Every present, in order to know itself as present, bears the trace of an absent which defines it.
You begin to notice the presence of a thing by its absence. Absent things leave traces of themselves that are stronger than their presence.
Think of a cat that crawls onto your lap when you are on the couch lost in thought. It makes itself comfortable, and you inadvertently warm up to its presence. Then after a while, the cat stops purring, perhaps bored or thirsty, and it crawls out. Then your lap suddenly becomes cold. Only then do you notice that there had been a cat keeping you warm all along. This absence draws you to the presence. But absented presence. You begin to notice things that were there because they aren’t there anymore.
A thing, a person, an event crawls into your life, and you unintentionally get used to it. It could be your favorite TV show, or a good morning text, or an act of kindness, or an uninterrupted supply of electricity. This presence is accorded very little attention, until its absence. And at that point, it is only noticeable by the traces it leaves behind- perhaps darkness in a room that once had electricity, baldness on a receding hairline, silence where there was noise, noise where there was silence, scorching sun where there was a shadow to shelter under.
I will be there. I am always here. You know where to find me. Words within which presence breeds. Just words. A presence promised. When I say I will be there whenever you need me, what do I mean? What is my being there?
I am awkward with absence and I wonder if one can avoid it, but all this wondering is just nonsense. I know that as long as human relationships exist, then presence and absence are to be anticipated. They are inseparable binaries. One makes sense only in the being of the other.
But what happens to those who prefer to stay away from absence, those who cannot deal with the removal of things that they have come to get used to? Is it possible to stay unfeeling, unavailable, unconnected, unsociable, so that they can avoid the horrifying realization that a thing is absent?