals and even beyond, as long as the data can hold onto a coherent pattern. We marked the moment with new photographs, so we too could greet the future, just as we had done in the past. Like my old friend’s lovely bench, it was a bid for immortality and an admission of our impermanence, but this time I wasn’t sad. I fell asleep holding Rebecca tightly.

~M.E.

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