The passage of time can do strange things to one's mind. Tonight I'm haunted by a memory from so long ago that it feels more like a dream that never actually happened.
"Jeffrey?" asked Linda sleepily one night while she was cradled in my arms.
"Mmm?" I replied.
"Do you believe in the concept of non-linear time?"
"You know, the concept that time is actually a constant, as opposed to this linear thing?"
I sighed. It was pretty late and I wanted to sleep. In retrospect, I wish I had spent less of my time here sleeping and more time with the people in my life that I loved. Especially Linda Starling.
"Linda, I KNOW that it's 2:30 in the morning and that I have an early class tomorrow! Ow!"
Linda had elbowed me in the ribs. "Okay, baby, I give," I said. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Care to explain?"
The elbow to the ribs woke me up a little bit, so I started running my fingers through her hair as we spoke. In fact, if I concentrate enough I can see her as she was that night. Beautiful, lying next to me in just her panties, her short black hair in my right hand and her luscious breast in my left, as opposed to a tombstone by a barren tree.
"Non-linear time is the theory that states that time doesn't REALLY occur in a linear fashion, but instead is more of a constant. However, we as human beings can only perceive time in chronological order. Some scientists theorize that the reality of time is that the past, present, and future have already occurred," said Linda.
"So, you're saying the future has already happened?"
"...and the past is still happening! They believe that the past, present, and future are all happening concurrently," she concluded.
"Wait. Hold up. NOW you're saying that you DO believe in the concept of predetermined fate. Because if the future has already happened, then no matter what we choices we make in our lives, the end result will be the same."
We will die.
"Well, that would explain why some people experience psychic phenomena or have premonitions, wouldn't it?" continued Linda. "The only way that someone could see into the future would be if the future has already happened."
"Linda, I thought you believed that it's your OWN life that you create every day. To quote your latest poem, 'It's your own life you make, based on your choices and the risks you take.'"
"Well, that's still true! Just because the future has already happened doesn't mean that we know what the future will bring. Our future will always be based on our choices and the risks we take, since we can only perceive the future on a linear basis anyhow."
"Well, then here's the big question: What happens to us when we die, then? I'm assuming now that you're forsaking your belief in reincarnation?"
"If time is a constant, then I guess maybe you start over from being born again?" postulated Linda. "I don't know, I never really considered...."
"So if someone chose to live their life," I interrupted, "in a bad way, and they let themselves be miserable and acted unkindly towards their fellow man, they would be forced to relive their wretched existence for all eternity?"
"I guess? Wow, I guess you'd really better try to lead a good life, huh?"
"I dunno. Seems kind-of harsh to me. Millions have had bad lives through no fault of their own. Imagine having to spend all eternity being a starving child in Ethiopia? That would be terribly unfair."
"Yeah, that probably isn't the answer, then," said Linda as she became lost in thought for a moment. Then she exclaimed, "Starving children in Ethiopia?! What are you TALKING about? Jeffrey Petersen, why do you always have to talk about weird stuff at 3 in the morning?" said Linda as she looked up at me with her baby blue eyes. Her pupils dilated as she shot me her award-winning smile and my heart melted.
Then she took on a more serious look for a moment. "Well," she said softly. "There is...one thing...I DO know for sure."
"Oh? What's that?"
She sat up a little and looked me dead straight in the eyes. Her pupils dilated again and she told me something that I have never forgotten.
"Jeffrey. I will ALWAYS be here for you, now and forever, whenever you want me or need me to be. All you have to do is close your eyes and remember. No matter what the future may bring, nothing will ever take this moment away from us. I truly love you, Jeffrey. I always will."
Then she held me in a long embrace and kissed me for what felt like forever at the time.
by Sean Westergaard
Pianist/composer Chris Opperman grew up in New Jersey and attended Berklee. While at Berklee, Opperman took a chance and contacted Mike Keneally to see if Keneally would be willing to produce the album he was putting together with his band from school, Chris Opperman and the Random Factor. The answer was yes, and in April of 1998 they recorded Oppy Music, Vol. 1: Purple Crayon for Opperman's own Purple Cow label. The album featured a mixture of pop/rock stylings and some of Oppy's more challenging, thoroughly composed, and sometimes dazzling instrumentals.
After graduating, Opperman moved to Los Angeles, maintaining his relationship with Keneally. Keneally served as producer on Opperman's second album, Klavierstücke (2000), a strictly solo piano affair with a mixture of exquisitely played compositions and improvisations. At the same time, Oppy was drafted for Keneally's eight-piece version of Beer for Dolphins, where Opperman played trumpet and just a bit of piano for the recording Dancing. For the next couple years, Opperman sought a musical place for himself in Los Angeles and tried to put a band together, while working at Universal Music Publishing Group.
In 2003, things started to pan out, with his band Special Opps starting to get gigs in the L.A. area. Also in 2003, Keneally was commissioned to compose a work for guitar and orchestra by the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra, and Opperman served as co-orchestrator and copyist for both the concert and subsequent recording. Following that, Opperman was asked by Steve Vai to serve in the same capacity, as Vai got a similar commission. In addition to orchestrating, Opperman is slated to be a performer in that project as well. All this has transpired in addition to Opperman writing for and performing with his own band, with an eye to release Concepts of Non-Linear Time in 2004.