…where something small changes everything. Where the tiniest act, the smallest space of time, the most inconsequential of decisions, changes a life. A split second separates the long-lost friends who either see or miss each other at an airport. And from that, a relationship does or does not develop, perhaps a lifetime partnership, perhaps even children. Human beings who might or might not have existed. Whole lives born out of the most fragile of happenstance.
And maybe that’s why our lives are beautiful; why they’re tragic. One perfect child can be born of an accidental encounter, and another lost to a split-second lapse in attention. If a motorist leans over to change a radio station at the same moment that it first occurs to a four-year-old that he can let go of his mother’s hand as easily as hang onto it, and that if he lets go he will be across the road first, before his mother, and that she will certainly laugh and say, “How fast you are, Johnny!” If the child does this, and the motorist does that, and if the world then changes forever and unbearably for everyone involved, then is that not life in its simplest form?
That so little matters so much and so much matters so little.
1. Night. Obsidian slides on the islands of Hawaii. My grandfather’s cancer spots and the x-ray of his deflated lungs. His coffin two months later. Ebony keys under hands that are too dark to be called anything but burnt charcoal crystals, and Beethoven playing softly three floors down in my uncle’s apartment building — O Freunde, niche diese toen, sodern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen und freundenvollere.
2. You. Your heart. Your mouth when you said you didn’t love me anymore.