Chapter 35: Foresight, Time travel and Growing Up

 

Photo Credit: Ponbee

 

I turned 35 about three weeks ago.

It’s such a perfect number, 35.

When you’re 35, people can’t seem to figure out if you’re young or old.

I mean, you’re young enough to still rock jeans and hoodies like it’s your birthright without looking or feeling like a creep.

It’s the zenith of childhood – you can get away with sleepovers, movie marathons and pizza for breakfast and dinner.

But it’s also the zen zone of adulthood – you’ve sort of made peace with the responsibilities that ship with being an adult, you’ve been at it for a few years and learned a few tricks along the way.

Age has made you a bit weary but not enough to make you cynical or bitter.

Yeah, 35 is the prime of life!

This year, I’ve been meditating a lot about foresight. How powerful a gift it can be. There’s a reason why it’s the stuff of legends, movies and the stock market.

Then we also have time travel, which is kinda like hindsight on steroids. Writers sure love their wish fulfillment!

I found myself thinking a lot about where I was mentally, physically, financially about 15 years ago (I was 20).

I was at such a low, it was impossible to envision a better future. If ever there was a time I needed foresight, it would be then.

If I ever got a time machine, that exact period would be my first stop.

However, sci-fi has taught us that changing the past leads to unforeseen consequences, and truth be told, my life is awesome enough today not to want to change a single thing.

So rather than changing the past, I’d rather just go back and give myself a pep talk.

I wrote a fictional story on how that conversation would go.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I liked writing it!

 

——

 

Ping!

Me: Hey kid. I only got a couple of minutes with you. You there?

Client 020: Sorry who this?

Me: Let’s just say a stranger from the future

Client 020: Riiiiiight. I’m gonna block you now.

Me: Okay, wait! Your mom’s middle name is Anna and your first ever crush was Linda, right?

Client 020: [shock emoji] Whoa! Okay, that’s creepy.

Me: Not if you’re messaging yourself from the future. Hi stranger! [😁😁]

Client 020: Hmmm, okay. I’ll bite. How does this work?

Me: Well, I won a free Timechat promo and it expires tomorrow. So…

Client 020: Nice. I guess my hunch about us being lucky with raffles still works after so many years. Remember that raffle we won when we in primary school? How much was the prize again? 100k?

Me: [😂] Ode. We won a bike. You still dont believe it’s me? Gosh was I always this skeptical?!!

Client 020: Lol. okay I believe you now. What’s up man? And what’s going on in the future?

Me: I err.. Can’t tell you that. Like, I literally can not. If I type any specifics about the future, the app immediately deletes it.

 

Me: [⛔] Message automatically deleted

Me: [⛔] Message automatically deleted 

 

Me: See? I just tried sending you the winners of the last 2 World Cups.

Client 020: Haha that’s unfortunate. So what exactly can you tell me?

Me: Well, I know mom’s really sick right now. And things are really bad.

Client 020: Yeah…

Me: And I know this is probably one of the scariest times of your life. I remember it was just a few days after our 20th birthday the sickness started.

Client 020: Yeah, day before yday. Her sudden fever is scary baba. And we’re broke so cant buy her drugs. Cant buy food sef.

Client 020: Just tell me she’ll be fine. That’s what counts right now man.

Me: Okay, so I still had leftovers from mom’s birthday cake yesterday.

 

Timechat: Send gifts over the timeline. Click here to order customised cakes from a vendor near you.

 

Me: Argh! Sorry for the ads. I’m using the free version of the app is why.

Client 020: Whoa! For reals? Mom I mean. That means she’s still alive. Thank you thank you thank you!

Me: Yeah, we actually all turn out great. Mom, sis, even your big head eventually gets sense.

Client 020: LOOL. That’s fantastic! Say how’s Yemisi? Did she eventually say yes?

Me: Lmao! I forgot I was still crushing hard on Yemisi at your age. Kai! Wo, even if she did, I’m not married currently.

Client 020: Whoa! Why the hell not? Wait, are we divorced? Hei God! [emoji]

Me: Nah, yet to be married. And currently still single. But it’s either this year or next. I can feel it, trust me.

Client 020: Okay. So, 35, single, and a badass writer.

Me: How did you know I was a writer?

Client 020: I didn’t. I was just guessing. I figured since the app didnt allow you tell me stuff, I can guess and you’ll just confirm. Which you just did!

Me: Clever!

