The clocks are sometimes tricky, always cruel. Sometimes they’re fakirs, whispering about time, how much has passed, how much of it is running out, and you start to believe the voices in your head until it’s all you hear. And then you succumb to the fiction and live your life trapped by voices that convince you that as time passes the magic fades. All the beauty of roots breaking ground, of water getting caught in our eye, of tumbling in the green with the one you love, of the we’ll never know another day such as this, of watching pink skies settle into the ocean, of tickling feet, of singing from the rafters — all of this, we’re told, suddenly dulls as we grow older. It loses its luster, becomes grey and cold, a photograph worth shredding. But I’m telling you that it isn’t. Whether you’re five, thirty-five, fifty-give, one hundred and five, there is magic in the world, still. You just have to open your eyes to it. You have to find it.
Two years ago I stood in front of the Indian Ocean and took this photograph. Back then I was obsessed with doing the maths. How much time I spent grieving a mother who was my first love and hurt, how much time I lost trying to ruin everything it was that I had, and so much time, so much of it, trying to figure out who that woman was — that woman who kept staring back from looking glasses each and every day. I was a house of regret, and all the while I was fixated on the losses that had been mounting, I didn’t open my heart to all that I had gained. In front of ticker tape of blue, grey sand and billowing trees, I could only see the magic, partially. All because I was determined to keep some of the dark in the kaleidoscope that was my heart, my life.
Funny how time sorts things. Undoes it, rips it apart, builds anew.
Today I found myself hugging my friend, telling her that she deserved this great happiness, this great life after so many years of loss and heartbreak. You deserve every moment of your happiness, all of it, I said. I thought it was a common thing to say, until I looked at my friend who blotted her eyes with tissues. Here was my friend, weeping with joy, and I was present to witness it. This is magic and a few simple words, unbeknownst to me, created it.
And I found myself coming back to this photograph and I can finally see it. Thirty-seven years later and I can see it as if I were newly born.
Two months ago I resigned from my job, and I don’t know what’s ahead of me, But I know this — I can finally see.