Time travel is not real. At least that's what people tell me. I'm not one to believe in deep theories or go into long discussions into what our world will look like in the future. I am all about living life in the moment. But sometimes when I looked in the mirror, I wondered how I'd be like, 50 years from now. I'd be around 70 or so. Most importantly, I would like to know, how I would be remembered by those who know me. Would I be remembered for being a good person, or for being someone who took life for granted?
I had no idea why I was thinking this, as I stood in line at Starbucks to get coffee. It was so random, but now that I thought about it. I then looked around, I couldn't help but wonder how everyone in my vicinity would be like years later. Now young college students, would they later turn out to be something completely different?
I brushed this thought aside, as I exited Starbucks, after getting my latte. I made my way to the local park, where I sat down at a bench, for a good 5 minutes. As I looked in front of me, I could see through my peripheral vision, someone sit next to me, on the same bench. One of my pet peeves. When there were so many other benches, someone had to sit right where I was sitting. I turned my head to see who it was. I saw it was an old man. He looked around 80. He had a walking stick. I softened a bit. I felt bad for being annoyed, a few seconds ago. As I observed him, he looked back at me.
"Want a taffy?" he asked, flashing a toothless smile, while holding out a light blue candy, wrapped in plastic.
"Sure," I said, politely, taking the taffy. I guess this was a nice gesture by him. I opened up the plastic and stuffed the whole thing in my mouth. Big mistake. It was hard to chew everything at once. My teeth started to hurt after a while.
Finally I finished chewing the taffy. I looked to my right to find that the old man had vanished. How strange, I thought.
All of a sudden I felt dizzy, Like something overtook me, and was making me faint. I clutched my head, trying to get the light headed feeling out. But it got worse. I then fainted.
I woke up with a start. I noticed I was in a large room, lying down in a very fancy bed. The linens of the bed was white, and the sheets I was sleeping on was ultra soft and comfortable. And the pillows were light to the touch. Where was I? This was definitely not my apartment.
I got up. I opened the bedroom door to see if anyone else was there. There was no one. I then walked down the spiral stairs. When I reached the bottom, what I saw made me gasp. There was a woman (who looked oddly familiar) in her 60's talking with a younger man, who looked to be in his late 20's. They stood in the foyer of the house. I looked again at the old woman. Then my heart stopped.
This woman was my sister!
Except, my sister was 16 years old. But this woman had the same facial features, except her hair was grey, and cut short. Unlike my sister now, who had jet black hair. She wore a heavy sweater, instead of a baggy t-shirt and shorts that my sister usually wore. This woman was my sister alright. Except for the fact that she was old. But why was she old? And who's the man with her?
She continued to talk to the man, oblivious of me standing right in front of her. " It's been so long since I've seen you. It's like you visit here once every blue moon."
The man looked down. "I'm sorry mother, but--"
Hold up... 'Mother'?! This man was her son? Was I in my sister's house, in the future? Had I really time traveled or something? What the heck? This was getting too bizarre for me.
The man continued, "-- I've been so busy. I was barely able to make it here, to see you."
She scoffed. "What are you busy with, gambling, as usual? I wonder what Lydia has to say about that."
"Lydia is no longer in the picture," the man said, looking down.
My sister put her hands up in a sarcastic way. "Ah, just great. Now she's out of your life. Who will it be next? You know, I thought you would be married by now. But no, you are still a play boy. You'll never change. You know how embarrassing it is to tell everyone that my son is still not married yet?"
"I'm sorry, mother--"
"I told you always. Don't be like my sister. But of course, you're heading to the same path she took. And look where she is now!"
I was stunned. What was she talking about? What path did I chose? She could only be referring to me, as I was her only sister.
"Yeah, but that's different. At least I recognize who's isn't the right one for me, before hand, unlike your sister. Lydia was not the right girl for me, and I knew that before it was too late. And at least I didn't break up my engagement at the last minute and then proceed to destroy another person's marriage, when all along, I could have been with the person who secretly liked me!"
My sister rolled her eyes. "That's ancient history. I don't want to get into that. But I don't want you becoming like her, living all alone with two dogs."
I gasped. First of all, I was shocked to see this future version of my sister and my future nephew. I never imagined my sister to be the one to give others advice. I always knew her as the immature younger sister, who didn't know anything. And here she was, advising her son? Makes me think how time changes us. And now going back to me, were they describing how my future was really going to turn out? Rejecting my fiance and then destroying another marriage? And who was the person who liked me? I had to know.
"Excuse me? Hello?" I asked both of them. The two didn't look in my direction. They continued talking. I waved my hands in front of them, but they didn't heed to my gestures. It was like I was invisible to them. Oh my god! I thought! I really have time traveled to the future! Look at what my sister and her son (my nephew) are talking about me! I don't want to be living all alone with two dogs! That should not be my life, in the future. I want a family, kids... Overall, a happy ending. Not what my sister described.
I listened to their conversation a bit more.
My sister said, "I hope you won't be living with two dogs. I hope I see you with a wife. You're almost 30. Your father would have wanted to see you get married."
The man crossed his arms. "I don't think so. Marriage isn't for me. But for father's sake, I will try to change my ways."
"Better do so," she said sadly, walking to the kitchen. I followed her. She was cooking, actually cooking something. Lasagna and gravy. Last time I knew, she couldn't cook to save her life.
"I made some lasagna. Take some on the road when you leave," she said to her son.
He joined her in the kitchen. "Thanks! And I'm sorry if I'm disappointing you. I don't want to be that person who will be remembered for not being a good person."
"Like my sister..." she muttered, as she quietly packed a slice of lasagna and put it in a plastic container.
I couldn't help but cry. I didn't want to be remembered for being someone with bad luck in my relationships, and being the butt of jokes to my sister, but apparently that's what was written in my future.
I went upstairs to the bedroom and laid down. I closed my eyes.
When I woke up, I was back on the park bench. I looked around, in a clueless manner. Where was I again? I saw the old man sitting next to me, again.
"Like it?" he asked me, flashing his toothless smile again.
"Huh?" I asked, confused.
Like it?" he repeated, pointing to the taffy wrapper in my hands. Right, the taffy he gave me.
"Yeah. It was really good. Thank you for it." I smiled at him. He then got up and walked away. I didn't bother to ask what his name was. And most importantly, what was in that taffy he gave me. My head still hurt from whatever just happened. Was I really back to the present time, as normal?
I knew I was back to the present time, when I saw someone walk towards me.
It was Lucas. My apartment neighbor. I think he liked me, but I wasn't sure how I felt about him, in return. He smiled as approached me.
"Hello stranger," he greeted.
"Hello stranger," I said back.
"It feels so good to see you back again, how long has it been..." he sang. I laughed. I loved that song. It was by Yvonne Elliman.
"Feels like a mighty long time..." I sang back. I then remembered-- was Lucas the person that my future nephew was referring to, as the person I should have been with, who secretly liked me? If I pursued something with Lucas, then everything else listed in my future, would never occur. I took his hand as we walked around the park.
That night he asked me to have dinner with him. Ordinarily, I would have refused, but today, I agreed.
I am all about living life in the moment. But sometimes when I looked in the mirror, I wondered how I'd be like, 50 years from now.
After today, I had my answer.