Every Day by David Levithan

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“The clock always ticks. There are times you don’t hear it, and there are times that you do.”

Generally, I am not a fan of science fiction.

I do, however, adore Doctor Who. And I’ll read a book with a scifi foundation if it’s only there to provide a deeper exploration of the human soul. As it does in Every Day. Which I loved. And which couldn’t have existed without its scifiness.

A, the 16-year-old boy who wakes in someone else’s body every day, takes life as it comes. He’s sad, sometimes, about the things he can never have: a family, a girlfriend, a home for more than 24 hours. But mostly he gets on with it, spends a lot of time reading, and tries not to screw up the world for other people. Mostly he doesn’t hear the ticking clock.

While I’m a homebody who’d hate to have to acclimate to a different coffee maker every morning, I do think my life could contain a tad more fresh experience, a bit more awareness of that clock. I’m pretty boring. Busy, but boring. I worry that I see the same set of objects, people, and places so frequently that I no longer see them at all. I have trouble making new memories—just ask my oldest. He’s learned he needs to write down the food he wants from the grocery store because a verbal ask won’t penetrate. Before he was old enough to walk home from the bus stop thereby rendering me and my minivan redundant, he used to call from school on early pickup days to remind me to, well, pick him up.

And while I’ve managed to avert disaster so far, I worry that when I’m 80 and alone in my house on the beach, I won’t have any deeply rooted memories to keep me both entertained and satisfied that my life was a good one, that I loved hard and was loved in return. I worry the details will escape my brain like a waterfall of sand crystals through fingers. I worry that every day will be fog and torment, great empty yawning spaces and the nagging feeling that there should be…more.

M and I went for a canoe trip this evening. The boys are with my parents this week and for the first time since Tallis arrived 12 years ago, we are alone together for more time than not. On our canoe trip we saw rocks and underwater branches and a rocking chair on a dock and sunlight. Jumping fish, yellow water lilies, another canoe, and dragonflies. I paid close attention. No one needed me to do more than paddle. I remember, sharply, the way the water rippled, the way rocks with their reflections along the edge of the river looked like a spine. I remember.

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