A time traveler goes to the place where he was born, it scares him. He comes back here when he can build up enough courage, but every time the sight of the house, the light inside, the life pouring onto the street. It brings fear to his fingers, enough to push the device, to push him back home.
A time traveler goes to the place where his first memories were laid, the orphanage is dark and soulless. The moon casts the right type of shadow, to give the building features, features he hates, where he will also grow to hate. He kicks a piece of gravel; it bounces and skips to then disappear with the pieces just like it. He makes his leave.
A time traveler goes to the place where his one home was closed. He watches his younger self stand in the rain as they stack the items from the orphanage outside. In neat piles, he recalls his want to knock it all down. He laughs. The thought crosses his mind to just stop and adopt his younger self. To give him the childhood he deserved. The complexities of the paradoxes weigh heavy on him, enough so they push the thought out. “Soon enough.” He whispers to his younger self. He vanishes.
A time traveler goes to the place where he first fell in love, the memory isn’t there. He searches the park, he searches the swing sets. He looks for them at the tree where he first kissed her. It is this spot he stops and recalls the events. He was so nervous, palms moist, the coal dust on his pants. She didn’t mind, her father was his boss. He recalls bumping foreheads; he rubs his forehead at the thought. The memory fades as the sun sets. The time traveler has a crisis within himself, he pulls out his device giving the tree one last look.
A time traveler sits with a warm drink in his hand as he stares at his notes. He tries to figure out the timeline- of how he recklessly destroyed some of his fondest memories but left the soul-wrecking one intact. With one heave the desk is on its side and the warm drink on the floor. The time traveler tries to collect the papers on the ground but gives up three to four pages in. He leaves the mess for the morning if this time traveler had one knack it would be cleaning up messes.
A time traveler looks at his past; he is beside himself on what to do next. He pans his memories for moments in time where he could witness something he truly did love. He picks and pushes the papers along as he searches. He finds a small note written in feminine handwriting. He reads over it once, twice, and then decides.
A time traveler goes to the last place where he could find an honest memory. He watches himself make eyes at her. He knows and the other him knows they can’t do anything. A thousand times he recalls. A thousand tries to make it work, but the only one that did wasn’t the one he wanted. The time traveler watches his younger self leave the café. He enters. He recalls this was the last time he could bring himself to come in here. The door bell rings as he walks in. “Forget something?” the women behind the counter asks. The time traveler waits till he is at the counter to respond. “Almost.” He said. He orders a coffee and sits down again, he tries his best to remember how he was able to amaze a woman like her. He pauses before taking a drink from his coffee, thoughts flash in his head. The time traveler stands and approaches the women he loves. He sits down across from her as she folds the corner of the page she was on. The time traveler is charming, for once.
A time traveler lies in a bed, sheets that have never covered him before he remembers them. He stares at the books on the nightstand then to the clock, it flashes, in need to be set. The time traveler doesn’t want to get up from here, he doesn’t want to move. Just maybe it can work, this time, he thinks to himself. She’s on the phone with her mother. She mentions him, but in passing. She jots down the hospital room number on a pink notepad then hangs up the phone. The time traveler watches each movement, trying his best to etch them into his skull. “What’s up?” He asks. She tells him about her Grandmothers trip to the hospital, how they think she’ll pull through. He knows the outcome but doesn’t say it.
A time traveler makes himself comfortable in her home, as his younger self cannot know of him. The tragic time passes, but there is no tragedy. A thousand and one times he thinks to himself as he meets her outside of her house. He follows her upstairs glances ever so often at her to make sure that she’s still there. They sit on the couch watching a horrible romantic comedy that he is somewhat glad he forgot the name of. She pauses the movie and turns to the time traveler. “Have you ever got the feeling that you’ve known someone for eternity? That’s how I feel about you, like in some other place on this planet we grew old together.” He doesn’t speak after she finishes but water begins to form in his eyes, she doesn’t see this and turns back to the TV. “Forget it…” She said as she moves her hand over the remote to continue the movie. Before she can press play, stupidity or courage, whichever one, roars inside the time traveler. “What if we have?” he asks. Her soft hand stops above the remote. “What do you mean?” She asks. The time traveler swallows then explains to her every minute detail, maybe bits that should have been left out but weren’t. Both with spinning heads they then call it a night. They lay awake, her thoughts of time, his of her.
A time traveler sits at a desk while he draws out the timeline. She watches him work and mumble to himself. He plots every day from here till the moment he left. Several pots of coffee and everything is worked out. She calls her job and quits. The family was the hardest part. She reads from the prepared script, how she’ll be in Africa for several years. How it will be impossible to talk to them and how she will miss them. She finishes with her goodbyes and hangs up the phone. They rent a truck and pack all her stuff up. A storage space rented for an extended amount of time. He watches her mouth goodbye to her possessions wrapped in plastic as he closes the door. They return the truck and she cancels the remainder of necessaries. She grips his hand tight and eyes closed shut, they vanish.
A time traveler and her pick up the thrown papers on the ground. With two heaves the desk is where it should be.