Emissaries of the Past

I suffer from the delusion that time does not exist, or that we’re (I mean all of us) caught in some elaborate flux undone through contact and kindness. In this way, we are always the person we thought we were in the past. Right now, I am learning to look people in the eye, to not over-stress or worry too much, to stay light on my figurative feet, to be more than a blue person in a world full of color. And for the most part this is true and accomplishable. And this bears out; I get better and I communicate with more ease and the elaborate scheme of aging and forgetting, forgetting who you are is pierced. Reminder comes in missives. Reminder comes in photographs. We are not our past, some camp proclaims, but I don’t believe this; we become our past. In Being and Time, Martin Heidegger says the past is not something we bring up from behind, but rather it is ahead of us, ahead of our being. In other words, the past is always a part of us. We can only recognize the past now, we do not recognize it then.
I’d forgotten I was such a happy child. Through a social network one of my oldest known friends, a friend of the family and former babysitter contacted me, sending an e-mail recounting the fact that as a child I was ebullient and that he’d always considered me to be his baby brother. I do remember him, a few snapshots in my mind, but I do not remember being so happy. But I can imagine. For me everything was illuminated and magical, not at all the sham of delusions and suffering. And then another e-mail came from the same social network site. This one from a school classmate. I had gone to elementary school with him since we both lived in the same neighborhood, the north end it was called — a blue collar borough filled. In the e-mail he said I looked nothing like that north end boy. And he found it hard to imagine, but was not surprised, to see that I’d gotten my PhD. He worries that I’ll talk down to the lower classes now. I want to reply that I am a penniless writer who is just trying to have a life. A third emissaries of the past arrived this week. I’d reached out to her; she very busy with her art and she seems to be having fun. I want to be busy, I want to be having fun. She says she remembers me — it’s been about eight years — and remember that what I wrote was unusual.
And this morning, I saw a picture of my grade four class. I’m in the back row. Blonde hair, what looks like a silk shirt and a pretty darn happy smile on my face. Everyone around me in the picture is a shimmering archetype, an emissary; including that young boy in the back row. And it all comes, not back, but comes welling up from the pit of my stomach to my chest. This is now and that is me. And we are undone through contact.
But mostly kindness.
We are undone by kindness.