S. was far away from the lives of others when she was in school, she once told me; some people are. She did her homework by the bins at recess to be alone. She just liked to learn. Of course the other kids came over and mocked her. They called her things I don’t want to say here. It broke my heart when she told me that. I loved her with a deep, protective love, though I myself was far from the lives of others – and from hers, it turned out. If I were to tell her something now that I’ve learned it would be that real life happens slowly, mostly undercover, mostly in secret. When you’re in trouble, do what you have to do, and wait. Hibernate like an animal. You’ll come into your own in time, if you can find your own time. You’ll know, looking back, if you did.

I’d also tell her what I’m sure she knows, that this slowness of life is like something from a lost time. It’s more like an ordeal now, a danger in the background of our quick lives. We’re ill-equipped to understand it let alone live it; the roots that held us to it have been hacked out of us.

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