It ought to be obvious from the way the symbol is drawn that infinity is cyclical.
The slight resemblance to an hourglass tipped is an illusion. There would be a small amount of sand trapped at the juncture between Then and Later, wouldn’t there, providing shelter for a perpetual Now?
It isn’t like that at all. The path is double-looped and in three dimensions, or four, for that matter; there is no intersection.
I know it because I live it.
My life seems to start at age six, and I am adopted out of an orphanage—or not—and receive an education that I already have: the understanding of what I know only comes when I am old enough to comprehend the memories. This returning comprehension is a haze of déjà vu, layers and layers of it. I’m accused often of daydreaming when I am only lost in epoch and millennia.
Who can I tell? Recently, a drug called Ritalin almost unmade me.
Adulthood is where I savor the variations. I have been a connoisseur of lifetimes, and I delight in the minutiae: Look, I’m a banker again, but they do things so differently now. What will have changed when I become a doctor again? What else is there? Even in school, I’ll wake from the dream to learn something new.
But I am exhausted with humanity, one vast echo of its own nature. I used to contrive sometimes to forget to remember, and I let myself love, but not anymore. Even if the happiness abides, I know that it will ultimately falter, through death on the beloved’s part if not from ennui or malice or any of a score of other bitternesses.
I taste the ephemeral, and I know that it’s nothing I can keep.
My life ends at age 76. It ought to. It doesn’t. It sloughs away like snake skin, rapidly, taking a day or so.
I make arrangements to be near the next orphanage, in another city, another state. The old man is missing and presumed dead.
I leave a simply written note for myself and for my temporary caretakers.
I wait and then I resolve into a child, losing the age if not the time.
A social worker kneels in front of me this time, says, “You have such old eyes.” I’ve heard this as a child before, from others.