It took me three seconds to realize after being awaken how much colder it was today. I took a quick glance outside the window and the most of the streets was white covered in snow. Later the freezing silence was broken by my alarm clock which sounded as multiple owls hoot. Being a successful scientist I should not be this much late. It took me some time to decide whether to get shower or not, But then I made my way to the bathroom and had a quick morning shower. I took no much time in packing my old bag and tried to empty it, my old books from college and some pieces of paper. I also found a note saying ‘don’t take your feet off the ground’ I did not remember this note and I also couldn’t figure it out but couldn’t do so. So I replaced everything with my laptop, a charger, and couple of books inside my bag and place a toasted sandwich into my mouth and shut the it door behind.
I had no valid reasons to stay home in this holidays I had a bit when my wife was around but we don’t see each other much these days as she lives with her mom.
The street was empty at Christmas morning and the cold freezing wind wouldn’t let me unfold my hands. everyone else was home spending holidays with family but I haven’t celebrated Christmas with my family since last 7 years. It is not that much exciting for a 41 year older me. I never get time for my family which lives in Westminster.
So as usual I reached the lab on time and witnessed very few of my colleagues were present to spend another busy day without picking up any phone calls or voice mails.
“not going home again? Alex”. Asked Christopher (my colleague)
“Nah, got to work on another paper” I replied.
“again ignoring your mother’s calls?
“she stopped calling”
“I miss being home Alex, I wish I could go back in my 20s” uttered Christopher.
“spooky! In my 20s all I was worried about the rumor of that time booth machine, that’s how I used to spend Christmas”
We both break into laughter.
I received few congratulation at work for publishing a research
paper and even got some ‘woo-hoos’ and ‘well dones’, after
spending a cheerful day I was off to home. I saw some
youngsters singing ‘merry Christmas’ and a child stretching his
mother’s shrug asking ‘what Santa will gift him this year’ I
directly followed the path to subways as the cab would be harder
to find. The street was messy with people, I was halfway across
the street and felt a hard metal on my right thigh which flipped
me down to head first, everything went blur to black but I could
still hear giant honks and people babbling.
No sooner did I woke up than I found a blonde man of my age, with a pair of brown eyes gazing at me.
“how are you feeling now lad” he asked.
It took me moment to swallow that ‘lad’ word coming out of
man with same number grey hairs as mine.
“much better” I said. As I noticed I was wearing a hospital’s dress. “where am I?”
“ST. Johnson’s Hospital, your friends brought you here last night” he said. I had to rethink if a St Johnson’s were nearby anywhere, it knew one but it was back in Westminster, the place I left 18 years ago.
“My friends?” I stumble on to my feet looking for my clothes “you must be mistaken I don’t had any friend around while the crash”.
“they claimed to be your friends” he said, puzzled. “named, Harper and Smith.
Hearing the names I felt my heart pounding faster than ever.
“not possible, Harper and Smith were my friends, one died and other moved to Japan”. I muttered.
With my statement the doctor definitely looked puzzled and as if he would suggest to stay another day in for some more treatment. But I discharged and hurried towards home, maybe that doctor has gone mad and speaking random names as joke, but it seemed a rare possibility for this to happen. I asked for my bag but the doctor simply shrugged and shook his head. As I stepped out the snow outside was melted already and it didn’t even felt like winter, the sun was sending it’s warm and instead of wearing triples, people were walking in shorts and cotton. I wondered if this is a dream so pinched myself but the world stayed still. I was mystified by the surroundings, am I dreaming?
Or have I slept the next three months? I was baffled with some mysterious thoughts.
I walked down to the streets everything looked familiar but these streets and trees belonged in somewhere else where I’ve lived I haven’t seen this in last 8 years, I was definitely in Westminster. that can be sorted out, the biggest problem to me was, when I crashed with a car last night it was winter and I woke up in a sun heating weather. How can a summer comes overnight? And how is Harper still alive?. I did not know what to do next, where should I go.
I could only go to one place from here and that is somewhere I did not visit in last seven years, to my parents. I ran, threw my one leg ahead of another, the sweat rolling downward my forehead. I can see my hands which looked much younger, the scar on my right hand was no more. I could run faster and smoother as if I am still a 20 year old.
A 20 year old?
Is this why that doctor called me a lad?
I slowed down and checked my reflection in a car’s window. Yes it was me, but only younger, my wrinkles were gone, my bag was gone I was back in my 20s. How? I crashed down as 41 year old, how can I travel 20 years back in time? Or I was always 20 and just dreamt of being 41 and a successful scientist.
It can’t be
I’ve earned my life, and now it has all gone In An overnight.
I did not knew what to do next, how to go back where I belong. I checked my pocket and found my cell, I hurried and dial one of my colleague but by network could not reach him or any other colleague. I had no solutions of going back to home, all I have from my time is my cell.
