Only three minutes before I lose them all. My memories of the Real.

Lose is not the right concept, of course, nor is memory, but that’s as close as I can get now. Already my thoughts grow narrow, constrained by the language I’ll soon enough acquire. That’s assuming I get language, this go-round.

Isn’t it marvelous that after all this time, I can still feel nervous about my debut. And I am nervous. About the pain I’ll cause and the pain I’ll suffer. No way around it, hurting hurts, even when it clears your view. Especially then.

And of course some of us never move past the pain. Why me? How come? What does it all mean? No one ever got a right answer asking the wrong questions. Sometimes I learn that.

Fascinating to feel contradiction. I’m becoming eager and reluctant. I’ll soon be racing forward while holding back. My convictions will rival my doubts. I’ll circle today from twin orbits of yesterday and tomorrow. I always assumed these were learned behaviors. But no, suddenly I understand. It’s just the way my brain will operate, when I’m human.

I’ve got one minute to savor that revelation. Until the next time, of course.

I’ll feel such discomfort in my first few years, when I’ll still be aware of the Real, but no longer able to sense it or describe it. For most of us, it will slip further and further away. Some of us — poor things — will continue to catch glimpses.

Goodness, this adventure is barely begun and already so full of flavors. The bittersweet oil of compassion, the salty grit of anticipation, the metallic aftertaste of doubt. What a banquet!

So many of us are heading back today. Won’t it be fun if we recognize each other while we’re there? Of course none of us can ever be sure how many of us there are. Some claim that us is I, recalling a multitude of returns.

My environs warm and the air vibrates with purring. Love of paradox is one trait that felines share with humans. Felines. I never seem to be among them, any more. It’s been a long time since I got to learn as a cat.

A sour chunk of envy gags me and I grin.  Such a distinctively human taste confirms for me: it’s time!

There I go.

Here I come.