Before Memory

Outside, there is chaos and mayhem, resembling that in my mind which keeps me awake days at a time. I have covered the window, for I cannot bear to see it made real. It is torture enough to hear it, a sick, sadistic cacophonous choir incessantly prodding me to cease existence – and so tonight, with any luck, I will do just that.  I’ve been so superficial these past few years: waking up, trying on the day’s fake smile in a random bathroom mirror before presenting it to an unstable public.  Yes, the world has gone to utter hell since I was a struggling high school student barely holding on with a mere ‘D’ average. The world is now a morally, civilly and politically destitute place, one not suitable for children (not suitable for any life, really) – yet outside these walls are parents play-acting suburban soccer life for their children in the hopes they may just very well grow up to appreciate something, fight for something, that doesn’t belong to America’s new fascist State.

When I was younger, eating alone at an isolated table in the school cafeteria, blatantly ignoring the stares and the laughs, I knew, I just knew, it wasn’t me. This constant state of dark foreboding was never an intuitive look into just my own life, but into life in general, for everyone, for the world. And here it was, coming to fruition now – outside, though life carried on, it did so in a primal manner.  Everyone else was fighting to survive, but the only thing I could honestly care about was going back to a place before I existed.

I am writing this viscerally – I think I know that these words will disappear as soon as I do. They may not remain to be found by someone else. But the action itself is therapeutic, and I need my mind to be somewhat clear when I set the dials. I wonder, does God consider it suicide if you prevent yourself from existing at all?

Before, this line of thought was probably not as prudent as it is now. Before, the question was, does God truly punish those who perish at their own hands? And, well… we will never know, will we? I suppose God might not like it too well to watch me mess around with His work – He obviously intended that I exist, and yet, as soon as this little narrative is finished, I will undo myself. If only such actions had been possible in Washington’s time – to see the look on his face as he read these mad ramblings! But I digress.

I hold the knowledge of a place where one can progress backward or forward through time – a real-life, H.G. Wells-type time machine. I won’t waste my remaining time here trying to explain to you the technical details, because frankly, I don’t understand them myself; but basically, it quite literally recreates the explosions of gargantuan stars, and thereby, a black hole that bends time and space. You can imagine that such a magnificent piece of technology must be housed somewhere isolated, lest the progenerated results negatively affect the surrounding habitat. And once my pitiful account is put to paper and out of me, I will go there, hopeful and optimistic for virtually the first time in my life.

Should these words survive beyond the date of July 12, 2022, let it be known that I, Skyler Tarquin, was able to transcend the prison of my inner suffering!  I was able to do for myself what doctorates and mind-altering substances ultimately could not – I eliminated the absolute nature of my pain forever. Who will ever know?  Who important in my life will hurt from my absence if they never knew me to begin with? It’s utterly perfect.

My friends, I bid you adieu. May the circumstances of your own lives bring a more rational relief for your ills than the one I sought.


Thick, dark clouds pregnant with rain hang low on the eve of July 12, 1987. Reuben Tarquin holds his wife’s hand and brushes from her eyes strands of black hair damp with sweat. Her breaths are labored pants, and the pupils within her oceanic eyes are dilated in simultaneous pain and joy.

“Don’t stop now, babe, we’re almost there,” he whispers, kissing her forehead. And then, after thirteen and a half hours of labor, the doctor says he can see the head and Reuben’s face lights up as the two nurses gather round Anita’s womb to witness the birth of a brand new human-being. She channels every inch of her remaining strength to squeeze his hand, and push, and the cries of mother meet the cries of child, and Reuben knows he has never heard a more beautiful choir.

He cuts the umbilical chord and holds the warm bundle of a new baby girl securely in his arms. Anita is weeping, and already, she has fallen for this new life she and Reuben have created. And not once do they know that in another parallel universe, they would have given birth to a son named Skyler.


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