There was a time when I thought I had actual superpowers. Not for long, but just a fleeting moment, I did think I could see through things. I wasn’t even ten years old, and had just recently been introduced to the world of superheroes, thanks to a Batman/Superman combo comic book I had read.
I thought I could see through things. Things like lamp posts. A moment later, just a matter of seconds, really, i realized that I didn’t see through things as much as I had two eyes so that when the lamp post was placed perfectly in front of me, I could see it with my left eye, but could also see what was behind it with my right eye. That created a nice illusion in which I could see through the lamp post. (Try it. It’s fun).
At around the same time, I also thought I could stop time. Sitting in our school cafeteria, on a long bench, chewing on grated carrot, waiting for my buddy to finish making a whistle out of the tin that was the cover of the milk cup, I took a look at the big white clock hanging on the far wall.
Just as I looked at it, I saw the minute hand jump forward, and what was strange was that I actually saw it move. Usually it just jumped, and you didn’t really see how it traveled from four to eleven to three to eleven. Just that it was first 10:56 and then 10:57. (Except that for me it was never 10:57, because it would be another two years until I got my first digital watch).
I still get the same feeling when I sit by the kitchen table and procrastinate, and day dream. Sometimes I glance at the clock on the wall, and the clock’s red second hand has stopped moving. It’s frozen,it’s like I’ve frozen time – again. It’s strange but I can feel my heartbeat rise, and my mind race. I make plans, I walk down the memory lane until, a second later, literally (I think), the hand moves on, and time keeps ticking away, and I calm down.
(Oddly enough, just as I tried to do it again, the second hand didn’t move at all. I waited for at least five seconds and thought I could freeze time for real! But now I see that the hour and minute hands move. Bummer).
Time does stand still in other ways. It stands still when somebody is doing something nice to me. I still remember being 11 years old, and buying a present for Mom at the drug store that was just underneath our apartment, and the warm feeling I had when the lady in the store wrapped that little present for me. It’s like somebody’s tickling me from the inside. I stood there just watching her, with a bill in my hand. It only took her a few seconds to wrap the present, but it felt like an hour.
The other day, when we got home from school, I got that ticklish feeling again. The kids were happy, it was a warm evening, almost a summer night, and the sun was going down. It felt like I did those summer nights when I was a kid, and came home after a game of pesäpallo with all the neighborhood kids, and everything was perfect, and I didn’t have a care in the world.
When I wished i could stop time right there. I remember saying it out loud once, after a long drive with Mom and Dad, just talking about stuff.
“What a great day, I wish we could stay right here in this moment, that it could always be like this,” I told them.
But it can’t.
Which is fine because then I would have missed that tickling feeling I had in my stomach when Daughter took my hand and wanted to run home with me.
“Race instead! I’ll time you,” Son yelled.