Client 020: I’m sure you see the irony in saying that to me [😏]

 

Timechat: You have less than 3 minutes remaining

 

Client 020: Whoops! Time’s almost gone. What else can you tell me?

Me: Let me see… Well, we love our “writerly” job. The pay is good and your team is great.

Me: You’re gonna feel loss in a deep way when you’re 29. Don’t worry, it’s not mom. But it will hurt almost as bad.

Client 020: Ah! Maybe you should stop…

Me: You’re gonna be quite confused in your 20s. Like, a lot!

Me: But 29, you’ll hit a breakthrough and your life begins to make sense.

Client 020: Guy, you no dey hear word abi. I said…

Me: And, I think in a few weeks, the most important thing that’s gonna happen to you, is gonna happen to you. You’re gonna…

 

Timechat: Chat closed. Thank you for using Timechat. Enter another coupon code to resume the conversation.

 

P.S. In a few weeks, after a series of incredible events, ‘Client 020’ is going to walk into a church and accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal Saviour.

It does change everything!

 

————————————————

Thank you for reading. Here’s to Chapter 35!

Backspace – A Short Story

backspace

Hello again.

Twice in one month, right? Well, it’s Christmas. Season of giving et al.

Just wanted to upload a short, short story (that’s not a typo) I entered into a competition some years ago. It got longlisted. But it didn’t make the shortlist. When you read it, you’ll probably see why. LOL.

The story is along my genre – science fiction.

Enjoy.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

I checked my timepiece, making sure for the hundredth time that I’d configured it properly.

Then I leapt off the balcony of my apartment, 30 stories up. A one-way, express ride to the bottom.

I felt giddiness tear through my body. I was falling, flying, free at last.

I’d read so much about this moment, the fear that grips the heart just before taking the leap, the helplessness as your body darts through the air like an eel in the savanna, your body rumbling in exhilaration as you race to your own death.

Maybe it’s the perverse rush of adrenaline, but every book I’d read about this was right. As you fall, everything becomes clear. You think straight. Your memory works right.

And I was gaining speed.

Thoughts ran through my mind like a train trying to make up for lost time.

I thought of my wife and the first time I saw her, smiling her disarming smile.

Lara.

She was singing at the karaoke bar with her friends, so full of life, and showing off the longest, firmest legs I’d ever seen.

Athlete legs.

I remembered how anxious I was when I approached and offered to buy her and her friends a drink. I probably had more adrenaline coursing through my blood stream that day than right now as I fall to my death.

I remembered our first hug, first kiss, the first time I knew I loved her, and the first time I told her; the way she feigned shock and said nothing. I remember my glee when I found the “I love you too” note she’d slipped into my pocket later that night.

I remembered watching her walk down the aisle towards me, firm short steps, her smile still as captivating as ever. She was my soulmate. Everything about her screamed it.

I was shooting through the air now, and the train wasn’t letting up.

The memories came in flashes now.

I saw us having our first fight. I saw the fights get worse.

I saw the first time I hit her; also saw the first time I hit too hard. I felt the shame that coursed through me when she returned home from the hospital, limping.

It’s my fault she’ll never run again. I’m the villain in her fairytale.

In a few minutes, I’ll hit the ground and make a mess, my brains will probably make the front page of the PM news.

Good.

Every brochure on timejumping you’ll ever read never tells you what the final seconds of your life will be like.

My account is probably the first on record. So you’re lucky to be reading this.

Just before hitting the ground, I felt myself ripped into what felt like a thousand tiny parts. Then all of a sudden, I was watching my body fall, like I had walked out of my own body. For a moment, I was in two places. And then none.

The next thing I knew, I was on a bed, couldn’t move. And I was also naked – I could feel a draught all over my nether-regions.

I could also hear voices.

Robots.

Cool, so I didn’t have to be embarrassed. Not like I wasn’t comfortable naked. I had reasons to be confident. But let’s not get into that.

“What time is on his timepiece?”

“February 25, 2010.”

“Client is ready. Prepare to reload him into time stream.”

The next thing I felt before everything went black was the feeling of being churned and then spread thin.

………………………….

25 Febraury, 2010.

Lara was celebrating, having the time of her life. Her ten months of training had finally paid off – a slot on the track team and a shot at the gold at the Commonwealth Games in April. She was rocking out with her friends on the karaoke stage, singing her heart out.

They belted out song after song till the customers in the bar started giving them the stink eye.

