Where are We Now is a retelling of Heroes. Both songs look back at Bowie’s time in Berlin. Heroes has a sense of hope and doom, as he acknowledges his time there is coming to an end. Where are We Now is full of quiet bewilderment and something between anger and amusement. He looks back at the time he wasted in the city withannoyance and with an understanding that time meant something different to him when he was younger and felt he had an infinite amount of it.

Despite being one of the most intimate and heartfelt songs in Bowie’s repertoire, there is something else that hit me when I first heard it. It’s the first time that he admits he’s running out of time, but it’s not just the message that suggests his age. His voice is colored with time. It still holds the characteristic richness of his youth but with a slight tremble. The effect isn’t far from Johnny Cash’s rendition of Hurt.It’s a reminder that he is human and just as susceptible to time and mortality as anyone else. Fame can’t - and wouldn’t - save him.

Perhaps that realization hit me so clearly because I was still digging my way out of my father’s brush with mortality. This was two years after the accident but I would still breakdown at every ambulance on the highway or find myself in a frenzy whenever a car got too close to a motorcycle. Emotionally, I was unbalanced. Maybe because the accident didn’t just happen, it was perpetual. My father is not the same as he was before. The accident is a marker and time is divided into a before and after.

The “severe mixing of the grey and white matter” meant that the doctors couldn’t predict how he would be after he woke up. Theoretically and rationally I understand what that level of brain trauma meant, but no amount of academic research can prepare you for the experience of it. Suddenly, the man who taught me how to draw using only shading and all about the life cycles of every wildflower in New Hampshire was struggling to sort a deck of cards into suits. Suddenly, he couldn’t recognize me as an individual, just the general look of my features as being clearly “one of the cousins.”