Gravity, its function is the base of everything we have, we are constantly being pulled and pushed. This is its nature, the bully of physics. Time, on the other hand, this beast is that of perception. Its mere existence is that of the beholder, its density or progression can simply matter on the being what is keeping it. I don’t technically travel back in time what so ever. I merely jump ahead enough to a point where this entire cycle known as time starts over again. I could easily bore the piss out of you with talks about Einstein’s “Time dilation”, but I will not. As they have said, history repeats itself.
It was a lazy Sunday morning, nothing out of my normal routine of coffee and cigarettes. While reading over a Washington Post article on the decommissioning of the shuttle program, there was a loud crack from my back room. I snapped from my seat and spilled coffee all over myself. When I got to the source of the sound, there was a stout man wearing something that looked to belong to a pilot of the early 20th century. He coughed what looked like ash. He cleared his throat and spoke. “It never gets easier.” He coughed some more. “Excuse me.” He said. “Who in the hell are you and why are you in my house?” I said. I really didn’t mean to have that tone with him, but I was still suffering from having coffee poured on my lap. He gave me a gaunt look “I’m here to hopefully have you help me with my own time machine.” I laughed “Time machine, I don’t have a time machine…” He smirked, “Don’t be coy with me chap, I reckon if I didn’t blow the landing I should be at a man named Karl’s house.” I looked at my feet trying not to make eye contact. “Yes, indeed I am at the right place, you’re the one with the spacespace page on time travel! Even so, I recall there being such a post on this exchange.” He smirked after saying this. “It’s called the internet in this timeline, and I invented it.” Trying hard to be boastful after my lackluster lies. “Oh, I very well know that sir. But this is not the reason for my visit.” I admitted my defeat and offered him some coffee.
After some discussion, it turns out Raisin; as he would like to be called, was from about 80 years in the future. He tried to build his own time machine of what was left of my work. He said “what was left; because; near the time of my death I became -a little- senile and destroyed most of my equipment and journals. I laughed because it did sound like something I would do. He said he was having trouble with the air around him becoming quite “hot”, almost to the point of “intolerable”. His mistake was quite easy to find after looking at his device, he was only transporting himself and not leaving any buffer room around him. I made the proper changes and we sat and enjoyed our coffee.
A few hours passed when Raisin said he must get back to his lab. Of course, all great things come to an end. I was slightly devastated that I was losing the company. But sometimes you got to let them go, for the sake of them and you. That and the baileys was nearly gone. So I bid Raisin a farewell, and he vanished, without a sound, this time, quiet like a ghost.
A couple days pass, feeling the need for some social interaction I decide to pay my old pal a visit. I dressed casually, set my dial and was off. Holy fuck was I in for a surprise, the world I loved was a complete wasteland, filled with smoke thick air. I did not prepare for this, luckily my friend Raisin did. He saw me from his window, I really don’t know how and came running outside with a breathing apparatus. It tasted of coal, but I was happy. He ushered me into his home and offered some water to clean out my eyes.
After I was freshened up, Raisin welcomed me to London, “Or what’s left of it.” I began to hound him with as many questions I could spit out. Just flabbergasted by how the world was, I have seen wastelands, but this seemed different. He calmed me down with a glass of bourbon; I did my best to ignore the brown ice cubes. I found myself a seat on his sofa. He sat down at his desk and begun to explain everything. “There was sort of a ‘great’ war, it started in with the near depletion of resources. Great Britain, for instance, isn’t quite a sustainable country when it comes to resources, it relies heavily on 3rd world countries exports. So of course, as a world power, it wasn’t just going to stand idly by when the price of imports skyrocketed. We rioted, calling on the powers to be to do something. So threats became shoves, then punches, and at last pistols.” I took a big gulp from my glass, it burned more than expected and I coughed a bit spilling some on my shoes. “Good, isn’t it?” I nodded in agreement. “Anyhow, with war breaking out everywhere, countries having their backs pushed to a wall. A lot of these countries weren’t very used to this, so bloody Hydrogen bombs were used. This, of course, was only the match for the fire that was the war.” He takes a sip from his glass. I notice then how dark the tips of his fingers were.”Well, us stronger countries ate up the smaller 3rd world nations, as well as their resources.” He turned away from me at this point and started fiddling around with something on his desk. He continued with his back to me. “It’s hard to say who really blocked out the sun, The States, Britain, France and China all had plans in the works to do such. But once it was gone, it was gone. Everyone kind of went underground after that, kind funny how the fighting stopped once there wasn’t anything worth fighting for.” He chuckled a weak chuckle and spun his chair around. He was holding what looked to be a frame. “So is your plan to go back in time and stop all this?” I said, with hopefully an inquisitive face. He wiped the front of the frame with his right thumb. “It’s hard to really stop this… all I want is her back.” I nodded. “I lost love before, I know how you feel.” He stood up from his chair with haste “You have no fucking idea how I feel!” He was pointing at me with the frame in his hand. This is when I realized, I didn’t, I had no idea how he felt.
