I know there are all of these different theories. Many movies have their own magical way that they were able to accomplish the impossible. H.G. Wells, was able to bring millions of people to the ends of time and back again. Marty McFly was made famous because he hopped into a Delorean, to escape the same fate as his older, friend Doc Brown. I wish that I had an amazing story to tell you about the time that I jumped into a car, got it up to 88 mph, and ended up in a time that was before I was even thought of.
No. Sadly my story isn’t as crazy as that or as glamorous as leaping from person to person, trying to fix what once was wrong. For the longest time I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I’m not really sure the exact Science of it for reasons I will share with you later, but what I do know is that I found a way to do what many people of all ages, wished they could at one time or another. I could change things.
I’ll never forget the first time it happened. Or at least the first time I thought it happened. I wasn’t exactly what my parents wanted me to be when it was time to graduate from High School. For starters they were never really certain I was going to graduate in the first place. I slept through whatever classes would let me get away with it, and I used Spark notes to help me get through the rest. Things seemed to me anyway that all I needed to do was get through High School, keep working my butt off at the local restaurant I was working at that way I could get promoted, become the manager and then I would be set.
I’m fairly certain many kids think that way at some point. The smart ones though, realize sooner rather than later that this is just a fantasy. No I wouldn’t say fantasy, because if your dream is to be the head guy at a restaurant in a town with a population less than ten thousand, then you need to learn to dream a little better. That’s where it started for me however, just a dream, a dream in which I was able to fix the problems in my life just by going to sleep.
Twenty Four years is a long time to wait for anything in life, especially when you consider that it is not only possible, it is rather common for men to have a heart attack in their 30’s. That’s how long I had to wait though to realize the amazing things I could do.
Just turned 24, and I was finally starting college. My best friend at the time Clara Teagan, was going with me to my first day of class. It was after all her idea, and gentle push that got me to go in the first place. . .
“So after class we can go over and sit in that area in I guess what you would call the Quad,” she was explaining this as we were walking from our cars to my first day of class. I have to admit I was probably a little proud and seemed a little smug, but she either didn’t notice or didn’t care. “Today we probably won’t do anything other than go over the syllabus, and maybe just some general things about business, nothing to exciting Stevie.”
I hated when she called me that. Stevie made me feel like I was a kid, and I needed to be babied or looked after. Clara and I were friends now for a long time at this point in our lives. We were neighbors when she was growing up. I say it that way in a very matter of fact way. I was about 6 years older than her when she and her family moved in. She was 10 and I was 16 so, I have to stress the fact that there was never anything romantic about our relationship. I was a punk teenager in the 90s who had just gotten his license and his first car, and she was a 10 year old next door that my parents made me watch from time to time.
While she was in High School I was still living with my parents playing video games, and still working at that same restaurant that I was in High School, still convinced that I just needed to land that management job and I would be set. Yeah, I was that guy who was living with his parents, thinking that the amazing he did at Pandaras Steakhouse flipping steaks and burgers, made him some kind of a rock star and no one else in the entire world could manage to do that job as well as I could.
The day of Clara’s graduation was really the big day for both of us. She was of course graduating the top of her class, and had plans to go on to the local college and major in business management and see where that could take her. She, unlike me really was the manager of a different place in town; she ran one of the two movie rental places in town, Grandview Rentals. Her plan was to keep working there as the weekday closer, go to college and try and start her own business after she graduated with her Bachelors. While we walked to my first college class that first day I couldn’t help but think about the talk we had the night she graduated High School.
Clara knew where to find me whenever she wanted to hang out. I told you I still lived with my parents right? So when I didn’t show up to her graduation party she knew where I was. It was probably about 9:30 or so when she knocked on the basement window where I was playing video games and climbed through the basement.
“Hey,” I said to her, “Can’t stand to be at your own party until it’s over?”
She rolled her eyes and sat in the lumpy old tan chair that was next to the lumpy old tan couch I was sitting on. “Well you know how it is, my Mom is telling everyone how she always knew I would be the top of my class and blah blah,” she rolled her eyes, “While my Dad is on his 5th or 6th beer, checking out my friends.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Her Dad was pretty creepy when it came to her friends. I don’t mean like Dateline, To Catch a Predator Creepy, I just mean he tended to look a little bit longer than he should have the high school friends Clara brought around. This was all amplified by the fact that he was barely taller than a 4th grader, and had one of those awesome curly hair jobs that are everywhere except on the TOP of his head. Just Creepy seeing a middle aged guy stare at a girls ass when his actual eye line was right at their asses.
