And if You Could Alter a Moment in the Past?

“And who wouldn’t want to go back to a specific moment in their past? Relive something so special it’s never left your mind since it was experienced and then lost.”

“And if you could?”

“If I could what? Go back?”

He nodded.

“To any moment in my entire life?”

He nodded again.

“If I did would I be able to change anything? Alter the future I’m now living?”

He nodded yet again.

I studied his face. His luminescent blue eyes remained steady, held what I thought to be a glimmer of humor, or perhaps pleasure…a response to the hint of excitement he heard in my voice.

I suddenly grew apprehensive. “Hell, I don’t know. Could someone die? Me for example?”

He nodded, but his face held his steady amusement.

“Would there by a way for me to know that what I altered would change something? Would I know what the outcome might be…who might die?”

He finally spoke. “You’ve become rather inquisitive. Even sounds like you’re beginning to think my supposition might be feasible.”

I relaxed, grinned, and said, “Guess so, but imagine being able to stop the event that changed everything else in your life after that single event occurred. Stop the pain and suffering that single incident caused.” I began sweating, wiped my brow, and examined the palm of my hand.

“Just out of curiosity, what would you alter?” he asked.

“That’s easy. An act of cowardice.”

“Cowardice?” He frowned. “I’m not sure I follow you. Your record demonstrated that you were a man of courage.”

“My records? Military?”

He went back into his nodding mode.

“Perhaps, but under fire is not the only time when a man might prove to himself, if not others, that he’s not as brave as he’d like to believe.”

“I don’t follow you.”

I looked for a chair. Found an old upholstered one and went to it, dropped onto the cushion. “Relationships are a wonderful place to discover self-doubt, effacing mistakes that make a man wish he’d not been born.”

“Yes,” he said. “I was thinking along those same lines when we started talking about all of this.”

I nodded, but didn’t speak. The memory of her was too vivid, the pain of loss still awful more then a decade later. How it happened? I’d run through a thousand ways a thousand different times. Why? Now that was another story. I’d floundered through the theory that everything happened with good reason, not the least of which is the future. But that’s assuming everything is predestined, that each of us stride boldly through life thinking we know where we’re heading, making the correct decisions to get us there, but in reality none of that kind of thinking is true.

“I don’t know,” I finally said. “I’m honestly not certain I want the present to change in any way.”

He smiled, pressed his hands together in front of his chest as if he was about to pray. His fingertips touched, and he said, “Well, if you change your mind…I’ll be in town a few days. Before I leave, you might want to discuss the topic again.”

I watched him go, wondered just what he’d meant by my wanting to discuss the topic again. I felt I did not want to, need to.

Does he know something I don’t? I asked myself, and then laughed when I heard the fatalistic tone of my question as if I also wondered if speaking with him might’ve been predestined.

Copyright 2018 Gabriel FW Koch all rights reserved

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