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  • Darla Warlick

On Transience




I’ve always liked moving houses. I like public transit. I don't drive. I like the mind numbingness that comes with transitory periods. I know it won’t last forever. I think I might be scared of permanence. 


I wonder if my love for transience makes me cowardly or brave. I pride myself on my adaptability. I find peace in the transience of wandering. I can walk through streets and know that my feet will never again trace the same pattern on stone or concrete. I know that I will never pass the same faces again, or drink the same cup of tea. 


I have “loss” and “gain” tattooed respectively onto my right and left wrists. When taken together they are a reminder of change. Change is always happening. I think of 6th grade science class–though it may not appear so, matter is never created or destroyed, only transformed. I hate looking at my right wrist when it finds unfortunate visual ironies, like when I rest my dominant hand softly on his back. In those moments I curse the inevitability of loss. In those moments transience no longer feels like comfort. 


The other day Aria read my tarot. I chose a card from the fanned deck she extended towards me–the hierophant, reversed. Google told me I am “feeling particularly restricted and even constrained from too many structures and rules.” I wonder if permanence or impermanence is the rule. I sometimes don’t know which one I loathe more.


I wonder if true transience is possible. If I am always changing, am I really just always staying the same? If I remember every person I pass on the street, do they ever truly leave me? When I try and fail to forget painful encounters, everything feels permanent. I try to move these thoughts from my mind, push them into a corner until they eventually fall away. 


I think transience might also exist in cycles. Time moves kind of like a circle. Impermanent moments inscribe themselves forever in my mind. I find the same traits in different people, the same buildings in different cities. Things pass but they also come back. The mold in the bathroom grows back cyclically, though on a new shower curtain this time–one that’s clear and plastic, identical to the last one. 


As a kid I often switched between declaring black and pink as my favorite color. I’m in a pink phase now, but most of my wardrobe is black. I buy the same English cucumber every week at the store. I drink the same cup of coffee every day, the same cup of coffee that my dad drank. The cup drains, but tomorrow it will come back.


When I was talking to you about belief, I said I didn’t believe in god. You didn’t either. I amended my statement by saying something vague about believing in the universe. You didn’t agree. I grew shy and dropped the argument. I think what I meant was believing in the purposefulness of transience. Chance, or arguably fate, has led me to each encounter in my life. If it hadn’t, I would be living a different life. I would maybe even be a different person. I devote myself to these transitory moments, these brief encounters, because they are the creators of my existence.


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Art by Darla Warlick

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