Time It Was

Me, 1972, in Egypt

5am, wakeup time.

In an hour or two, my German Shep pup duties shall resume.  For this, I need to fortify my body.

I need a shot.

And so I prepare the needle, and puncture the vial, and then stick the needle in my thigh.

The solution enters my body.

Muscles that have faded with age rejuvenate, somewhat.

The pot belly, the moobs that come when you are 68 and eat too much ice cream… these may go away in time.

But I shall never look as I did then — arrogantly thin, sitting in front of my family’s chalet by the Mediterranean sea.

That guy had the whole world in front of him, and every possible advantage.

The guy who is looking at you appraisingly, with the confident arrogance of youth.

No matter how many miles I walk with Miss G, my little German sheppie, he is never coming back.

You adjust.

If you have an ability to write, you can try to put down on paper that which you never realized you were going through as a young man.

You can invent new worlds to make sense of and replace the old ones.

Displacement, wrenching departures, dislocated families, destroyed lives… that was your world then, and that is the world many others experience today.

You survived, barely, but now you’re in a state of permanent shock, traumatized, wondering what exactly it is that happened.

This has lasted decades.

You may go to your grave never quite knowing the answer.

You tried going to all the dive bars but no one cared about your pathetic story. Everyone was in the same boat.

Over time, something can change — perhaps you get a dog or get married or have kids or get a really good job or have that mezcal-inspired Sufic insight that you can never quite remember later  — when finally you begin to recall in astonishing clarity what it was that was playing at the Rialto on Rue Soliman Pasha at the time — just like in all those third-rate Netflix movies where the hero suffers some traumatic brain injury and can’t remember anything at first.

That movie that has played in your head since forever.

It’s now coming to an unsuitable end — after all, you’re standing at the terminal, waiting for the ferry to arrive.

Soon, the final credits will start rolling, but you are no longer anxious.

You have only one question left… who directed this epic disaster?


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