Ι’m writing this at a café on the beach in Kamares. I’m writing this to pass the time until the boat arrives. My friend Malik is on a sun lounger ten metres away, reading, and we’re both suspended in that strange place-time between being here and going away. When leaving has become inevitable, the thing that happens next, and everything that happens in between is just passing the time.
I’m thinking: the excuses we use. That there’s nothing left to do, with so little time still left. That we cannot even start when it’s inevitable that we’ll have to stop. That any words we say will only be the words we say as our time runs out. And so we sit in silence, in stillness, passing the time in between as we wait for the end to come.
Everything ends, inevitably. Everything is ending as soon as it’s begun. The most infinite thing we have is time, but we are finite within it. We have our time, but no idea how to occupy it. We have excuses for every silence and every stillness and every word left unsaid, and everyone who’s left because we didn’t stop them, and everything we stopped before it began because we were afraid of the end that would, inevitably, come.
I’m thinking: how I stay silent when there are things to say. How I say things just to fill the space that silence makes, when silence scares me. How I don’t say the things that scare me and make up, instead, a courage that nobody expects. How I stay still instead of running after everything and everyone I’ve lost because of silence, or courage, or the time I thought I had. How it’s an act of cowardice to train yourself not to need.
This isn’t about boats. It isn’t always boats that come and take people away; it isn’t always as easy as an end that’s scheduled. Malik will get on the boat and he will leave and that is right because he lives elsewhere, and we have had our time. But there are others who drift away without warning, out of schedule, and there was no particular moment when you could have stopped them, no one moment when you could have said I need you, but all of them, every single moment of that time in between. When you brought about the end that you feared, with your courage. When you thought you were just passing the time.
And I’m thinking: the excuses we live by. When we could be living by our hearts and our souls and letting nothing pass us by. Not passing the time but occupying it, for fuck’s sake. Not thinking that there’s time, still, yet, another time, but grasping how finite we are and putting everything we’ve got into the time we have been given. And giving of the one infinite thing we have, which isn’t time, after all, but love. Love, not silence. Not stillness, but love. Love, which is the only thing that can turn our endings into beginnings and everything that happens in between into a life that we have lived. Love, not courage, to fill that strange space-time that we occupy in this life, even when the next thing that happens is the end.
There is no excuse.