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Today, the Past, the Trees/ Mileva Anastasiadou

Today, I think of trees, about how trees grow, how they can’t move but they grow branches and they grow roots and they reach out, farther and farther, and they stay still, they don’t leave, as they grow.

Today, the past is a grotesque animal.

As I found out that Ebeneezer Goode wasn’t a song about Christmas. It was about drugs, and it’s actually a wordplay, about how Es are good, and I’m spending time thinking about Es and death, which are different but they have a lot in common, you’re either high as a kite, or low as shite, but you still want to call people you haven’t seen for long and tell them you love them.

Today, the past is a happy place.

As I think of you and the past. Because you were in it, back when we were infinite and we’d live forever, and although you weren't in my life anymore, we’d meet someday and we’d make up for time lost.

Today, the past is a lesson unlearned.

As I wrote about the arrogance of the living. Just before I found out that you’re gone, I wrote about how they think they have all the time in the world, and now here I am, learning a lesson I will soon again forget, because it is this arrogance that sustains us, keeps us alive before we collapse into nothing.

Today, the past is a beautiful dream.

As I dream of the past. Because not only is the past beautiful but it is also safe, and it can’t touch me or harm me, while the present hurts, and it feels odd that I haven’t seen you in years, I have known nothing about you for long, but I know everything now that you're gone, and I never thought I’d sing the song without you, about you, now that you jumped into the past, but still in his eyes I see how completely wrong I’ve been, not reaching out, not growing branches to reach you.

Today, the past is a greedy beast.

As I hear about how we’ll meet again someday. About how you’re in a better place, and I think about whatever I have written about grief, about how grief comes in colors, and the unusual habit of attending imaginary funerals, but grief always surprises, however prepared you think you are, and I think that my obsession with time travel comes from my lack of faith, because I want to go back to fix things and use time more wisely, and it’s impossible, still it feels less impossible than heaven, time travel is the next best thing after eternal life, it feels more reachable too, and I think that aspiring time travelers are disenchanted believers.

Today, the past is a black hole.

As I read about black holes. About how they pull everything inside, and they remind me of the past, because the past is like a massive black hole that pulls everything inside and no force can beat or defeat it, we all fall into it in the end, and it happens again, the gravitational forces get stronger and stronger, I’m drawn into the past, into those memories of you, of the time we spent together mythologizing the past, and I’m mythologizing you now, now that you are turning into a myth from the past, now that the past is growing bigger and bigger, now that it comes closer and the darkness approaches.

Today, the past is a deadly playground.

As I realize I won’t miss you. Because I’ve already missed you before, and I’m beyond missing you now, but what I’ll miss is the idea of you out there, after we grew apart, those underground wires that would always be connecting us, those roots and those branches that I didn’t grow far enough to reach you. I gave up and left instead, because people aren’t trees, they move on.

Today, I think of you, of us, of the songs and the drinks and the secrets we once shared, I think of trees and I envy trees, because trees are wise, they know home, appreciate it, and trees only leave when they die.

Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, from Athens, Greece and the author of "We Fade With Time" by Alien Buddha Press. A Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction and Best Small Fictions nominated writer, her work can be found in many journals, such as the Chestnut Review, New World Writing, Best Microfiction anthology 2024, Cotton Xenomorph, and others.

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