Think about it. Future is just an abstraction that’s more accurately described as hope and expectation. The present is instantaneous, a fraction of a moment that slips into history before it is realized. So only the past remains, flickering in our heads as — what else could life be? A memory.
But maybe that doesn’t sound right. Maybe I need sort out these pieces of the past, so let me start over.
It all began with Terra — 28, single, living her life, as she put it, “in the 22nd grade.” After a while, she said, most people just stop counting. But she never did. She measured her life with coffee spoons, to paraphrase something she read once in high school but had since forgotten its origin. Day after day, she scooped another heaping mound of freeze-dried powder into her coffeemaker and savored the mundane moments — the hot liquid oozing down her throat, the way the air at 4 a.m. tasted crisp, even in July. She lived in a basement apartment on the outskirts of Pineview, Utah, as white bread a town as they come. And that was her business — white bread. She was a baker, rising every morning to prepare steaming carbohydrates for the morning masses filing by on their daily commute to the city. She didn’t mind the work. She even enjoyed the hours, rising to a world still locked in sleep. Those stolen pieces of time were hers alone, and she found comfort in being the only conscious person to see the broken rays of sunrise as they slowly streamed across her flour-dusted floor.
But lately her life had developed this beat, this unceasing rhythm that synchronized her every movement. She couldn’t get it out of her head, that drum line, pounding, pulsing, percolating beneath her life until she could scarcely function without it. “Why don’t you go to Europe?” Jamie asked her one Saturday as the afternoon sun blazed into a grungy diner. Jamie was Terra’s “BFF” circa fifth grade, her foundation. Jamie and Terra regularly met at the Pork’N Pancake for coffee and pie. Sometimes they made big plans for the future. Sometimes they talked about time and the way life stood still. Mostly, they just wanted to stare at the graying interior of a restaurant that would never fall victim to remodeling, ever, and remember a time when this place seemed brighter, bigger and more exciting.