Double Over Time

They didn’t get that early a start. Because what with one thing after another, they hadn’t gotten a whole lot of sleep. Around five in the morning, under a setting cusp of moon, MeiMei had lain with an ear to Tuan’s chest, trying to modulate the throb of his heart with the soft beat of the waves. And it came from her mouth unbidden, “Out whole time together has just been sort of a big honeymoon, hasn’t it?”

And immediately cringed. First night with a guy and you’re saying “M-word” type words? Why don’t you just tell a guy you’re planning a felony caper the first time you meet him? Oh, wait, did that one, too.

But Tuan immediately stroked his hand up into her hair and drew her forehead up for a kiss. “It feels that way, doesn’t it? We should package this experience, offer it with all those ‘Wedding In Paradise’ hucksters on Isla. We could hire some vicious pirates and patrol boats for the thrills, give them sunburn with UV wands and little packets of sand to sprinkle into their cracks.”

She felt her laughter moving her breasts around on his ribs. “Would it be too trite to say I’d like to just stop the clock right here and now?”

“What? You’re Chinese and your mother doesn’t have any grandchildren yet and you’re talking about arresting time on circumstantial evidence?”

Whoa. Now he was talking kids. Grandkids even. For two people who just spent a couple of weeks sleeping together in cramped quarters and peeing in each other’s presence, but didn’t hook up until a few hours ago, they were sure shifting up to cruising speed in a hurry. She looked at his silhouette in the fading moonlight and thought, hold that “Whoa”, though.

“If you stop the clock, everything just freezes, right?” Tuan was softly stroking her flank, but was obviously focused elsewhere for the moment. “Just stay in the moment, don’t change. Of course we can probably move around, right? Walk, eat. Various motion-driven activities. But time will cease to be a factor?”

“Kind of a snooze button for aging and nagging reality.”

“Well what would happen if you stopped the calendar?”

What that line stopped was her whole train of thought. She’d never really entertained the concept of an actual end of history. Real and, well, literally carved in stone. “Well,” she said after a few minutes of mental sifting and composing, “I guess if it froze up on only one day, you’d want it to be a good one.”

“Good point,” Tuan said thoughtfully. “Nobody wants to stop the clock during a root canal operation. You’d definitely want a Kodak moment at the tip of your time pyramid.”

“Time pyramid? Is that a real concept or one of your home-made bombs? I guess I tend to think of Mayan time concepts as circular. Wheels within wheels and all that.”

“And where you find those stone calendars, how far do you ever have to look to see a pyramid?”

“The end of your nose, more or less.”

“Have you actually counted the steps of the Pyramid of the Sun? Are there really 365?”

“At Chichen? Sure. There are 365 going up and 3000 coming back down, is the joke.”

“Ah, narrow little steps. Strait is the gait. There are students of the Gizeh pyramids, like Thompson, et. al. who say the design there is essentially a squaring of the circle. Pi meets phi. And that they are calendars.”

“I’m more partial to the Invaders’ Landing Pad theory, myself.”

“Well, the thing is… can you stand another big egotistical general theory lecture?”

“Only if I thought it was leading somewhere carnal and libidinous.”

“One step at a time, my dear. That’s what this little jot of verbal jazz is all about.”

He shifted his weight slightly and made sure she was comfortable. Then looked up into the starfield and said, “Squaring the circle has always intrigued the great minds. Over the years one form keeps suggesting itself to solve the various mathematical, engineering and mystical problems involved: the pyramid. Pyramids, wherever and whenever, tend to be seen not only as landmarks, but as calendars: anchors and signposts in time and space, breaking the infinite sky into our numbers of days. Carving our very steps into numbered stones.”

MeiMei, having learned she could toss solos into his jam without disturbing the flow, said, “And nobody measured and numbered and named the moments of the heavens as precisely or as obsessively or as impressively as the Maya.”

“Possibly,” Tuan returned, “Mayans are the ‘New Egyptians’, in pop culture, aren’t they? But we get so fascinated with the Mayan Calendar and all its interlocking wheels, intricate design, and exotic symbology, we often forget that we have our own ways to enshrine time: equally complex wheels carving not the time of the heavens, but the cycles we invented ourselves.”

He raised his arm to press a wrist to MeiMei’s ear and she heard the almost inaudible ticking inside the plain steel case she had noticed the first day she met him was a Rolex Mariner.

“Our years stack up, one on the other,” he said, “Like squared-off steps. While Mayan years revolve like seasons. We set hours and minutes and seconds in endless circles around our square girds of days and years, often unaware of the

tiny cogs that mesh beneath the machined surface of our lives. These mechanisms of our own minds replace the sweep of worlds through the skies above us, names of Gods get lost in the tyrannous proliferation of mere numerals.”

He stopped and MeiMei nuzzled him a little, said, “Not a bad monologue, but I think it needs some more laughs. And sex.”

As it happened, Tuan agreed with that critique and bent to the task. But paused to say, “You know, we all tend to see time as being like a chunk a day, and they just sort of pile up into this infinitely rising tower. Each newly-minted block of time kind of pushing the old ones back. But there’s another way of looking at it that I rather prefer.”

“This better be leading somewhere hot, moist, and nasty, amigo.”

“Bear with me four point five seconds.”

“I’m bare and I’m about as with you as it gets. What’s on your mind?”

“The idea is, time is actually pulled forward by the future. The time dimension doesn’t really come with a little ‘This way up” arrow. It’s possible that it tends towards a singularity that has already happened, or is always happening and waiting for us to catch up to it. The way a dream happens instantaneously and the whole plot and pageant of it is just dragged along over how long it takes for your consciousness to make the transition.”

“Yipes. You silver-tongued devil.”

“Well, what I’m trying to say is, you have an idea that a single moment can turn everything that led up to it into a curtain rising, all past just prelude for the major, singular event.”

He moved over her, burrowing between her waiting legs, cupping his hands around her head and looking directly into her. “The moment we first touched. Like this. It turned everything leading up to it into a honeymoon.”

MeiMei didn’t say a word, just crushed her mouth to his and used her hands, feet and everything she could muster to draw him as deep inside her as she could and hold him there.

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