Time Passage

Bear no malice for the ones who leave you. The only regret they feel now is the regret of not being able to tell you how they really feel.

From Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. By Bert V. Royal.

———–

No matter what Time does, it never seems to fully please us.

We’re impatient with it. It never moves fast enough when we want it to. We want the stoplight to turn green already. Why won’t this lecture end. Is it lunchtime yet? When the hell is Sherlock returning. How many more days until the weekend? I wish my food would get here already. Is it 5 o’clock yet?

We want more of it, for those moments and experiences that we wish we could soak in for as long as we’d like. Admiring a burning sunset sink lazily over a lake. Receiving thunderous applause and praise from friends and family after an adrenaline-fueled performance. Watching last night’s lover sleep next to you, wrapped in the cool embrace of dawn.

And it surprises us when we turn around and realize how far it’s carried us along. Sometimes this makes us feel rather cross. You scoundrel, Time – when did you sneak up on us like that?

————

It’s not that I’ve forgotten the date – it’s that I’m realizing it’s taking less and less amount of time for the date to sneak up on me. I felt slightly embarrassed that I practically had to be reminded about Ashleigh’s death anniversary by means of a link sent to me, leading me to her memorial ad in the local online paper.

So maybe I’m starting to lose awareness of when February 3rd approaches. Maybe next year it’ll already be February 3rd and I’ll have just realized its significance to me. And maybe the year after that, or the next one, the day will pass and I’ll have forgotten its meaning all together.

But while I might lose track of the calendar, I do not forget Ashleigh. The gravity of her passing still affects me from time to time, in some way or another. Last spring, my university’s theatre department ran the premiere production of Hidden Manand in one scene the protagonist attempts suicide via hanging. Normally I don’t have issues suspending my disbelief when it comes to violence on stage, but watching this was something else entirely. I was immediately brought out of the performance. I felt ill. I actually buried my face in my hands because I just could not watch this suggested act of suicide, even though I still knew it’s staged, it’s a performance. It bothered me so much that I had to step outside the building during intermission to get some air.

After the show, I felt embarrassed and chided myself. Why do I still let what happened to Ashleigh bother me so much? Why did she even matter to begin with, if the only relationship I had with her was that she babysat me and my siblings when we were younger?

I guess, just by being somewhat prominent in our childhood, she was important. And while time passed and we no longer needed a babysitter, we still remembered her. And when we found out what she had done, it rightfully shocked us.

It was the first time I had to cope with an act of suicide by someone I knew. And by default of being a first, it’s not something I will easily forget.

I’m not entirely sure what I accomplish by writing about it every year. Part of me is skeptical, that maybe I’m trying to draw attention, that I’m just throwing a small pity-party.

But ultimately, I want to think I do it for myself. I want to remember Ashleigh, and trying to spend a little time each year writing a few words happens to be my preferred method.

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