The mind was dreaming. The world was its dream.―Jorge Luis Borges
You were born 1st of April 1974; from then on you would have no real choice. You would have fair hair. Before anything else you would be photographed holding a cigarette. And you would use your left hand. Before anything else. Then you would utter your first word. Not you nor anyone else can specifically remember what that was. You would be baptized. You would hate your name, until you discovered you actually liked it. You would invent stories to avoid being sent to nursery—your mother would nod in conscent to each one. You would play alongside other children. But play with none of them. You would make your mother proud for never sullying your clothes—drive your friends’ mothers mad for that same reason. You would be the first one in your class to learn how to read and write. You would be the last one to learn how to kiss. Your parents would give you a sibling. You would chew on pencils and books to get even.
Eventually you would enter the teens. You would go abruptly from Tin-Tin to Dostoevski. And straight back to Asterix. You would burst into tears twice: out of joy when your parents would get you a tortoise; out of fear, wetting your bed whilst dreaming of death—a fear embedded in your R.E.M. sequences ever since. You would grow four iches in one summer, a fact you would later attribute to unconditional love—later still to unidentifiable lust. That summer you would read Moby Dick for the first time, listen to the Led Zeppelin for the first time, kiss for the first time, not say goodbye for the first time—all out of ignorance, not choice.
You would graduate from high-school without remembering a thing from it. The same would apply to sex. To living by yourself, cooking for yourself, getting drunk or not getting drunk. To understanding or not understanding the world around you. You would become obsessed with finishing In Search of Lost Time, deciphering Finnegans Wake, liking The crying of Lot 49 and Gravity’s Rainbow. You would try to read the newspaper every morning as a tribute to your father’s addiction. You would have people over for dinners to honour your mother’s guilt. You would denounce God in response to your grandpa’s zeal, embrace jazz to celebrate your grandma’s latent insanity. You would choose to go to Medical School to be forgiven for all of the above—in the end you would become a science teacher at your old high-school.
You would try in vain to play Domeniconi's Koyunbaba on the guitar. You would fall in love. And you would fall out of love. Again and again and again—rarely ever would you tell the other person either of the two. You would walk in and out of people’s lives. People would walk in and out of yours. You would stand back and watch. By accident you would discover theatre: Beckett, Eurepides, Pinter, Sophocles, and the list goes on—you would later discover it was her long dresses that you enjoyed most about theatre nights. You would see your grandpa die cursing God. You would see your grandma die all-muted by insanity. You would attend none of their funerals. Instead you would make it a habit of visiting their graves twice a month.
Soon enough you would get married. And you would have a child. And a second one. And a third one—good thing is you would remember all of their names. You would have a mistress—bad thing is you would never forget hers. Nor her smell. You would read Oliver Jeffers’ stories to your children, Neruda’s sonets to your mistress. Your parents’ house would burn to the ground—so would all of your jazz LPs and comic books. You would fall in love with Chopin, then Schumann, then Scriabin, then silence—in the order she perscribed. You would read and re-read Kafka and Pessoa. You would get a tattoo. You would get cancer. You would get chemotherapy, a bald head, weak limbs, transparent skin. You would blame your genes. You would ask your older son—who had your father’s name, your mother’s posture, your grandpa’s eyes—to read to you every night. At times he would do so, not without critisizing how ‘boring’ a read Cormac McCarthy and Richard Ford were though. You would avoid people. You would get another tattoo. And the same recurrent dreams. You would measure time in days put behind you. You would measure love in words not spoken; agony in touches not exchanged.
When the doctors would reassure you ‘all are well behind you now’, you would grow more worried. You would start writing your memoirs—until you would realize you either did not remember much or there wasn’t there much to remember in the first place. You would, however, pretend as if you were writing your memoirs and devote yourself to Cavafy’s poetry and Walter Benjamin’s essays. You would not sleep. You would watch a film every night, in an effort to cover, in no particular order, Antonioni, Kubrick, Fellini, Pazolini, Wong Kar-Wai, Tarkovsky, Ozu, Wenders, Lynch—you always found cinemas to be ‘such lonely places’. You would try to sail the Mediterrenean after reading the Odyssey. And fail. You would try to take up painting having spent a sleepless week on Gauguin’s Letters. And give up. You would try gardening touched by Sepulveda’s descriptions of Latin-American flora. And bore yourself. You would try nothing as if hypnotized by Tranströmer’s verses. And that would be that. From then on you would, every single day, try to remind yourself of the word now.
In the end, should such a thing exist, having given up on films, music, poetry, on prose or any sort of narration, you would post a long letter—addressed to noone, carrying no stamp—that would finish with the words ‘please send for me’.