Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?
I know this is all very late, a whole week late in fact and that’s unacceptable for the “Daily Post” tag. My previous post was also a late Daily Post but hey these ideas are gold and in all honesty I was thinking about them the day I got them it was just a matter of sitting down to write ’em out that didn’t work out so well.
The first thing I thought of when I read this post was the idea of regret. With a choice like this I don’t care about the future as much as I do about rectifying the past. So this short is about what I would do if I had a One-Way Time Machine.
I glanced at the crack running across my phone screen and wondered if maybe I shouldn’t have gone back a bit further to prevent such an atrocity. The light from the lamp post I was parked under amplified the deep lines straggling across the surface of the screen. The fleeting thought disappeared with the darkening of my phone screen as I edged the button on the side to lock it. 5:40PM I was early. That was good, since I had a tendency of never being on time – a waste should I not arrive in time to prevent myself from doing something far more abominable than cracking my phone screen.
Now that I’ve had time to think about it, and not only see but experience the consequences of my actions, I can’t believe how stupid I was. I mean this is not even dumb preteen me or immature teen me but not thinking straight a-few-months-ago me. Was it a waste going back a few months rather than a few years and rectifying all of that? I guess you could but all those somewhat small mistakes could never truly change the bigger event that was about to happen or rather, that was happening. Are we not doomed to make those mistakes because it’s in our very nature? Ignorance? Self sufficiency. Efficacy. Training our minds to pick up signs of those particular goals and interests and regardless of what comes our way we push through until we get what we want? Well then if I deny a future version of myself and continue on this doomed path then you could say I deserved it. Destiny or a preordained event, it was all the same.
I turned the radio on. The competition that was running was familiar but more than that my ears echoed as though I was hearing it twice. My lips twitched, moved on their own,
“The answer is obviously One Direction, there is no other boy band like them duh.”
~ the answer is One Direction. Their latest single Best Song Ever… ~
“So their song is not the best song ever…I wonder what song they were listening to. Rather ironic.” My lips spoke. I realized that this was obviously my past self talking to himself on the way home. Why would I be reacting to him that way…this wasn’t something that happened in Time Travel movies. Or maybe this was the whole Personal Interaction theory that would cause the world to implode or whatever if I meet my past self. Well there was only one way to find out and that time was soon, another five minutes and my past self would be driving by; that’s when we’ll test the theory.
Sure enough five minutes later I saw my vehicle sweep around the corner at a rather unsettling rate, swerve back onto the proper lane and roll past me just as I pulled off. Music blared from the open window, an arm hung out with the hand tapping against the side of the car at the same time as the beat. Even though this was a few months ago, I felt far older than the younger man driving ahead of me. This was the moment of truth however, the changing of a past to rectify my future.
The car came to a stop outside the unpaved front entrance of a slightly dilapidated household, a familiar sight that immediately wrung my chest with anger and shame. I sped onto the grassy area, blocking his path off and leaping out the car as soon as it was at a stand still.
“Listen bud, this is a big mistake. The euphoria or whatever you are feeling right now, is nothing compared to…”
“The feeling you are going to experience when all this comes crashing down.” we both finished at the same time.
“I know.” he added. Staring at myself inside the rather untidy car with papers all over the seat felt unsettling. Was this really me? Can a few months do that to someone.
“So why are you here?” I asked him
“Because I have to be…”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, time travel is a funny thing. You see, future me…us, rocked up just as I left the house, told me ‘No matter who tells you what, do what you planned to do today. You must.’ and now here you are telling me not to do it. Well, I have to listen to older more bearded me than you.”
My throat clicked as I swallowed, I could tell he could tell that my brain was working out how to process what he was saying. In my silence he continued,
“Ok. So as far as I can deduce…which we are so good at yeah… we either have this amazing ability to time travel which we discover later on, or our future selves are being given a single chance to go back in time and rectify that one thing that they assume is the worst.” He looked up at me then, and feeling his discomfort in my own discomfort, I stepped back to let him get out of the car so that we were standing facing each other. He needed a shave.
“For some weird reason, this particular day is the day that we all want to fix. Either we doom ourselves by continuing in whatever I’m supposed to do today or we doom our future selves by not doing what I’m supposed to do today. I think you will agree with me that a suffering now is better than a suffering we must both await. And judging by the message future us sent, it seems whatever he experiences is by far worse than what I’m about to experience now.” The attitude in how he said it and the rising emotion in my chest no doubt experienced by him, had my fist clench in anger at his cockiness. He continued.
“By you stopping me here, outside this particular house, I think I know what it is I’m not supposed to do which I’m going to do anyway because I’m supposed to do it to prevent future future future us from coming back here and trying to change it too.”
“Surely I can change whatever has happened!”
“We are predestined to these choices. All the smaller choices we make lead us right back here, every good and bad choice leads us here. Human responsibility or not… it’s supposed to happen.”
“When did you get so wise?” I finally said, exasperated.
“I didn’t. You’ve known this all along and have fought to change the past when you can’t. The lesson you must learn is acceptance and content. Let me go make my mistake, let me go suffer and let that teach future me a lesson he won’t forget, being stronger for it.” I looked at myself, aware of so many things all at once. He was right, of course, who would I be if every wrong I fixed was rectified? Would I be perfect? No, not when the ability to be imperfect was nestled so deeply within me that I would always have that one point in time I would want to go back to. Where then does my hope lie? What then am I to do with this irreversible past?
Well that story is not at all what I had in my mind when I began this tale. Uhm what did you make of it? Hit me up in the comments.
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