n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
— The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows“
I know that you aren’t aware of this, but today, you passed by me on the motorway. I was just emerging from the service lane into the highway, when you whizzed by at breathtaking speed. I gave chase, but my old Jalopy was certainly no match to your pearl LaCrosse. So I hugged your wake, and tailed you till you disappeared far ahead. And for those precious minutes that I could still spot you ahead, I remained in Utopia.
Lucille, you left behind a portion of your essence on the motorway.
Perhaps it’s my imagination, but as long as I remained in that outermost lane, I could pick up your fragrance. It was a heady sensation – riding a Jojoba and Eucalyptus trail. Memories were unlocked; of idyllic meadows, of scenic nature trails… and of vast savannas. But at one time, a ChromaFlared roadster cut in ahead of me, and the scent abruptly gained some Tiare and bergamot notes. You used to wear these ones too. And once again, yet other memories flooded; of Samoan rainforests, of a great many lakeside walks… and of misty, sleepy skylines. I was enchanted. And I wondered whether I was turning into a synesthetic.
A few wistful wishes run across my mind then. Forgive me, Lucille, but my professional background rendered a rather bland dimension to the wishes. For instance, I imagined myself getting out of the jalopy, standing on the tarmac, and twirling round and round, until I robbed the earth a teeny tiny fraction of its rotational velocity, and extended the day by a single, precious millisecond. Doubtless, by the time I achieved this, my entire mind would be scrambled from all the twirling, but that extra millisecond would be a unique, original, and priceless gift from me to you. And as you experienced that extra millisecond, I would lie on that tarmac, oblivious to the world… having fried my mind completely. And I would smile, contended.
I imagined launching myself into a geostationary orbit, and acting as your personal sentinel from deep space. I would bear up with the freezing cold, the utter silence, and the vacuum of deep space, just to maintain a constant proximity between us. I would master celestial mechanics, and draw up intricate ephemerides of all asteroids. And whenever any asteroid broke free from the belt, and headed towards earth, I’d have you look into the skies, witness the shooting star, and make a wish for us. And upon the dusk of my days, I’d launch myself from orbit, descend towards earth, and turn myself into a shooting star in the earth’s atmosphere.
My mind explored the toil of time on your fragile beauty, Lucille. And I vowed, in my fantasy, to craft a space-ship for you, launch you into deep space, and activate a luminal-velocity space-drive. At this velocity, time for you would come to a standstill, and you would never grow old. Instead, you would transverse the hearts of galaxies, make acquaintances with quasars and pulsars, and skim along the event horizons of black holes. You would peer through the windows of the multiverse, tunnel through worm holes, and surf on cosmic gyres. Truly, you would become ageless, and your true spirit would emerge: the spirit of stellar dust… a heart after my own.
Yours forever enchanted,
N/B: For a related note, see Lucille 2: La gaudière