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Dès Vu

The Awareness That This Moment Will Become a Memory

You were born on a moving train. Even though it feels like you’re holding still, time is sweeping past you, right where you sit. But once in a while you look up, and start to feel the inertia, sensing the present moment already turning into a memory, even as it’s still happening. Somehow you know in advance that you’re going to remember this day for years to come.

You can almost feel the presence of your future self, looking back on this moment. Of course, by then it’ll mean something very different. Maybe you’ll cringe and laugh, or brim with pride, aching to return. Or you’ll focus in on some random detail hidden in the scene—a future landmark making its first appearance, or discreetly taking its final bow.

So you look around the scene, trying to tell in advance what this moment is going to mean. It’s as if you’re walking through the memory while it’s still happening, feeling for all the world like a time traveler.

You notice how strange it all seems. All the quaint little gadgets and fads and slang terms that never made all that much sense. All the faces around you, still so young and vibrant, fretting about the day’s concerns, not yet realizing that this world is already out of their hands. That all of this will soon be swept away and replaced by something different. And yet nobody is stopping to take it all in or revel in the nostalgia of a world that once was. For them, and for you, it’s still a bit too early for that.

In a way, you really are a time traveler, leaping into the future in little, tentative steps. A part of you is like a kid stuck in a strange land without a map, with nothing to do but soak in the moment and take one last look before moving on. But another part of you is already an old man looking back on things, waiting at the door for his granddaughter, who’s trying to make her way home for a visit.

You are two people, separated by an ocean of time. Part of you bursting to talk about what you saw. Part of you longing to tell you what it all means.

French dès vu, seen as of now. Alternately sera vu, will be seen. Akin to the feeling of déjà vu, but in the reverse order—already remembering something as you’re living it. Pronounced “dey voo.”





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