The Compass

by Manuel Vincent, October 19, 2016

(translated by Louis Bedrock)

When you're born, your entire space amounts to the dimensions of the cradle: 80 x 60cm.

The compass will open.

After six months, you can crawl across the room. After one year, you learn to walk. As time envelops you, the space around you will begin to expand: the tricycle in the garden, the daycare center, the bicycle in the park, the first excursion to the ice cream parlor on the corner.

Later will come vacation travels with your parents, the first excursion with your classmates in elementary school; after discovering your city and traversing the landscape of your childhood, during adolescence you will wish to cross the horizons you have dreamed about.

As you go on living, space will accommodate your ambition to the extent that if you're a successful person, the world will seem small: Airports, international hotels, vast oceans, parties in exotic places, business meetings on five continents.

When you reach the fullness of fifty years, space will have opened to its maximum compass from this summit of your age. But one day you will notice that space begins to contract as you advance through the almanac. The downward spiral will become evident when you begin to believe you've seen everything and that nothing is capable of surprising you.

First you will renounce travel in airplanes, later you won't feel like going out at night; parties seem boring, you begin to dream of having a house in the country; the wing chair in front of the television will be your barricade. Suddenly you discover that to live you scarcely need the four walls of the room where you learned to crawl as a child.

In the end, like a boa constrictor, time will administer its final convulsion and space will move backward until it changes that distant cradle into a pine box, two meters by one meter. What else?

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