I am twelve years of age. I am sitting in a tea garden in Godshill Village on the Isle of Wight and I am going quietly bonkers. I am going quietly bonkers because I don't want anyone to know that I am going bonkers and because I've kind of got used to repressing weird and shameful thoughts.
I am surrounded by people who aren't bonkers though my mother does occasionally go bonkers from time to time; which is ironic because it is time, or the thought of time, that is making me go bonkers.
It is a sunny day in June and in front of me is a bowl of juicy strawberries with a large dollop of clotted cream on them. I am not eating them just yet because I am bathing in their reality.
"Don't you want them Matt? They weren't cheap you know."
The words slip into the river of time and begin to recede. I dig my spoon into the strawberries making sure that there is cream on them. I place them in my mouth and eat them as slowly as I can to slow down time though I know that it is futile - and they are delicious. I look at the bowl and realize that soon it will be virtually empty. The passing of time is driving me bonkers but maybe time will also release me from being bonkers too eventually.
"You're quiet. What are you thinking about?"
"Um, nothing, Mum."
I can't tell her because she'll think I'm bonkers but what I'm thinking is that there are all these people here in this tea garden and milling round the street and that not one of them is thinking that it is all bonkers. You see, it is the fact that everything, pleasant or unpleasant, passes. It means to me that nothing, good or bad, has any ultimate value and that to me is completely bonkers. What is the point of the world if nothing lasts? It's all completely bonkers.
I finish the bowl of strawberries and cream. Their reality is gone now.
We walk to the car park and I get in the car. I know that this moment in time is lost for ever.
My mother starts the car and we drive out of the carpark and onto the main road. As she does, I look ahead and focus on trees or bushes and attempt to slow down time so that we will never reach them. But we do, and then they too are in the past. I cannot hold onto the present. It is all bonkers.
I look across at my mother - she is completely oblivious to the fact that the passing of time is all bonkers. I ask myself a question: Is it me that is going bonkers or is it everybody else? I also ask myself another question: Why am I me and not somebody else? But then I realize that if I was somebody else, I would still be me.
We get home and I try not to think about time. I know the battle against going bonkers will be long and hard...