I felt my arm hanging over the edge of the bed. A cool breeze was blowing through an open window brushing the sheer panels back and forth over the windowsill. The crickets were hurrying to finish their nighttime song and the birds had started their chirping eager to pick up the chorus.
The bed I was laying in felt softer than usual. I reached my other arm over to check the size, realizing it wasn’t my king bed. In the first light of morning, I could make out the outline of a tree, still with most of its leaves. Looking around the room, I saw dull gray versions of brightly colored posters I’d hung of Mariah Carey, Madonna, and my favorite band, Def Leopard. Tiger our Boston terrier pushed open the door, jumped onto the bed, and started licking my face good morning.
“Hey, Boy,” I whispered, hugging him under the covers, tearing up. The day he died, I’d been the first to find him under the kitchen table. He laid there with the last of his fluids dribbling from both ends. The family cried for days, he’d been such a loyal friend. I can’t believe this - Gabby pulled it off. We’d stayed up half the night with me pleading for her to try.
“Bo, are you willing to risk Brook and Brando never being born?” she asked.
“What if you go back and act all weird and scare Sally, and she ends up marrying someone else. Do you understand the complications? You shouldn’t change a thing,” she warned me.
“So you’re saying it’s possible and you’ll do it?”
“Bo, you’re incorrigible, of course, it’s possible, but that doesn’t make it right.”
“Tell me how it works at least, Gabby.” I was my most manipulative while trying to get her to talk about it.
“Bo, picture one of those big red playground balls, with dimples all over it. The outside of the ball is time; the void that fills the inside is space. Time and space are inexorably linked. To go back in time you flatten the ball until the two points meet.”
I pictured that and tried to understand. “You said God made everything all at once?”
“He did and created time, so you could experience life in little increments.”
I felt that I was beginning to understand, a little. “So by connecting points, you can send me back?”
“Yes, Bo, but your mind will have a hard time adjusting. You’ll feel like you’re between here and there, as it tries to make sense of where it is. The future will feel like the past, back will be front, do you understand?”
“I think I do. Sally won’t have given birth to the kids yet. She won’t know them.”
“That’s right, and everything in your future will feel like it’s already happened. You’ll remember, but no one else will. You have to be very careful. If it happens, go to a quiet place, by yourself, and think about where you want to be. Close your eyes tightly... you’ll see very faint dots of light. Tell yourself that you’ve connected two of the dots briefly. That should quiet your mind.”
I could feel my heart pounding as I realized what she was saying. “Does this mean you’ll send me back to see Sally?”
Gabby squeezed my shoulder. “I guess I’m going to have to or I’ll never hear the end of it.”
I settled Tiger into the crook of my arm. “I love you, Fella,” I whispered, letting my head sink back into the softest pillow in the world. I was tingling with excitement to be back in my childhood room with my best friend. Gabby had warned me to let my mind adjust. Lucky for me, it was too early to wake up the house.
Apparently traveling back years was exhausting. I was barely able to open my eyes and I decided to lay still and plan the day ahead.
“Bo, are you getting up? It’s a school day. Come down now, I’ve made you some breakfast.”
Gabby told me thoughts would be popping in and out, that I’d be disoriented. She told me to stay in bed and acclimate to my surroundings, let my brain adjust. What she didn’t figure was a boy’s life isn’t his own, and my parents had already planned my day.
It was my mother’s voice, even sweeter than I remembered. I was tickled to hear her radio playing and Mom humming along. What would it be like to see her? She’s been gone ten years, but her kindness lingers in my heart and in my memory. I wasn’t going to waste the day going to school, not with only one day to be with Sally.
Gabby told me, “No matter what else happens, be back in your childhood bed the day after tomorrow, or your mind might not let you come back. Twenty-four hours is the absolute maximum. I can’t guarantee what happens after that!’
“Mom, I’m not going today,” I yelled back.
“Young man, you get up out of that bed this instant! You can’t miss school, today of all days. The coach has you suiting up with the Varsity tonight!”
“Why wouldn’t he,” I thought, shaking my head against the pillow. Tiger’s ears perked, hearing mom filling his bowl, he jumped up and ran down the stairs as if the house were on fire.
“Your father called, he’s so excited! His whole office is coming to the game!” She called as I descended the stairs.
Tiger set a land speed record getting to his bowl. He was gulping his food so fast he couldn’t possibly taste it. I was so excited at the mere prospect of seeing my mother that I wasn’t prepared for the reality of seeing her when I entered the kitchen. I didn’t remember her being so beautiful.
“Good morning, Dear.” Her voice was music to my ears. I wanted to tell her how badly I’ve missed her. Instead, I stood staring with my mouth open.
“Come sit down to breakfast, Honey. I made your favorite, dropped eggs on toast.”
“Mom, you’re so pretty!” I blurted.
“Bo, Honey,” Mom sounding a bit surprised, motioned her eyes toward the table. “Come now, you don’t want to be late.”
I was mesmerized seeing her healthy again. Cancer had ravaged her so badly before her death that I’d forgotten she was once so young. I remember mom always looked neat, but I never realized she had a cute figure and pretty brown eyes; people said I got her eyes, but today hers were big, healthy, and clear.
I wanted to scream, “I love you, Mom!”
She was alive again, standing in front of me dressed in her pretty blue pleated skirt, matching pumps and favorite fitted white cotton blouse.
“No, Mom, I’ve never said it, you’re stunning!”
She looked amused, but stern. “Sweetheart, you’re still going to school.”
“Mom, what are you like thirty-five?” It was surreal; that mom and I were the same age.
“Bo, you know how old I am. Now, stop playing and sit down for breakfast.”
“No, I mean it, your hair’s pretty, too.” She had the shoulder length brown bob I remembered, and heavy blonde highlights she called her frosting.
I walked over to hold her. “I love you, Mom. So much!” I hugged tighter. “I hope you know it. I don’t tell you often enough.”
I could barely believe I was seeing her again.
“Bo, I don’t know what has gotten into you today. I won’t say I don’t love it and wish it would last.”
“Dance with me, Mom.” I twirled her around to the song playing on the radio.
She smiled, “Bo, where did you learn to do that?”
“You taught me, Mom.” Thinking she forgot, before realizing I was remembering something that hadn’t happened yet. Mom taught me to dance for my wedding. Luckily the side door opened, and my grandmother popped in.
“Morning you two, how’s my handsome grandson?” Link: http://amzn.com/B00IJA6XQS