Memory of a forgotten future

I write this sitting on the steps of The Big House, near the Northeast entrance of Crisler Center.

Three flags hang on three poles: the United States, Michigan, and the University.

History was meant to bring the three together tonight not too far from where I sit.

The site of the original second presidential debate – before it was canceled, before it was moved, before COVID – was here, now.

This place, this moment.

A person (or set of persons) doing stomp percussion in a building in the distance.

A periodic runner hustles by.

I wear a mask.

Now, the Michigan flag blows with the wind.

Now, it hangs limp with the others.

If I do not say much here, it is because there is not much to say. Things were supposed to go one way. They went another. History cannot be planned. Only witnessed.

I bear witness to the silence in this place on this night. The lines of the flags rustling against their poles. Thirty second bursts of percussive improvisation. The hum of distant HVAC systems. Buses braking, accelerating, kneeling at vacant stops. Lights are on, streetlights at least. The inside of Crisler is dark, empty.

Even the air feels absent. Sitting at that autumnal temperature of neutral heat transfer, equilibrium, balance. Without the occasional chilled gust I might not know I was anywhere at all.

History might not either. It doesn’t/can’t see all. Even we who bear witness report only this much.

How much else is hidden in memories of forgotten futures?