ONE AND A HALF | TAME TIME | JORDAN
“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me, like that, in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day...”
~ The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I feel like I know her. Jordan is twisting a piece of gum around her first finger. It’s recess and she’s talking to Connie about the little girl who keeps appearing in her dreams. Connie is sucking on a Golder’s butterscotch hard candy. She gets to keep a ziplock baggie of them in her desk and suck on them whenever she wants. She’s diabetic and can’t let her blood sugar get too low. Or something like that.
Connie is pale and quiet and no one much likes her. These are the girls Jordan gravitates to. The outcasts. The misfits. The unwanteds. Because she is one. That is clear to her now. By third grade she has taken up full residence on the outskirts of the social code.
I think it’s because of how long I stare at people.
“It makes no sense,” she says. Connie is playing with her candy wrapper, crinkling it and then straightening it over and over. “Why do I feel I know some girl who keeps appearing in my dreams?”
“Maybe she’s a long-lost sister or something.” Connie smoothes the wrapper out on her knee.
two | twins | jordan
“Mom, do I have a twin?” Jordan’s mom is chopping carrots for lentil soup. “I keep dreaming of this girl. Maybe she’s my long-lost twin.”
“You’re so dramatic, Jordan.” Her blade flies over the crisp vegetables, flaying them with swift, precise motions.
“Ow!” She lifts her hand and shakes it and Jordan sees perfectly round droplets of blood scatter in slow motion from the tip of her index finger. It’s as if time has slowed to a crawl and she knows that if she believed it enough she could step right out of her body and walk around this scene, which would be frozen in this exact position. She imagines moving slowly through the moment, peering closely at the drops of blood, ruby red and glistening in the evening sun.
Suddenly she remembers a dream. She is in a large, white building with high-gloss floors and walls, being chased by a woman. If only I can get to that bank of doors and through them, to the other hallway, she thinks in the dream, I’ll be safe. She bursts through the doors and into the strangest scene. Everyone is frozen, mid-activity. She slows down, hoping she hasn’t disturbed something, not sure what to expect. After a minute she realizes she’s the only one moving. She walks around the scene, staring at people frozen mid-step, mouths halfway open, mid-word, arms frozen mid-swing, hair frozen mid-sweep. And then she heard in her dream-mind, the way you just hear-know things in dreams, that she was an advanced spirit and had gained the right and the ability to pause Time—to play with Time, really— which is the same as saying she can move so quickly through it that it seems as if everyone else is frozen. She hears that she has gained this ability because she’s been given the task of creating synchronicities for people so they can be alerted to their Es path.
Pausing a scene to place the same thought in two minds, for instance.
“Mom, what the heck is a synchronicity?”
“So random, Jordan.” Her mom rolls her eyes. “Can you get me a Band-Aid, please?”
zero | time again | phiro-a + jacob
The room is very dark and only a few faces are lit. The clock’s. The man’s. And hers.
If you are going to land there safely, and manage safely, you must learn how to tell Time.
She wiggles and wriggles on a great, heavy, brown disk.
What’s this? she asks wearily. What am I sitting on?
Their dining room table.
You mean…my Earth Mom and Dad?
Yes, I mean them.
How can I be sitting on their table but also be here with you?
Because we are not in Time, the Voice resonates from within every molecule, as if Space Itself is speaking. It is a very kind and very insistent voice. Earth is a blueprint you will create with many other gamers, in an attempt to create awakeness. But of course, as you know, one always believes the game is real, when one is in it. So then, in that world, you will believe with all your heart that the large, heavy, brown disk is nothing but your parents’ dining room table, and that there is nothing else that can be certain to exist but Earth and the things that happen there when you are what they call “awake,” which is the height of irony, because no one is awake, they are all gaming. At least most of them are. When you enter that world, you will have forgotten all of this, and will be entirely unaware that everything you are doing down below, you are also doing up above, so that when you sit on their table and attempt to learn how to tell Time down there, you are also here with me, at the same moment. As below, so above. Although these are incorrect words, I have no others to use. Language should be used as infrequently as possible.
Wait. Why will I forget?
Because in re-learning, something new is added. And thus we receive the new into ourselves more completely, through you. As below, so above. Though again...incorrect.
Because you decided it is Time.
You will see.
Phiro-a’s face dissolves into darkness and there are only two faces lit up in the room. Her teacher lets her go out like a light for awhile and float in the darkness until she can gather enough heart to come back into existence and take up where she left off.
She drifts around like that through a few star systems—Orion and the Pleiades are her favorite—a pair of bright eyes in the dark sky, until she can feel her tiny heart wanting to beat again and a single flame wanting to spark itself awake in her third eye again, and so she says “Yes” and BAM, slams onto the heavy, brown disk.
And here, Jacob says, pointing to the clock and not missing a beat—because he can see in the dark—is eleven eleven.
She squints. I can’t see anything except weird lines.
Those are called Roman Numerals. You will learn to tell Time in the most obscure of ways, for if you tell Time this way, you will have mastery over it, and this time, you, The Big Voice strokes its beard, will need all the help you can get. Now, if I move the hands just so, what is the Time now? Jacob moves the heavy metal, curlicued and very long hand of the Great Clock of the Multiverse slowly to a new position. The other hand is very, very short, and follows slowly behind.
How come, she asks, swinging her legs off the large, heavy, brown disk that is also this odd thing called a dining room table, when you move the big hand, the little one moves, too, just not nearly as fast?
Because these are the Hands of the Multiverse.
Well, that doesn’t make sense.
Shush! You are attempting to avoid the hard lesson in front of you. I will only answer questions that have practical application from now on!
Jacob is changing. He is growing wider and his eyes are turning blue like the Earth’s waters and the clock is shrinking and then without warning everything disappears.
Jacob? she says into the nothing. She is floating, but it doesn’t even feel like floating.
It is likely that the fish have not yet discovered water.
Jacob, is that you?
Her hands feel heavy and metal and curlicued.
Did you turn me into the Multiversal Clock, Jacob? she asks, very concerned.
Her face feels glossy and hard, and very, very large. She reaches up with her heavy hands, careful not to poke her eyes out, to try and feel her face, but you can only feel if you are soft to the touch, and she has become hard. Everything about her is hard. It is hard to not be. It is hard to trust that not being is ok. And, like I said, her face and her hands are hard.
Jacob, please talk to me. She pleads into the darkness from her not-self.
It is more like a thought, though, since she doesn’t have a mouth anymore.
Don’t be so literal.
Jacob, is that you? she asks again.
Where is she? How long will she be floating like this, only half-existing? She is convinced Jacob is trying to teach her a lesson, but she can’t figure out what.
She can’t even do back somersaults. All the other times, when she was just eyes, she could at least do back somersaults. She tries, but there is no way. Her body has become so brittle and hard.
Oh my god, Jacob, she yells into the stunning and vast blackness. You turned me into an ADULT.