*Not a factual statistic
I have to begin an internal analysis to process it, where I ask myself whether I’m conscious of my whereabouts and aware of the time, date, and year of our Lord. Then I check to see if my wits are about me by pinching myself. This process is instantaneous, a reaction that helps put me in check. There are other times where I feel I can experience déjà vu lucidly, wherein I can tell myself to choose a detail about the experience and tell myself to remember it.
I was sitting at our dining room table watching him speak. I was in awe of him. He was nine years older than me. When you’re a child, there’s something about older people where you either idolize them or you can intuit that they’re full of shit. He was not full of shit. Being a kid, I could tell these things about the adults. I could sense a lot about them. I didn’t like it when they talked down to me. Sassy little kid I was. He always talked straight, told it like it is.
His voice filled the room. You could feel his presence entering the house. He wasn’t talking to me though, he was talking to a friend. I was doing that thing you do when you’re younger, where you think you’re invisible to the adults. I was watching his mouth move, trying to memorize the way he spoke. I probably thought I could sound like him if I emulated his lip movements. I focused on his eyes. His eyes were darker than mine. I couldn’t decide whether I was jealous of his dark brown eyes or not. His right eye was a bit lazy. After several operations during his childhood, having it still “a bit lazy” was better than being a practically blind adult.
Then he noticed me. He turned away from the person he was talking to, but not away from their conversation, and dipped his head slightly to acknowledge my presence. I had been discovered. I thought I was a ghost, sunk low in my chair across the table from him. I became self-aware. His eyes met mine and quickly darted away.
It should have been the other way around. It was a strange reaction, shouldn’t I have been concerned about upsetting the adult? I think I was up past my bedtime, but he didn’t care either way. I continued to stare at him. I don’t know if I was making him nervous, or if he was making me nervous. I had my gaze fixed on him, however he was shifting his eyes over to mine every little bit. I suddenly felt the déjà vu. I like to think of it as being hyper-aware. I realized that I was telling myself to remember this moment forever.
It’s like a sort of clarity. Where you truly step away from your moment-to-moment experience of consciousness and make note of your being present. This is where things got hairy. I was telling myself to remember things before this ended, memorize a detail, remember the smell, remember the names, to write down the day, time, and year of our Lord. I couldn’t though. Then he looked at me one last time, with an annoyed look.
Then I woke up. I realized where I just was. I realized where I am. I’m here, now, not a child. I was just there though, a few feet away from reaching out and touching him. It’s been fifteen years since I saw him last. He was alive back then.
What I did next was the only thing that felt natural. I cried.