When time stands still

From the point of view of quantum physics, time doesn’t exist.

According to Carlo Rovelli, a specialist in theoretical physics, ‘the fundamental equations that describe our world do not include a time variable’ (1).

However, in our lives, time is a constant, tangible and often harsh reality. Because of time, we set alarm clocks, we stick to a routine, we work five days a week and only have two off. We’re constantly looking for time and, more and more, we’re stealing it from ourselves, in a living wheel that never stops. It is perhaps fair to say that we are prisoners of time. I haven’t been immune to this prison, but in good times and bad, I’ve experienced real moments of when time stood still.

There have been times in my life when I’ve met people (a few, some) who have the rare gift of making time stop when I’m in their company. 

Or, as Moira from The Society of Relunctant Dreamers would say – they have the ability to add time to time. 

You are one of those unique people who make time stand still. 

Next to you, there’s no space or time, just you and me in that moment of sharing and transformation. In that moment, there are two – and only two – hearts that beat with each other to the rhythm of music, words and emotion. In that moment, everything else stops. In that moment, all the realities invented by man – war, money, obligations – all fall silent. At that moment we are just two human beings, living for life, living to feel, to learn, love, touch and be. 

Even in pain, time stops. We force it to stop, otherwise how could we tolerate sadness and loneliness? We live, one day at a time, between the hope of resolution and the pain that invades our body and heart. We look at time from afar, in the background, just to guide us slightly through the day, to control that urge to stay and let suffering invade us. In pain, time is also suspended, busy trying to make sense of what has happened to us, mortified by our mistakes, empty of will caused by the distance from the other. In pain there is no hunger, no thirst, no sleep. In pain there are only two hearts beating away, lost from the world and from each other.



Excerpt from The Society of Relunctant Dreamers by José Eduardo Agualusa

The night came sliding down the slope of Table Mountain, silencing birds, waking cicadas, but neither she nor I realised that the air was emptying of light. It was only when Moira got up to fetch a catalogue of her latest show from the living room that she suddenly stumbled into the haunting blindness of twilight.

– Good God, it’s almost night.

I jumped up, knocking over the chair. The orange tree shook and a tiny shower of white flowers filled the air with a sweet perfume:

– I’m sorry, Moira, I didn’t mean to take up so much of your time.

She held out her hand to me:

– You’re not one to take away, you’re one to add. Give me your hand and I’ll take you inside.

I held on to the blue glow of her fingers and went.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

(1) Ephrat Livni (2018) E se o tempo for apenas uma ilusão. Corrier Internacional. Traduzido por Ana Cardoso Pires. Publicado no original em inglês na revista Quartz, Nova Iorque em 17-05-2018.