prompt: wait, title: waltzing on pins in misc. flash fiction

  • Aug. 20, 2021, 12:45 p.m.
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  • Public

We always talk about how long we get to live but we so rarely talk about how long we’re going to be dead, a number so close to infinity that it’s functionally indistinguishable from the infinite itself. Whether we live one day or a hundred-and-forty years, we’ll be dead for certainly at least many billions, maybe trillions. When our universe dies its death by either fire or ice, whether it crunches back together to a needle’s head or drifts from itself until nothing can cohere into one lepton or quark, we’ll be dead past that. We’ll be dead for as close to forever as anything could ever be. Up against that heaping swath of never, any bucketful of spins is as small as any other.

And if I were an edgy teenager, I guess I’d say that means that nothing could have any meaning but the thing is, it just makes the sliver that we get, that half-slice of an amoeba’s eyelash worth of time, it makes it so much more important. So much more precious. The only word that could ever suffice is a word that I hate throwing around lightly, but it’s true, it makes it holy. The wee twirl we get upon this stage between that endless dark before and after us, that interval is holy.

The difference between infinity and infinity-minus-one is so pinprick you couldn’t see it with an electron microscope and yet that difference encapsulates everything you or I could ever possibly experience. To the gods, were this entire dance a moving picture, we’d live and die in the spaces between the frames their eyes ignore to create the illusion of still celluloid blurring into motion.

We are so beneath the notice of the constellations, though, such ephemera, so much like passing floaters in the sclera that in our little invisible instants, we have the obscurity to create goddamn wonders. In gaps smaller than a micron’s micron, we forged cities, we built monuments, we are even able to weave the transcendent bonds of love. If that lasted long enough for gods to witness, they would surely strike us all down in their jealous of our miracles, but our beauty flits between the cosmic cracks, free will unnoticed by the ancient sky, a secret heist, our most perfect crime.

We have the ability, in our obscurity, to best the weavers of grand fates and the machinations of the universal clockwork by hiding in our little insignificant corners and crafting beauty the stars could never fathom, in compassion, in understanding, in empathy, in the chaotic poetry of love.

If they ever managed to catch us in the act, we would be gone without a trace before the mystic thunder spirits could even complete the motions of a double take. Our tragic abridgement as the greatest get-out-of-jail-free card in all the games of all tomorrow’s histories. So go out there and make your loves and wonders in the half-second that you can. There’s no time to wait.

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