The first time

If I close my eyes and clear my mind, I can re-live it as though it were only yesterday it happened to me. I suppose, in a way, it was yesterday. Ever since that first time, every day merges into a constant today; no beginning, no end; and everything that’s not of today is yesterday.

It wasn’t always like this. In the beginning; so long ago yet only yesterday; I led a normal life. I reached the grand old age of 35, an age that not many men achieved in those times, and was totally ready for the end when it came. I wasn’t ready for the means it chose, though. I expected to succumb to disease or to a wild animal of some kind; even to die in battle. I didn’t expect to go out to a flash of light from the sky.

That was the first time I died. Immediately, as far as I was concerned, I awoke in a world that was very different to the one I knew; and yet it didn’t feel unfamiliar to me. I had lived all my life, my prior life, in a cave. I had slept directly on the cave floor, covered by an animal skin to ward off the cold of the night. Somehow, though, it seemed right and fitting that I should regain consciousness on a wooden bed with a straw mattress, with a woven cover on top of me for warmth.

Since that awakening, I’ve experienced the same flash of light every day, and every morning I’m resurrected in a different bed, in a different time. Every day is different: different styles, technologies and methods, yet every day is exactly as it should be.

How many times has this happened? I honestly don’t know. Although I have a clear memory of each morning, I can’t count them. As soon as I try, they all fade away, leaving me convinced that this today is not only the first one, but also the only one. I can remember other todays only when I don’t try to, and that’s not any easy skill to master. You don’t believe me? Here’s a challenge. Pick on something, anything: an event, a book, film, person, anything at all. Got one? Now don’t think about it. Keep not thinking about it. Surprised? Of course you are. The skill lies in not trying not to think about it. You can’t not think about it because you planted it there and you keep telling yourself not to think about it. And telling yourself that is thinking about it.

So which was my first time? If I think about it, my first journey into life was today. If I don’t think about it, it was a very long time ago – yesterday, in fact.


This is written in response to Sacha Black's Writespiration #48 - Write about your first time!

15 comments

  1. belindacrane

    “My first journey into life was today. If I don’t think about it, it was a very long time ago – yesterday, in fact.” Loved this piece Keith. It is how we should try and live everyday 🙂

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  2. Cathy Kennedy

    If you think about it, doesn’t a part of us die a little bit every day? For some of us, like myself, every day seems like the day before. Of course, I don’t have the classic Groundhog Day occurrence as compared to the piece you composed for the prompt, but I can relate somewhat at the same time. Now, that sounds like I’m not a happy person and that’s the farthest thing from the truth. I’m very happy. I just see my days pretty much the same and for the most part I’m quite content. Anyway, your imagination is spinning and that’s something magical in itself. I need to give myself over more to doing just this…unlock the doors in my mind to see where each leads. Good writing, Keith!

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    • Keith Channing

      Than, you, Cathy. My days are pretty much the same as each other, too. I don’t think of it as a bad thing. It basically means that I don’t have to go to work, and we live in a very rural, agricultural area,? so weekends aren’t notable. I do sometimes need to check the calendar on my smartphone to see what day it is, though.

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