arrested expansion

Why are instants of reunion so empty? Perhaps because they are so anticipated, too muffled already at the moment of their coming with every previous imagining to make any mark of their own. They refer backwards, to all the length of time that has refined itself as the prologue to cataclysm, and to all the flawed imaginings themselves, in each of which this moment is strangely dilated, expansive, arrested.
—  Susan Choi, American Woman