in between

I’ve been wondering lately about the phrase “pocket of time”. It first came up in a book, and then in a conversation, and now I cannot seem to get it out of my head. I think it is like a splurge of minutes, days or years that seem to curve at a beginning and an end, without giving us much warning of when.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more pockets I’ve picked: an aloof moment of melancholy at the sight of a rain, a feeling of lightness throughout a good conversation, an arbitrary spot of inspiration. I’ve started picking the larger pockets, pinpointing where I moved and left, where I mentally gave and took back, where a hope grew and broke. And then, there are the more evident pockets of time: the best parts of my childhood, a rough patch in high school, the last months of college…

While I try to make sense of these moments, other pockets of time remain a mystery. A friend just got severely sick while another friend celebrated a job offer. Couples celebrated their anniversary while a sickening shooting took place. They’re overlapping pockets in my mind, though separate in life. I can try to make more sense of those, because I’m only a shadow of significance in them. But what about my own pockets of time that so confusingly overlap?

What do I say when I hold a gift on one hand and loss in the other? When a moment of nostalgia inadvertently lengthens its course? When life at this moment does not conform to what I’ve been told it should look like?

The more practice I get with picking these pockets of time, the more I want to extract the beginning traces so that I can better predict the end. If anything, maybe then I’ll be more prepared for disappointment, goodbyes, or whatever life decides to throw at me. But there are endings that I cannot understand, because they come too soon or not soon enough. And then there are beginnings which I wish for but of which I see no pocket, and beginnings to which I hope I won’t see an end. I guess that’s the confusing part. Though I try, I cannot contain or define these pockets of time. I cannot fully understand what is happening now and I cannot fully predict what will happen in the future. I can try to catch every beginning curve to prepare myself for an end, or I can learn to live and move and have my being– all in the in between.

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