“That the story is never true, but that the lie is indeed a child of silence.”
– Ursula K. LeGuin
There is a clamor of ancient lovers hiding under my hat. They sit or pace impatient, whittle bits of me with tiny knives also whittled from bits of me, and I let them. They each came to me, as lovers do, in the vast before—with small hands upturned, mouths quiet for a moment, as if to listen. They ride with me, now that all of that is over, into whatever immensity awaits, whatever next comes next, not noticing much, chatting with each other about the dark weather, stuttering in their time loops like mechanical dolls. Memories of a thing, fragments of a thing, they can hardly be called humans at all but they were when I loved them. I talk to them sometimes, on boring bus rides, or long nights in my apartment alone, and they entertain in the ways I expect them to: fondness for the past, a laugh, a brief flash of sensation far below, no small amount of fear, or stubborn love. They hush when I tell them to, or eventually. I cannot tell when they arrived, I cannot tell when I began, but I stumble forward towards everything to come, towards no end at all, and they come with me, weighing me down, lending enough heft that I leave behind a wake, which in the right light, to a broad mind, may look something like a story.