It was dusk and headed towards my parents place, there was no chance of my place exist at this time, I didn’t worked hard yet to build it. Few blocks later I could see my old home where I spent my childhood and teenage, I see my mother in the yard waiting for something. And as being a 20 years old I quickly realized she was waiting for me, she was younger than I last saw her, less grey hairs and she had no walking stick in her hand. Few seconds later she caught my stare and put both of fist on the either side of her waist and gazed at me with anger.
I remember this day when I was actually 20.
I had a car crash in my 20s as well but I did not remembered what happened next at that time. I had no memory after that crash, But it was all making sense now, this gave me a glimpse of hope that maybe all this will make sense one by another.
I moved in saying nothing, but listening to my mother’s high pitched voice shouting on me. Few minutes later after scolding she served me her best food which I’ve never tasted in last seven years and it was as delicious as ever. I didn’t sleep for the next hour, wondering how will I figure out all of the happenings, one reckless road cross has cost me my 20 years.
I heard the door bell and went down, it was my father. He was too less older and have less grey hairs, for a moment I forgot all and lived that second where I saw my family after 7 years, it felt a little nostalgic. I was surprised how I never felt this in last seventeen years.
I remember this day, and I knew what tomorrow will bring, as I have already lived in this time. As I remembered on the next day dad took me and mom to beach, for some family quality time. For once I thought I should tell everything to my parents, but even if they believe me what will I answer when they’ll ask about my real 20s self, so it was better for me to stay mum.
The next as I knew we went to the beach, the sun felt nearest and the sand felt like ashes to walk on. In the past I enjoyed this day but now it was opposite, my dad asked me to swim with him but I didn’t swim as I did actually in the past. Hours passed and the sun seemed drowning under the sea, I moved nearer to see the sunset and by the touch of the water I felt a twist in my stomach. I dived in my pocket for my cell and opened the voice mails which I received 24 hours ago on the day of Christmas, it was 8 voice messages I missed 7 of them were from my mother and the last one was from Stacey, my wife.
I opened on my mom’s first voice mail
Dear son, I know you are quite busy but I feel deep sorrow to inform you that your father is no more with us. We have arranged a funeral on Saturday. Hope you will stop by.
I run all the messages all have the same message regarding my father’s passing away. My hand loses the grip of my cell, tears roll down to my cheeks and disappear in the ocean. I felt heavy and broke down. I spun around and saw my past father chilling with my mother and smiling, in that moment I visualized what I’ve missed in last 17 years, the love of family, from which I was going farther away. All these years when I should be taking care of my family all I thought was my own self and the work which I adored. But today I felt the greatest grief, as if the cloud burst out on me.
I wished I’ve never missed any of the holidays, I wished if I’ve given a little more importance to my mom and dad, now not even science can bring my father back and the time which I wasted being away from him and mom.
I run from there in grief, pushing my legs harder as if the pain will slip out, but it didn’t. The pain was right in my chest pouring from the eyes, regrets were started penetrating my bloody as a poison. I stopped by a wall leaning and my face dropped in my palms.
“Alex, what happened?”
A soft voice passed through. I looked up and even with the blur sight I recognized her immediately, It was Stacey my girlfriend and wife to be.
“Stacey!” It felt I’ve seen a bright star in the darkest night. “it’s nothing just going home” I wiped out my tears. For a second I thought of telling her everything and cry out my life in her arms. She grabbed my hand and pulled me Into her chest, in her
warmth I wondered whether I have taken the wrong way, all this time when I should have been there for my family I kept neglected them, my work had became a drug to me.
I knew what I had to do, I’ve fixed where have I gone wrong, so I rushed back to the home and my mom and dad were in the yard. I jumped the barrier and threw myself into my father’s arms, he patted me with love and so did my mom.
“I love you dad, and mom” I said, my tears were soaking on my father’s shirt. “and I’m sorry”
“It’s alright son, let’s go and talk inside, shall we?” “I’ll be right back dad”
I went inside my house pulled out my bag and a piece of parchment, I wrote a note ‘don’t take your feet off the ground ‘ and left it in the bag.
Once again I ran fast, I didn’t know how long I’m here but before I go I had to see one more person who I’ll miss in future. harper, his death was a trauma to me. I ran towards his place and slowed down once I saw his place and him in the window. I started crossing the street and the next second Brought a great pain on my waist and flipped me down on head first. I could still see the blur faces running towards me and one of them came out of the house which I was going in, a tall handsome boy called my name while I was lying on street going blur and then black.
I woke up the very next minute and felt cold wind through my lungs, I see my hands and the scar was back again I stumble back to my feet and walk towards the sink and looked myself in
a mirror, a middle age man with some grey hairs in beard and hairs and growing wrinkles on the face staring at me. Little did I feel good but the major missing was my father, I hurried out from the hospital and took the cab till the subway and dialed my wife’s number. I couldn’t reach her cell so I left a voice mail.
“Honey, I know its late but I need to talk, meet me at the funeral” I dived in my bag and pulled out a piece of parchment which I didn’t figured out earlier, and now it all made sense. It was note from me to myself.
I rushed down from the cab to the subway.
“one ticket to Westminster abbey”.