In this Excerpt Bo travels back to his Freshman year...he visits with his deceased grandmother and is unwittingly reunited with a first love...that's when the trouble starts:
“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?”
“Gram! It’s great to see you!” I reached for her with both hands. “Let me hug you! I love you, Gram.” I said, kissing her forehead. “Let me help you to a chair.”
“Oh, foolishness, I can find a seat.” Gram returned my affection with a pat on the arm and a kiss to my cheek.
I exclaimed, “Gram, you’re so young!”
My mother and grandmother looked at each other with raised eyebrows, not knowing what to make of my behavior.
My mother shook her head, “I don’t know what to do with him today, Mom.”
“You’ve got a good son, Janine. For goodness sakes, enjoy him.” Gram responded happily, “Anytime one of my grandchildren wants to hug me they can go right ahead.”
Mom led me by the shoulders to sit. “Eat your breakfast, I’m taking the day off to bring your grandmother to the doctors, afterward we’re stopping off at the florist to pick up your corsage for Homecoming tonight.”
“Sally? Who’s Sally?” Mom asked, raising her eyebrows in surprise.
I huffed out a breath. “My girlfriend, Mom! Duh!”
“Bo, don’t be ridiculous, you’re taking Cassadee!”
That threw me for a loop. “Who’s Cassadee?”
“Bo, stop, you’re acting more like your father every day.” She smiled, playing along, “Our next door neighbor, you asked her to go with you a month ago,” she added humorously as if stating the obvious.
“I’m taking Sally Campbell, Mom.”
“Nonsense,” her tone turned serious, “Mrs. Cohen is driving you both to school this morning. Hurry now, eat, and get dressed, she’ll be honking the horn any minute. You know how she hates to be kept waiting,” Mom added, cleaning the counter.
“Good, I’ll run out and tell her.”
“Tell her what?” Mom asked, opening the fridge.
“That I’m not taking her.”
“What? Not taking her?” Mom’s voice turned shrill and she placed her hands on her hips, “Don’t you dare, young man! What’s gotten into you, you’ve both been looking forward to this.”
“I don’t remember asking her.”
“Bo, you’ve been over there studying every night for weeks.”
“Anyway, I’m driving myself, I’ve got things to do after school Gram can I borrow your car?”
Gram looked at me as if I’d escaped from an asylum, “You’re not taking my car anywhere, Bo!”
“Gram you said to grab your keys anytime!” I said aloud, thinking, ‘off the antique dresser Mom gave Brooke for her room... after you passed.’
“Janine, has the boy gone daft?”
Mom shook her head and looked at me with disapproval, “Bo, you know your grandmother doesn’t live with us.”
“She doesn’t?” I was becoming concerned with how mixed up my memories were and how things already seemed to have changed in the past.
“What in heaven’s name are you talking about? You know she lives on Craigie Street. Besides, you’re only fifteen, you don’t have a license!”
“What year is this?” ‘Mom doesn’t know Sally. I vaguely remember dating the neighbor girl in my freshman year... “Oh my God I’m a freshman. Shit!”
“Watch your language, Young man!” Mom reached out to feel my forehead. “He feels fine, Mom.”
Gram pooh-poohed my question, “Bo, you know very well it’s 1993.”
“Bo, be serious, Dear. The Cohen’s are your father’s biggest client. You’re going to treat Cassadee nice and apologize for upsetting your grandmother.”
“I’m sorry, Gram,” I said running upstairs to change.
“You have clean jeans folded in the closet, and remember coach wants you to wear your jersey.” Mom hollered to remind me.
Gabby said I shouldn’t try and change the past, what she didn’t mention is how difficult it would be even if I tried. My mother and grandmother seemed entrenched to play out the version of history that was. Short of me telling them that I was from the future, which would surely backfire, I was doomed to repeat it.
Besides, I felt sad, Mom didn’t need to put up with the additional stress. She worked her entire adult life to make a happy home for my dad, and me and here I was back giving her grief. I felt selfish.
Gabby tried to tell me last night, “Bo, try and get Sally alone, have a casual conversation, maybe spend some time with her if you can, but try not to disrupt anything else.” She warned me, “Whatever you do, don’t tell her about the future! Promise me.”
The sound of a car horn honking interrupted my thought, “There’s Mrs. Cohen,” Mom called, closing the refrigerator. I moved to say goodbye, thinking there’s always the chance I may not see her again.
“Mom.” I looked deep into her eyes. “You taught me to live with an open heart, and I really want you to hear me.” Pangs of tenderness came over me and I shivered as I kissed her forehead and cheeks. “I love you so much, Mom, my heart hurts.” The horn honked again.
Mom stood back, brushing the front of her skirt, fixing herself. Her eyes were misty. She cleared her throat before speaking. “You’d better run along, Bo, you know how impatient she can be.”
“Have a nice day, Grandson,” Gram chimed in. I hugged her again and then kissed her hands before I reached for the door handle.
While running toward the car and brushing the bangs out of my face, I spotted Cassadee. She was in no particular hurry walking toward her mom’s anxiously awaiting car; like it was her own private limousine service. She had a backpack slung over one shoulder and her cheerleading uniform over the other. She moved like a girl who had it all. I half expected to see paparazzi as I jumped into the back seat. I left shotgun for her because it was her car.
“Morning, Mrs. Cohen,” I trumpeted, a little out of breath.
“Good morning, Bo. Are you excited for today?”
“Yeah,” I answered politely, trying to hide my excitement to see Sally.
“You’ve got your big speech today, don’t you?” she quizzed.
“What speech?” I cross-examined, taken aback.
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