The Lingering of Last

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Last, itself contains the whole tale. We know from simply that single word that there are times that have come before; we also know that those times will not come again.

We count firsts, we catalog them, document them, but the thing about lasts is that we don’t know, when we experience them, that that’s what they’ll be. They crystallize into what they are only later, long after the moment is gone, so we have to piece them together in order to remember them.

There’s something inherently wistful about the word “last,” it implies attention not paid and instances squandered. It contains another L-word, “loss,” because it tells us that what once was will never be.

There are good lasts, of course. Last day with braces, last payment on a car, last item on the to-do list, but even with those good ones, it’s not the last, itself, that shines. It’s not the last that makes it good.

It’s the first that’s next to come.

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