This trip is not a ‘point A to point B’, a journey to be numbed by cocktails or in-flight movies, an interlude between stretches of reality. It’s a series of breaths: leaping, fearless, off sand dunes in expectation of a forgiving gravity; the cold shock of salt water on bare moonlit skin; the invitation of Hannah’s smile. We drift, ghostlike, through alien landscapes and lives without leaving footprints. The afterimages are seared into memory. They sustain me.
When I wake to the over-the-top spectacle of sunrise painting the Grand Canyon in shades of astonishing, I forget to think, What if I have to endure another eighty years of this? When Hannah spoon-feeds me soup on a windswept beach because I cannot raise my head, I find the strength to appreciate the color of her eyes and forgive my physical weakness.
I don’t know how this story ends. I’m no fortune teller. But all ends are the same anyway; that’s not the interesting part. Discrete arrivals exist only in airports. In real life, we have only the now, right till it blinks out, and the rest is all memory and bright-eyed amorphous potential. Sometimes that’s terrifying. Sometimes, it’s miraculous.