He sat back down and lit a cigarette with a lighter that looked just like mine. I feel for it in my pocket to make sure it was still there, the familiar touch of cold steel. After a couple silent drinks, he spoke again. “I know it is cliché for me to say she was my everything, but God be damned, she was all I had.” He flicks his ash to the floor. “Her little lungs weren’t made for this new world, constant breathing from a respirator can cause an infection to blossom in the already weaken lungs.” He wiped his eyes with his thumb and index fingers. “That’s when I discovered your work; I first read one of your papers on time dilation. Which I figured would lead me to get my daughter back. So I dug around found the database for your old site though it was quite corrupted, and bits of your journal that you were buried with. It’s taken me 5 years to piece together what I have now. It wasn’t quite right, though, there were bugs. I came and found you in hope you’ll help me with my machine. And now you’re here, it has to be a sign from God.” I shuffled in my chair. “You see, there seems to be an issue with my machine. I can’t carry more than myself.” He twisted the device around his wrist, which looked like an oversized watch. “See you were kind enough to bring me that extra device.” He said. “What do you mean an extra device? I only brou…” I can be quite dense sometimes. He twisted and pulled a pistol off his desk. “Now we don’t have to have it be this way, hand your device over so I can save my little girl.” I was nervous as hell, I thought I trusted this man. “Why have me come all the way out here, why didn’t you take it from me when you were at my house?” I said in a pitifully shaking voice. “Well, to be honest, it didn’t strike me to do so when I was there. It was only after a trial run with a cat that I discovered the bug was still there, even after the tweaks you made. Frankly, I was on my way to your time when you appeared.” Perfect timing like always Karl. “We can work this out, I can help you build another device then we…” He interrupted me “And take another five fucking years, I won’t make it that long without my daughter!” He was standing and stepping closer to me. “It can take 6 months tops please don’t do this.” I pleaded, he had the pistol to my chin now, I stood up hoping my height would help the situation, it did not. “So where is it?” He rifled through my pockets pulling out my lighter, cigarettes and wallet. “Where the fuck is it?” He was pressing the barrel of the pistol harder against my chin. In the pursuit of keeping my brains intact, I caved. “It’s the lighter; it’s the god damn lighter!” His eyes went wide. “You’re joking me right?” He palmed the lighter staring at it; he tossed the pistol on the empty seat next to me, then pulled his lighter from his pocket. “I had it the entire time…’ With the gun no longer pointing at my head I began to relax. He was laughing and crying “This piece of shit lighter that I got from your grave is the device; fucking thing always ran out of fuel…” He went to his desk and began to weep, mumbling the words “entire” and “time” under his sobs.
Some time passed and we both regained our composure. He apologized for his actions, I told him I understood. “With these circumstances; I would have done the same.” I told him this; though I wasn’t really sure if I would, but it sounded nice. “You know you could have avoided this if you weren’t so bloody crazy!” He said with a smirk. I showed him how to work the device and wished him luck. He vanished seconds later. Wanting to return home and take a cold shower, I did the same.
A couple weeks passed, I was sitting outside enjoying the clean air when Raisin appeared with his daughter. They walked up the path in my backyard. Raisin was smiling and so was his daughter, honest to God genuine smiles. I haven’t seen this sort of happiness in a long time. We greeted each other, I felt a bit underdressed in my robe. His daughter was named Sky, he told me it’s because she was all he really wanted.
Gravity- it pushes and pulls. The human spirit can’t escape its grasp. We at times can be pulled down by the gravity of our own actions. It makes it impossible to stand, but once we do lift ourselves up, the outcomes can be wonderful, like the sky is blue, wonderful.