The past is ahead of us

The days are grey, but slowly growing longer. He wishes he had the courage to start editing the manuscripts that lay dormant on his hard drive. Procrastination? Maybe, but more likely he is afraid of what he might discover, under layers of words, some truth he may have missed at the time of writing. His elusive friend has not been around for a while: he misses her. He knows she will be back though, she’s as keen on their talks-and-walks as he is. He wants to go back, year by year, explores, look at the places, the faces, the feelings he had then. Of course it’s like fool’s gold: he cannot go back in time, those faces, those places have gone, forever, he’s on his own, almost, these ghosts are in his imagination. 

Well, perhaps. He’s written quite a lot of stuff, over the years. He even has pictures. Not just in his mind. He blames himself too; for the coward he was, for his stupidity, for his attitude to others, to his parents, his brother, his girlfriends… He’s not rational about this, knows it, but nothing would stop him. He should have done this, not that, what a fool he was. He was, like most human beings. As winter morphs into spring he sees some light: he goes back to manual work in the garden, resumes some serious training, convict conditioning this is called, for the gyms are still closed.

He knows he has to be patient; morning after morning he waits for some hint, a sign that he’s closer, that finally he will understand, where his real place is – he suspects that is where he is now – but also, what to do with all these characters, alive and dead, some in-between. Long ago he read, or did he write? About a girl who finds shelter in a parallel universe, after her murder. How confusing can this be? Deep down he has faith, simply has not yet learned to accept, wishes he was as creative, smart, young as once he may have been, he hopes. There are times when he almost believes that his best work is still in front of him. 

Photography: Rimel Neffati

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