Running Toward Life
|"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
— Mark Twain
I remember the color of your hair, but not the color of your laugh. I remember your name, that one’s easy; I don’t remember how your parents say it in their native tongue (I forgot that one the second you told me). I remember that you exist, that we spent some of our time together for what now feels like a blip, a sneeze, a little nothing. But I forget everything else, like what brought us together and what drove us apart. And mostly everything that happened in between that.
I forget what it’s like to kiss you and what it’s like to want to. I forget what it feels like to hold your hand, if we ever even held hands, it feels like we didn’t. I forget what it’s like to trust you, to believe in you, to need you. I forget what it’s like to think that I’d never forget any of it. For a long time, I thought I never would. You and I both know you left ghosts behind, but they seem to have found someone new to haunt. Maybe it’s you.
The inside jokes have already dissolved into unordered words with no punchline. The gifts have been reduced to objects whose saving grace is their monetary value, no meaning and all function. There are photographs, somewhere, but I’m not the person posed in them anymore and whoever that is sitting next to me, all dressed up in your costume and wearing your mask, well, that’s not you either. But what do I know about who you are? I forget that part, if I ever knew it to begin with.
I won’t forget you the way I won’t forget the Blizzard of ’96 or the pain of getting a wisdom tooth removed. Like something that happened to me once and then unhappened to me and then didn’t matter anymore.But I will forget you where it counts, like in the eyes and in the mornings and in the moments that felt and looked and tasted a lot like love. I will forget you in those places because I already have."
The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness."