THE PAIN AND I
I: Come, I am telling you, come.
Pain: But what’s wrong with you? You have given so many battles to get rid of me?
I: Yes, but there were things in life that I ignored.
Pain: And each time you were accusing me that I kept covering your life more and more, each time with a different face, you used to say.
I: Yes, because for me the pain for a life that has ended is different from that for a storm that destroyed the crop.
Pain: And at night you used to lie next to me, fighting against sleep.
I: Drowning in an avalanche of tears and crying: “Why, why is all this disaster happening to me?”
Pain: And I felt suddenly so much power inside you, that I was forced to leave. What could have brought this tragic change and you calling me now to come back?
I: Life. The very same life that had taught me how to overcome you, taught me, later, that you are not the worst thing that could happen to me.
Pain: I have never heard a human being saying such a thing.
I: I don’t know, maybe it is the historical period we are going through, but I woke up one morning and I felt I was choking. Who could be holding me by the neck?
Pain: Imagination is not part of my job.
I: I had a feeling of a threatening uncertainty. Suddenly, I didn’t know the real conditions of my life, what my friends really meant, and if my enemies were really my enemies. Yes, that’s it. The usually hesitant uncertainty had become aggressive for me.
Pain: Since you have realized it, why don’t you fight against it, as you
I: Because this time I have no weapons. I know how to fight a concrete enemy. Even defeat I know how to handle. But this poisoned atmosphere … No, I can’t bear it.
Pain: Which means that you prefer pain to anguish.
Pain: You have convinced me. I am coming …
I: Aoutch! I am in pain! Aoutch!
TIME AND I
Time: But why are you seized by such fear? I am time, I am not death.
I: It is not exactly fear. I wish it were. It is something much more complex, more aggressive, I would say.
Time: And why should you feel aggressive toward time? Isn’t it me who fulfills your dreams? The promises you give to yourself that you will succeed within my precise limits? There are, of course, endless difficulties, but don’t forget that without me there would be no life … You wouldn’t be alive.
I: I don’t know if there would be any life without you. I wonder, though, how all these myths about eternity, immortality were created … Anyway, I know one thing: that if you didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have this perpetual—painful sometimes—sense that I am alive.
Time: But life is not only me. There is breath, heart, love, birth, and a lot more …
I: Yes, of course. But all the rest is as if it were functioning automatically. Whereas you, you are a reality that I never cease to feel both with my mind and with my senses. I feel you, stretching over my flesh, which never stops counting: one minute, one hour, one day … which makes me wonder constantly: How much am I going to last? How much time have I left?
Time: Time left for what? Since you are the active one, you are responsible for it, you are on time or not.
I: Time, you combine all the opposites. You are an abstract idea and at the same time a concrete reality. You are the necessary element for one to realize the dreams of his life and at the same time you carry disaster and death. But because you are my everydayness, I feel that I can face you, since you are my reality.
Time: How can you be facing me? Nobody has ever seen me. It is only the human beings that decided to count me.
I: Yes, but from this counting depends the success or the failure of their lives. “Died at the age of 84.” The survivors, his relatives, analyze his history, if he had used his time clearly, or missed the moments that could have made him happy. And when the deceased one was young, the survivors lament not only for the loss of that particular person, but also the loss of a future renewal of a human being.
Time: Yes, but in spite of this historical evaluation, I remain uncontrollable. Neither my arrival nor my departure is ever announced.
I: But we don’t need any announcement. We all know that your arrival is our birth and your departure our death. But let me ask you, now that I have you in front of me—at least that is how I feel—what are my time limits, how much time have I left?
Time: I don’t know.
I: What? How is it possible? If you don’t know, who does?
Time: If you ask a river that flows, the name of the sea where it will end up, does it know what to answer? No, it does not.