Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

The Countdown To The End…Again

(The following is true and inspired by the above trailer for The End Again. Read more here.)

I’m obsessed with countdowns. I also know when that obsession started.

end-139848_640It happened the day I experienced the last 30 seconds of a persons life and I became fixated on each of those last seconds. I can’t even fully explain it, but for the last 14 years of my life, my mind has often drifted back to that night and those last seconds. Or even that day. The last day of a life you don’t know is ending. Was it mundane? What were you doing on the day that you died?

What happened with 12 hours left.

With 2.

With 10 minutes.

I saw the last 30 seconds. In retrospect, they ticked by slowly. Each one lasting an hour as I watched the inevitable unfold. Since then, the moments leading up to the end tend to etch themselves into myriad possibilities in the bandwidth of my mind.

This also likely explains my fascination with the move Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind as Joel and Clementine spiral towards the moment of realization that his remaining memory of her – doubling as his first memory of her – is about to be eliminated from his consciousness and this convo ensued:

Clementine: This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.

Joel: I know.

Clementine: What do we do?

Joel: Enjoy it.

That convo really got to me. Only because its usually impossible to enjoy that last moment. It’s one thing to realize what you have when its gone; its another thing to realize what you’re losing while you watch it leave and there’s nothing you can do to stop the train.

Unless you can and you don’t. That is an amplified pain because two people get hurt at the same time. You hurt yourself and you hurt the other person. Hurt people hurt people. And scared money don’t make money. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and me and Mrs. Jones have danced this tango before as I’ve watched the end manifest with that last Uhaul box and that last shared memory walking over the threshold out into the world with a door closing behind it.

The countdown.

It starts somewhere. At some point, we commence with the beginning of the end. Is it a look? Is it a missed text? The stolen glance that never happened? The day that we forgot to kiss “hello” like we’d done every single day of our relationship before. Missing that first one makes the second easier, though no less noticeable. Habits are easy to create and harder to break. Pretty soon the “why not” becomes “why” and the pictures become reminders of what could be that isn’t anymore.

Three months.

The arguments that used to end with moments of vulnerability as we both realized that what we stood to lose was greater than what we stood to gain by being “right”  now rest in the air and linger. They linger until the next one, a little more passionate, a little more resolute, a little more pointed, a little more biting. You still sleep in the same bed but might as well be sleeping on different planets. Intimacy requires affection and that ship sailed the same path as the Titanic. The more time you spend together the less time you have left together.

One month.

Anger.

One day.

Sadness and reflection. It’s inevitable. Unless you hate one another – and chance are you don’t if you can assume the same space at the same time – at some point you will both try to question what happened and why. That doesn’t mean there are answers, just questions for the ether. Momentary smiles that frustrate because you don’t know why you stopped smiling but the music stopped and nobody can find the beat. Or the melody. Or even a note.

With every article of clothing placed in a box the time left shrinks towards its conclusion. You both see it coming. We see it coming. Or saw. We watched the chaos become emptiness. The thing is, even with words never said, the time draws down. And when the lights shut off and its my turn to settle down, my main concern, promise that you will sing about me.

One hour.

There’s something unsettling about the end. We all know that an end is coming. We have no delusions about that. But the moment the key gets placed on the counter and the look to find something else to do when there’s nothing more is the “it’s going to be gone soon” moment. It’s the end. Only the formality of the exit stands between the past you suddenly miss and the future you don’t want.

Love is a b*tch.

One minute.

The final embrace, both everything and nothing at the same time. Years reduced to a gesture that can be shared amongst strangers.

Door closed.

The end?

-VSB P

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • DC

    Sheesh. That’s some quality writing right there…

    • panamajackson

      Why thank you.

  • Anon

    Three weeks before the end we were sharing our NYEs. Mine was to study one religion, he was getting back into practicing another.

    By the end were a bunch of calls that went unanswered and long text messages.
    I walked around feeling like my heart was going to pop out of my chest for a week.

    It’s impossible to relish the end when you don’t even see the end coming.
    Rewinding it back just hurts more, because in retrospect you can see all the fraying before the break.

  • Anon

    Three weeks before the end we were sharing our NYEs. Mine was to study one religion, he was getting back into practicing another.

    By the end were a bunch of calls that went unanswered and long text messages.
    I walked around feeling like my heart was going to pop out of my chest for a week.

    It’s impossible to relish the end when you don’t even see the end coming.
    Rewinding it back just hurts more, because in retrospect you can see all the fraying before the break.

    • eyecande

      “…you can see all the fraying before the break.” I like that.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      I think in retrospect we are seldom blindsided, we chose to ignore the signs because ignorance is bliss

    • panamajackson

      *tips hat*

  • ratchet d-Ibaka

    The title had me at bye!