Finally, the girls made their way to their table. Food and wine covered the table but they hadn’t ordered anything. Lara gave the waiter a puzzled look.

“Courtesy of the Oga at the bar,” he said pointing.

A handsome young man sat at the bar, smiling. Then he raised his glass and mouthed “cheers”.

Lara and her friends mirrored him, raising their glasses as well.

Lara looked at the table again. It was filled with all her favorites. Even the wine. Especially the wine.

She looked at the man again. He smiled at her. Then he got up and walked away, not looking back.

“Who’s that guy?”

“I don’t know. But I have this weird feeling I’m supposed to.”

[END]

Grieve: A Short Story

Grieve Short Story

Hello.

It’s been a while. As we wrap up 2016, and as things wind down (or wind up, if you’re the type who attends every end of the year party you’re invited to), it’s time to put some thoughts to paper.

In the coming days, I will be sharing some thoughts about 2016, the highs, the lows and many lessons learned – professionally and personally.

Till then, here’s something just for you.

Today’s post is a short story I wrote about two years ago. I honestly don’t know what I was passing through when I wrote it. I hope you like it. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

……………………………………………..

Her window pane rattled.

It had been so long since Femi threw pebbles at her window. Almost three months.

She smiled.

She ran down to meet him, throwing herself on his neck, as his arms slid around her, driving all the months of loneliness away. The same loneliness that the soap operas, the ice-cream and her friends had failed to expel.

She pulled back slightly, looking into his eyes. She leaned in to kiss him.

But he pulled away from her.

Fear shot through her, setting off her alarms.

“Do you have a girlfriend?” She asked him.

“No.” The question confused him. “Do you?”

She shook her head. Still puzzled she said, “I’m trying to kiss you dummy. So why did you pull away…?”

Femi smiled. “I just want to see you. I haven’t seen you in so long”. She laughed, an easy laugh, a farewell to the hell of the last 3 months as he lifted her and spun her round and round.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“We can’t continue this way. How long will you be gone this time?”

She was lying down on the couch, her head in his lap as he ran his hands through her braids.

“About 4 months.”

Her heart sank.

“I can’t wait that long again.”

She’s lying. She will. She knows she will.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Black.

It’s curious how it’s called the color of death.

The dead don’t see. They can’t appreciate the solemnity of a funeral.

The crowd of bodies arrayed in black, attendees at the solemn event desperately holding onto every bit of memory of the deceased. The sight of the coffin being lowered earlier in the day was a glaring revelation of their own mortality.

She stood in the corner, trying her best to look inconspicuous. Probably shouldn’t have worn the heels though. Her yellow is the kind that always gets attention and the heels made her fair legs ride high, a sharp contrast to her black dress.

Eyes glanced regularly her way. Experience had taught her where to look when people stared at her. But experience rarely teaches us how to deal with loss. Is there even a way to deal with it?

Strange thing about funerals. Grief and loss wear out the heart but company makes it a little bit bearable and these people were milking every ounce of respite from one another. A symbiotic gathering, if there ever was one.

Her heart was the only one which stood out, unable to connect with the room of strangers. It kept shattering and aching viciously in a looping vacuum.

She didn’t know who to talk to. She had no one. She was an unknown.

Femi’s mother stood in the corner, fighting back the tears while Femi’s sister gave her moral support. Femi’s friends and other family members filled out the room. They made small talk, exchanged condolences, gathered in small circles.

She caught someone looking at her, a man. He had the look in his eye, as if he maybe recognized her, however unlikely. Nobody knew her. She’d never met anyone in Femi’s family, never been introduced to anyone in his life, not even his friends.

She’d been his best kept secret.

When she finally decided she’d had as much as she could take, she headed for Femi’s mother to pay her respects.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” she said.

Femi’s mom blinked away tears. “Thank you my daughter. I don’t know you. Were you friends with him?”

“Yes, I knew him,” she wasn’t sure how or if to proceed further. “He was an amazing person.”

The mother nodded, managing a smile.

Lara left immediately after. When she got into her car, the noise of the world outside faded. She was now all alone.

And then almost in slow motion, her face broke into ugly tears, her countenance mirroring her heart after so long.

The tears flowed freely.

And the weight pressed her down and pressed her hard, pressed her till she couldn’t stay up anymore. She lowered her head till it rested on the steering wheel.

The car’s blaring horn and her wails were her farewell ode to the love of her life.

END