I’ve learned throughout my life that there are certain types of moments one can experience. Unfortunately, for someone such as myself who has a propensity to borrow trouble from the future (as my dear great gramma Vetter used to say) sometimes I’m not always aware of them.
One of these is that proverbial life-changing event. I find that this one is always much easier to spot in retrospect, as these moments are usually subtle and not always particularly noticeable at the time. Especially when one is caught in maelstrom of current events. However, when I look back at my life, I can see certain events which, though they didn’t seem so at the time, marked a decisive shift in my life, a Rubicon if you will, regardless of the manner in which the change occurred.
I have to admit, that I have a lot “missing moments” in my years of hazy, drug-induced living. Some of them are only clear to me in the retrospect, as I’ve described above. Memories of some moments swim into my consciousness several years after the fact and, I’m certain, some are gone forever. That’s the price one pays. That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not sorry. I am of the opinion that, if the moment was valuable enough for remembrance, then it should have been part of the Darwinian process of brain cell retention.
My favorite kind of moment, by far, is what I like to call the Hemingway moment. These are those times which, for me, I feel most alive and I am, truly, wholly in the moment. Times when the past and future cease to exist. At the absolute best of these times, I can sense a clarity of knowing, whether it be a life-changing event or not, that this moment is something that will be one of those that stays with me for the rest of my life.
An example of this is October 15, 2006 at 7:07 a.m. I was in bed, having sex with my girlfriend (Girl 2006.2 for those of you keeping score). I was propped up on my arms, she had her legs around me.
Then, it happened.
The earth started shaking. It was a minor earthquake. I thought that it was just one of the little 4 pointers that we always get out here. The bed shook for a few seconds, and I looked into her eyes and said “Did the Earth move for you, too?” And she looked at me with almost childlike fascination and nodded her head and smiled.
Then she pinched my nipple really hard and we returned to the business at hand.
But, it wasn’t just a little 4 pointer after all. A few seconds later the earth really started going when the 6.7 quake hit. My bookshelves started disgorging their contents and my closet shelves did the same. The bed started skidding across the floor. Contrary to all wisdom about going outside or getting into a door frame, we stayed right where we were, engaged in the moment until its climax.
The earthquake eventually ended, too.
Later, as we were preparing breakfast, I said to her, referring to our budding relationship, “Baby, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ll remember you forever.”
The earthquake and the girl are both long gone at this point. The last thing that I ever said to her was “Had I known then what I know now, I’d still do it all over again.”
I meant every word. And while, in the months following her departure from my life, the memories of the scent of her perfume and the touch of her skin on mine sporadically make me wish that she was still around, I remember my Hemingway moment and I realize that, even if the price is a couple of months filled with intermittent pangs of loss, I know with absolute certainty that it is moments like this that make life worth living.
Still, I wish I would have tied her to the bed one more time before she slipped away.