    Thought this was going to be an emotionally charged writeup of how ya’ll started from the bottom now we here blog and have now decided to kiss it goodbye and pursue individual interests.

    Nope, never thought of that moment. Never thought to think it, I’ll make sure to next time and see if I can emotificate.

    • panamajackson

      LOL. You think we’d just drop off like that? We’re still selling tshirts for goodness sake. Speaking of which…

      teespring.com/bougieblackgirl

  • nillalatte

    “Enjoy it for what it is, let it go when it’s done.” I was criticized for making this statement and that person calling me ‘extreme.’ I still haven’t figured out why it is ‘extreme’ to be done with a relationship when it’s over. Why do people want to try to hold on to unhealthy relationships? (Yes, I’m guilty of this too.) Let.them.go. Be free. Be healthy.

    I have thought about the triggers and it basically boils down to feelings and actions. I’m ALWAYS watching the man I’m with and LISTENING to what he says with great care, even in jest. This is a skill I developed a little late with the ex (ability to interpret psychopaths), but nonetheless, even when a man is not telling me what he’s up to, through his verbiage and body language I’m reading what he’s really saying. It’s a game of interpretation; read the signs early and you can preempt a lot of bullshyt down the road.

    • The End…When?

      I understand what you mean. I am the same way and others have definitely interpreted that attitude as being cold or dismissive. On the spectrum of staying too long or leaving too soon, however, I am definitely more likely to walk away from a relationship if I see certain “signs” or I reach a point where I simply don’t want to compromise. To Panama’s point, I rarely think about the moment that started the end, because I always expect the end. But, I know I need to strive for a healthier balance because I know that it’s impossible to be truly open to love when you are constantly
      waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, here’s to developing a healthier perspective on love and relationships this year…and beyond.

    • The End…When?

      I understand what you mean. I am the same way and others have definitely interpreted that attitude as being cold or dismissive. On the spectrum of staying too long or leaving too soon, however, I am definitely more likely to walk away from a relationship if I see certain “signs” or I reach a point where I simply don’t want to compromise. To Panama’s point, I rarely think about the moment that started the end, because I always expect the end. But, I know I need to strive for a healthier balance because I know that it’s impossible to be truly open to love when you are constantly
      waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, here’s to developing a healthier perspective on love and relationships this year…and beyond.

      • nillalatte

        “because I always expect the end.”
        Touche’

    • panamajackson

      “Be free. Be healthy.” Sounds like a political campaign slogan here in DC. I agree.

      • SuperStrings

        Or a Dead Prez song.

        • panamajackson

          Fair enough. lol

  • Sahel

    The final countdown started playing in my head after i finished reading this. I always expect the end because nothing lasts forever. The one thing i always say is make sure you never regret anything because regret ruins that montage of how it all started and how it’s ending

    • panamajackson

      Jay-Z teaches us that in order to survive, you gotta learn to live with regrets. But I’m with you…

  • Andrea

    The last 30 seconds.
    We did it together. She wouldn’t leave me. And I wouldn’t let her go. But only I had the power to quickly release her from all of this physical suffering. I could bring her home. I could take her to Mom. So… it was time.

    ‘These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold’

    So I told her it was okay to go. We will do this together. It was time. Time to realize that this life is temporary but the soul is ETERNAL.

    Then I laid my head on her heart……..
    and I kissed every last heartbeat. Until there was silence. Until she was home.

    • SuperStrings

      “this life is temporary but the soul is ETERNAL.”
      This always makes me think of my favorite Black Star song, “Thieves in the Night”. Mos Def rips that verse.

      • Andrea

        Yeah I stole that line, she was the publicist for the Black Star album.

        • SuperStrings

          That must have been an awesome job.

  • Anyango

    The end again…seems like the soundtrack of my life

    • panamajackson

      Everybody needs theme music.

      • Kema

        Only heroes…

        • panamajackson

          Aren’t we all heroes? #deep

    • Sahel

      Kenyan

      • Anyango

        Proudly so :)

        • Sahel

          We handled some business in the coastal region of your country earlier in the year. Fun place

  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

    Just be glad you had a countdown. I know with me, it was literally a matter of being snuck out in the middle of the night. Shows how much respect she had for me. I was supposed to be little more than a robot the cleaned and humped and spit out cash on demand. Once that ended…welp!

    And it happened exactly a month ago today.

  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

    Just be glad you had a countdown. I know with me, it was literally a matter of being snuck out in the middle of the night. Shows how much respect she had for me. I was supposed to be little more than a robot the cleaned and humped and spit out cash on demand. Once that ended…welp!

    And it happened exactly a month ago today.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      These girls ain’t loyal

    • panamajackson

      There’s a certain beauty in revisiting the end of something as long as you’re okay in the end.