Sunday, April 26, 2009

Twenty Thousand

Twenty thousand trumpets sounded, and in the background you could hear the syncopated marching steps of the infantry. As they passed us by we told each other that some day we would be wearing their bright uniforms, with the pressed creases and impressive badges. My father gave me his old war helmet and I laughed as it fell over my eyes.

Twenty thousand years from now they'll find our bones, fossilized in the ground, right next to the petroleum. A man in green pants will fill his automobile with the remains of our families and friends. You and I will dance the slow waltz of the earth. Our coffins will decay, but we'll still find each other beneath the soil.

Twenty thousand seconds have passed since I held you last, and the time drips slowly by. You might wonder at my famous impatience. I will never be satisfied. I am a man on the edge of reason, even at my most reasonable moments. You can calmly talk to me and stroke my hair all you want, but I will remain hot-headed and romantic, just like the stag that charges into the headlights of trucks on the highway. I will leave myself ruined and wasted on the side of the road.

Twenty thousand is an odd number to choose for your destiny, but an old gypsy whispered it to me in a tent at the state fair. In the darkness of that August afternoon I believed everything she had to say. The next week I watched in wonder as her predictions came true, one by one, and now I have no doubts about the future.

Twenty thousand, twenty thousand, twenty thousand, twenty thousand. I look into the Aleph, and watch my obsession with the Zahir, but everything blends together. I feel the universe pull me into a wider reality twenty thousand times, and everything spirals outward towards the center.

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