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See this?

Sarah finds out what is important

See this?

Everything had been a bit fuzzy until that moment. Sarah, myopic at the best of times, put the transformation down to her new spectacle cleanser, or perhaps to the short nap she had just taken. Anyhow, when she looked at things or people now, they were different. It was as though some joker had pulled away a veil, and then shouted “see this?”

Everything she saw had a bright presence: indeed the whole world looked like a medieval illustrated manuscript. But more was afoot. Everything had a past and a future, and she could see them. Every single object or person trailed its past in its wake, if she looked hard enough: and every one had a shadowy future that you could glimpse if you looked slightly askance. That vase, now. Sarah could see that it had been turned, painted and fired. Someone had loved it, had placed in on their shelf, had given it away, it had been found in a box, it had become someone else’s treasure. And later it was cracked, it was broken, it was in shards, it was used as drainage at the bottom of a plantpot. And people, too. Sarah could see this woman’s past: a shy child, a girl in love, a student lost in a library, a woman fighting for her intellectual survival.  And later she was a fallen leaf, she was wispy, she was grey: “see this?”

How was it possible to live in this manner? Sarah realised that it was not. It was too poignant and too painful to bear everything in mind at once. That ushered in a dimension in which too much knowledge brought too much pain. She would have to wilfully narrow her perspective in order to survive. But how? Sarah made a mental knife. It was sharp. With a swift movement, she managed to cut away the visible pasts and futures of what lay before her. And there they were, more simply now: the bright stones in the water, the diffident smile, the young animals playing in the sunlight: “see this?”     

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