Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 25 January 2017


If Seven Years

(for B.)

There is –
and always will be –
so little time
for you and I.

I do not say "us:"
there is no time for "us."

Just you and I
and I miss you so much.

30 September 1989

B. was seven years younger than me. Which means she’s fifty now. I can’t imagine her being fifty. The girl I knew—the young woman—was twenty-three when I wrote these poems for her. F. was thirty-eight. B. married a man even older than I was at the time, a man in his forties, a man she’d only met a handful of times. It was as close to an arranged marriage as I’ve encountered outside of an eastern religion. Her mother was the matchmaker and to this day can’t understand what she must’ve been thinking, what either of them must’ve been thinking. Carrie, of course, has twelve years on me and we’ve been together for twenty years now so it’s not so much the age thing that bothers me. It bothers me it wasn’t me and it could’ve been. I was about twenty-four when I came back into B.’s life but seventeen seemed very young to me then and by the time I noticed her for being more than a pretty girl I was already involved with F. The rest is history.


Kass said...

This makes me sad.

“Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also call'd No-more, Too-late, Farewell”
― Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The House of Life

Jim Murdoch said...

The poem makes me sad too, Kass. I think that’s why I find some comfort in the idea of alternate realities. It’s something that gets mentioned a couple of times at least in the new book I’m working on, Left. In my head the whole book takes place in an alternate reality and a part of me is tempted to tweak a few facts to make that more obvious. The problem with the concept of heaven most people have is that we have to get through hell on earth to earn eternal bliss. What I find comforting when I consider the possibilities is that there could well be an alternate reality out there where I never put a foot wrong. Would I have ended up with B. in that timeline? Who’s to say but I doubt it. To do the job she did so well—albeit unknowingly—she had to be within arm’s reach but also unattainable. I doubt we would’ve worked as a couple and the truth is I never really lusted after her in that way. I thought about it because that’s what we writers do but it always seemed a bit of a stretch.

Kass said...

Jim, ah the obsessive quality of romance...Where would we be without it? No art, no relationship counselors....Drama is so addictive.

I like your idea of the alternate reality. Quantum physicists maintain that space is discontinuous, made of fractal non-Euclidean points, joined into bidimensional networks, through flows of expansive kinetic energy and contracting cyclical information. Multiple space-times imply the existence of multiple big-bangs with different explosive size and speeds, all of them deaths of an informative mass or charge that uncoils its accelerated vortex into radiation following Einstein’s equation, E=M(c)2, where a bidimensional or tridimensional vortex (M or e) becomes extended into a plane of radiation.

I don't pretend to understand any of this, but symbolically (or poetically), I love the idea of two Big Bangs and the possibility that we might have an alternate reality in the "other" bang.

Unknown said...

Love is not just to be loved, but how to maintain and respect the feeling called love.

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Jim Murdoch said...

I’m the same, Kass. It’s all Greek to me. But that’s the wonderful thing about belief as opposed to faith. I know people use them interchangeably but to my mind faith is based on evidence even if that evidence is slim. It’s like what Paul said about belief in God, if I may paraphrase: All they have to do is look up at the night sky and all excuses vanish. Beliefs, on the other hand, are things we just decide are true, like the earth being flat. At the moment I don’t think there’s enough evidence to say one way or the other to say whether alternate universes exist but when has that stopped fiction writers, eh? Of course just as there might be a universe out there where I did everything right there’ll probably be a few where I made an even bigger mess of things than I did in this one. So that’s comforting too.

Jim Murdoch said...

The nature of love is something I’ve struggled with for years, Nani. I used to think it was simple but far from it. All our other emotions come and go; nothing lasts any length of time, not happiness or sadness or guilt or any of the others. They wax and wane. As does love. It’s like a spinning plate. The trick, I suppose, is to catch the plate before it smashes and put it somewhere safe. Thanks for your comment.

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