Chapter 1

By Morgan Sutton


Time as continuous chapters:

Time flows like flipping pages, one word to the next; a moment in each word and a lifetime in each novel. Transitions are not always smooth, but chronologically time moves, telling stories with black ink and thin paper. With each new year, another chapter closes and the first word of the next chapter is written.

11:59pm, December 31 and I am driving. The highway lines, illuminated by the gentle light of the headlights, race underneath the car and slip far away. The air is black and empty, tucked inside the gentle curve of the crow’s wing. The music is loud and it is the only sound in the world. There’s a girl next to me with a sterling laugh and steel mind. “We’re driving into 2015,” she says, “so we can get a moving start to the year.” It is something an English teacher would say as he fabricated lines between his thoughts and the physical world. But for now it is still 11:59pm and if I were in school I would have written December 31, 2014 on the paper, and started scribbling down the ending to this chapter. I would have only had time to write the end before the clock strikes midnight and though the earth, the moment, my life feels completely the same, an omniscient reader has flipped a page and is reading a new chapter title: 2015. Time is chronological, time is fluid, and I cannot slow it down. 12:01am, January 01 2015 I am driving and there is a girl next to me writing the first word of my new chapter.


Time as scattered fragments:

Picture me: in an empty room, filled with feathers. All I see is feathers; each one a memory, a moment or a time. In and around me falls visions of evergreens and plaid shirts and momma’s bed. Picture me in a small room filled with feathers searching for and staring at the ground to find any visible tile. In everything not-feather I can see time differently: I see the summer between middle and high school; the white space between lines; the time spent in dreams forgotten; the silence between songs. The time that is unclassifiable, for it is neither a beginning nor an end. Feathers fly around me, in a small room, and I realize time is not chronological: it is a jumble of memories and unclassified moments.

Time as a blended line:

Maybe time is like a sunset or ocean blue: ombre, one color into another. There is purple and there is blue; there is a painter smearing two into one. I am being weaved into a Navajo rug where one color fades into the next. I am thinking about teary eyed faces, soft voices, harsh words and Iron and Wine. I am thinking about his two words “it’s over”, implying that what once was suddenly is no longer. But it was not from a “we need to talk” it ended. Time does not assign beginnings and endings. Time does not sell its products at a flea market and label its goods with an expiration date. Time is a mess of mixed paints and colors. I am with him and he tells me “it’s over” but I know and he knows those words mean nothing, because we didn’t end with those two words. We ended weeks before with glazed eyes and vacant promises. And we will continue to be together for weeks through midnight texts and desperate connections. Blue skies fade to black skies no matter the angle you look at it. Time cannot be defined as having a beginning and ending because my life is a child’s watercolor painting and with each brushstroke, color bleeds across the paper.


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