I had started this story a few months ago. I was unable to finish, so I saved it in draft form, hoping to return to it later. Inspired by this week’s Prompts for the Promptless, I finally decided to re-visit it. Considering that today is my birthday (You can feel free to send me gifts if you like) it seemed appropriate to post it today.
Have you ever visited your childhood home? You know that feeling you get when you wake up in the middle of the night? You recognize that you’re in a familiar place, but it still takes you a little while to figure out exactly where you are.
That’s the closest I can come to describing how I felt when I woke up this morning. When my eyes opened, I found myself in my old room in my parents’ house. This was strange for a few reasons:
- When I went to sleep last night, I was in my own bed.
- My parents sold that house two years ago.
- As I would later discover, it was the year 1995, and I was now inhabiting the body of my 17-year-old self.
I’ll admit that this was not a scenario I envisioned waking up to. Regardless, I’m proud at how quickly I accepted this reality and sprung into action.
My first mistake came when I attempted to stand up. The day before, I had been walking around in a 35-year-old body that weighed about 160 pounds. I was not prepared for the functionality of a body that was 18 years younger and that weighed more than 30 pounds less. As a result, while attempting to stand, I toppled forward. I was able to stop my fall by grabbing onto the dresser, but that only caused my knees to buckle, and I collapsed to the ground.
Unless I was planning on lying on the floor all day, I would have to quickly acclimate myself to my new/old body. Fortunately, from past experience, I knew this wouldn’t take all that long.
Yes, I said from past experience. There was a reason why I wasn’t panicking as much as you might expect: This wasn’t the first time this had happened to me.
The first time came about a year ago, when I spent a day as a sixteen-year old. The next time was three months ago, and I lived as a fifteen-year-old. Both times, I spent a day in my past body, and after I went to sleep, I woke up back in the present day as if nothing had happened.
The obvious question is: Why had my mind travelled through time? I am frustratingly unable to answer that question. The few people who I’ve shared my story with insist that it was just a dream, but I am not convinced. In dreams, things seem to be a certain way, and after you wake up, it was obvious that it was just a dream.
This wasn’t like that. This felt like real life.
My best guess is that my brain is somehow misfiring, and causing me to relive past memories. I realize that this may indicate that something is drastically wrong with my brain, and I should probably seek medical help. I have been reluctant to do so, out of fear that the doctor will tell me that I’m simply going crazy.
At that moment, the reason behind the displacement wasn’t the important thing. Regardless of why it had happened, I was back in 1995 and I had to deal with it.
After a few minutes of wobbling and trying to get used to my body, I was able to walk around somewhat tentatively. As I slowly paced the room, I came to the mirror and took a good look at myself. I used to shave my hair down pretty short in those days, and it looked like it had been about three weeks since my last haircut. The hair was short, but was uneven.
I really should have done a better job with my hair back then. The two-month cycles of shaving my head and then letting it grow long probably wasn’t the best look I could have gone with. But I had much bigger problems this morning than my hair not looking its absolute best.
I spotted a wall calendar that indicated that it was April 1995. Since my alarm had gone off, I had reason to believe that it was a weekday and I would have to go to school.
You might think that it would make more sense to just stay in bed and try to let this day pass by without incident. As I learned in my previous timeshifts, it isn’t easy to go off script like that. Understandably, my parents have not been sympathetic to my plight when I tried explaining it to them. They have assumed I was just trying to get out of going to school, albeit in a very strange and creative manner.
There’s another reason why I wanted to go to school, but I’ll talk about that later.
17-year-old me had helpfully laid out some clothes to wear the night before. Many people might be feel a sense of embarrassment looking at the clothes they wore two decades before. Fortunately for me, I pretty much dress the same way now that I did then. In fact, I still wear a couple of shirts that I had bought while in high school! I was slightly disappointed to see that the shirt I had picked out for the day was not one of them.
Emerging from my bedroom, I listened at the door to my parents’ room. I couldn’t hear anything, but I was pretty sure that my mother would have been getting ready for work, and my father would have been asleep. That was probably for the best, as I likely needed a little more time to adjust to this reality before engaging in a conversation.
I crept down the stairs – which probably made more noise than simply walking down them would have, but keep in mind, I was still a little unsteady on my feet.
When I got downstairs, I tensed up a bit when I heard the rapid thumping sound on the floor. That was followed by a scratching of claws on the tile and a brief whine. I shuffled over as quickly as I was capable of, and gave him a big, tearful hug.
Based on his reaction, you’d think that my dog was the one who hadn’t seen me in over ten years. His tail wagged furiously, and he continued to whine with excitement. I may not understand exactly why I am taking these trips through time, but it’s moments like these that make me not entirely unhappy that they happen.
I wanted to stay and hang out with the dog all day, but sadly, that wasn’t an option. I would soon have to leave and go to school. I stood up, patted him on the head, and went about getting myself some breakfast.
I was interrupted by the sound of my mother walking down the stairs. I was quite shocked when I saw her, and I think I let out an audible gasp. You know how it can be a bit of a shock to see someone after they’ve gotten a different hairstyle or lost a dramatic amount of weight? Seeing someone look 18 years younger has a similar effect. My mother asked me what was wrong, and I played it off as just being tired. Hearing my voice was another shock. It’s hard to appreciate just how much my voice has deepened over the years.
I asked my mother what day it was. She gave me the kind of confused look that a person often gives when they are asked a question like that. She said that it was Thursday. I wanted to ask the exact date, but I didn’t want to use up my quota of strange questions that I could ask my mother in one morning.
I spied a newspaper laying on the counter that could answer the question just as easily. The newspaper was from Wednesday, April 26th. Using my brilliant powers of deduction, I was able to determine that it was April 27th.
I tried to think if there was anything memorable about that day, but I couldn’t remember anything that stood out. I wondered if these days I was going back to were important in some way, but that didn’t seem to be the case. The last two times I timeshifted, I went to mundane days in my life. I suspected that today would turn out to be similarly unremarkable.
My mother soon set off for work, and I knew it would be wise for me to do the same. My best hope of getting through the day as painlessly as possible would be to get to school early and try to re-acclimate myself to my school and its layout.
After a quick cereal breakfast and a big hug for the dog, I searched around for my backpack and car keys. Once they were secured, I left the house and felt a mixture of nostalgia and disgust at seeing my old Dodge 600 convertible sitting in the driveway. If I recalled correctly, the car didn’t really start to break down until my senior year of high school. Since I was only in 11th grade, it should have been in decent working condition.
I started the car, and began the drive to school. This had already been an unusual morning, and I had a feeling that the day was going to get much stranger.