Weekly Writing - Don't Change A Thing
I opened the door to silence. This wasn’t typical. My mother had been running a daycare center out of the house since I was in diapers. There was always something going on at home, just not today.
I went to the kitchen and dropped my books on the table, ignoring for the moment that I had homework to do. First day of school, Freshman year, and I had homework. Welcome to high school.
I stood in the kitchen for a moment, wondering where everyone was. It’s possible that Mom could have gone to the store, but why not wait until the kids had all gone home? Why take the kids with her?
“This kids left early, Mom went to the store,” a voice said behind me.
I turned to find a large man standing in the entrance to the kitchen. Large as in fat. Not like super obese or anything, but he was bigger than me, and I’m a pretty round dude. There was something familiar about the guy, and he had one awesome beard.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Okay, yeah, nice answer, you’re about three seconds away from 9-1-1.”
“I’m serious. I’m you, twenty-three years from now.”
Have you ever noticed that when faced with the same situation, a character on television will take news of this sort with a rational calm. They are willing to talk it out, ask them questions, find out for sure if this person is really telling the truth.
Well, reality is much different. First off, I’m not ashamed to admit that I peed my pants a little. My next move was to run. I may have screamed like a girl as well, but I can’t be certain. I was a little too occupied with fleeing in terror for my life from a psychopath.
“I’m not going to chase you,” the stranger called from behind me. “I don’t like to run.”
I made it from the kitchen and down the stairs to the family room, hoping to go out the back door, which I almost did, but stopped when he shouted again.
“That scar, on your elbow. You got that when Bill cut you with the hedge clippers!”
Bill was my older brother and he certainly did try to cut off my elbow with a pair of hedge clippers. Only not on purpose.
“Bill was chasing you through the house, trying to scare you with those hedge clippers,” the man said, standing at the top of the stairs and looking down at me. “And it worked. You were scared. He chased you into Mom and Dad’s bathroom. You dropped to the ground between the toilet and the shower and he stood over you, laughing his ass off and opening and closing those hedge clippers like a pair of giant scissors. You raised your arm up to shield your face, elbow sticking out, and that’s when it happened. You bled and cried, but in the end Bill was way more scared then you, because Bill didn’t mean it. He was just playing around.”
“I’ve told that story to a lot of people,” I said.
“True, but I do know a thing or two that you’ve never told anyone.”
Then he proceeded to tell me. He went on about my secret desires, my fears, basically everything about me that no one else knows. As he talked, he walked slowly down the steps and I started to take a real good look at him. There was something in his eyes. Something … familiar.
Then it hit me. Looking at this guy standing before me. Looking into his eyes. It felt like all the times I looked at myself in the mirror, only the reflection wasn’t reversed this time.
“I don’t understand,” I said, just before I fainted.
When I woke, my future self was crouched over me, holding a cold rag to my head.
“I thought I might have to call 9-1-1,” he said sheepishly. “I’ve never had anyone pass out on my before. I’m not really sure what I was supposed to be doing.”
I stood. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, it’s really not that complicated of a story. I found myself with the opportunity to visit with my younger self and I jumped on it.”
We moved over to the couch and sat.
“Doesn’t really matter. I’m supposed to be here to give you advice about your love life in hopes that maybe you might do something different or avoid someone that I should have avoided.”
“Wait, I have a love life?”
“So what do I do? Who should I go after? Who should I avoid? What am I doing wrong now?”
He just smiled and sat back.
“Look, here’s the best advice I can give you. Don’t change a thing.”
“Wait, what? Why?”
“Because, eventually you’re gonna to meet the love of your life and I don’t want you messing with that.”
“The love of my life?” I smile. “So, like what, I end up in love and everything’s all perfect and stuff?”
He laughed. “Oh, no. Nothing’s perfect. You two are going to have your problems. You’ll have some big problems, but here’s the thing, those problems help make the two of you who you are.”
“So, what … am I, I mean, are you happy?”
“You bet your ass I am,” he smiled again.
“So, that’s it then? You didn’t have to come back and tell me not to change anything. I mean, I just would have kept doing what I’m doing, right?”
“That’s true. But I really just wanted to tell you that I know you have it tough when it comes to the girls, and I’d like to tell you that it’s going to get better very soon. But it’s just not going to.”
“Oh, wow, yeah … thanks for that.”
“Look, what I mean is that you’re going to have your heart broken over and over again, but then you’re going to meet her and all that crap is going to be forgotten. Trust me. It may feel like a long, tough road at the time, but in the end it’s all going to be worth it when you meet her.”
I could see in his eyes that it was true. He had the same look in his eyes that my dad did when he talked to my mom.
“So what’s her name? How will I know when I meet her?”
“You’ll know, trust me. You’ll know.”
We sat in silence for a bit. I’ve always felt pretty comfortable with silence.
“So, what now?" I asked my future self.
"Well, I'm here for another forty-five minutes. I can't go back until then."
"You want to watch some Monty Python?”
“Heck yeah,” he says.
storydam.com which said: "You are given a unique opportunity to go back and talk to a much younger you. What would you tell them about an old flame? And better yet—why?"
I went way over the 600 word minimum ... I just couldn't help myself.