I didn’t give her too much of my attention, after all this was my night off, and I was determined to beat the game I was playing that night. “Yeah I figured, things started to sound like they were gettin pretty loud over there, I could hear your Dad screaming about something a little bit ago.”
She shrugged off talk about her Dad and her party, and nodded towards my awesome little 16 inch Sanyo Tv, “What’s this one,” she asked “It looks like you’re in a city fighting aliens with a bat.”
“Earthbound,” I replied and said nothing else.
We sat there in silence, as we often do when she comes over. We usually just chill down there for a few hours, with her watching me play whatever Super Nintendo game I was currently playing, while she just kind of plopped down in the chair with her legs draped over the side. What can I say, it was the 90s and we thought we were pretty cool.
That night was a little bit different though. While I was completely focused on the task at hand, and that task was getting through this final dungeon and finally getting the damn king sword, Clara said something to me that if anyone else would have dared said to me I would have blown them off and told them to kiss my ass.
Man did I hate that. Though it worked, I paused the game long enough to glance over at the serious look on her face.
“When I was a kid, I used to think you were the coolest you know that,” she asked in a voice that could only be described as solemn and sad both at the same time, “I used to come over here all the time wanting to hang out, I’d see you and your friends drive off in that piece of crap Nova you still drive, and I was jealous. I watched you graduate, and listened to you talk about how you were going to run that stupid diner.”
“It’s not a diner,” I mumbled while listening to her.
“Psh,” she said, “It doesn’t matter, and you know what I am saying.” At this point she got up from the chair and started to walk around my basement looking at all the things that I had convinced myself over the years made me cool.
“You have stupid Pokemon magazines and cards over here,” She picked them up and slammed them down, “And you sit in here on a Saturday night by yourself in the work clothes of what I can only guess is last night’s clothes,” I nodded, “You drink Pepsi after Pepsi, and this is your life and you are perfectly fine with that.”
“Dude,” I replied ready to fight with her about whatever her dumb 18 year old girl mind was putting her through right now, “What the hell is your problem, If you don’t like it…”
She raised her hand to stop me, and I just rolled my eyes and let her go.
“No,” she said, “You don’t get it.” She paused and looked at the light flickering off the walls from the bonfire going on in her back yard just a few yards away, “I’m still jealous.”
She sighed and slumped back over the chair like she was before, arms crossed and just stared at the word PAUSE on the TV screen.
“Everything is just so much anymore,” she began with tears rolling down her face, “I’ve worked so hard to get straight A’s all this time. I go to work; I study while I’m at work whenever I can. Which isn’t often because you know what kind of crap time I have getting those idiots to listen to me don’t you? They all think I’m just some stupid girl who got promoted because I have tits.”
She stopped again there, and I really didn’t know what to do or so. We were friends, but it was more the kind of relationship where she would do her thing, and I would do mine, and we would just talk about what we did with our other friends. This was different. Looking back though, she was right, I was pretty pathetic. Hell I remember the week before she came over studying for finals while I spent the entire time trying to get my Bulbasaur to level 50 without evolving him.
She started again, “I just feel like there is no stopping point. I am going to get done with this stupid party,” she waved her hand toward the window with a look of disgust on her face, “Tomorrow I will wake up, and it will be study study study so I can be ready to start college next month, because I’m the Idiot that decided to start in summer to get a head start, while working full time at Grandview and part time at the pool.”
“So,” I simply said, “Don’t.”
She merely looked over at me in a quizzical manner, squinting one eye and then the other, and huffed. “Yeah,” she said, “Don’t.”
I didn’t think much else of her or the situation she was in, because I was perfectly content with getting that damned sword gaining a few levels and fighting the big bad before I watched the latest episode of Buffy I recorded. I did just that as a matter of fact and then fell asleep on my couch like about 100 nights before.
That night I had a dream. To be honest I want to say it was the first dream I ever had, but things start to get a little confused with you do what I do on a weekly basis. In the dream Clara and I were at her graduation party, laughing and having a good time. Her Dad was going on and on about the latest stock market crash which was weird because her Dad worked as a cable repair man. Her mom was looking at me with the strangest look that I have ever seen her give me. She was like smiling at me and it looked like she was crying. I had hardly ever talked to her mom at all, in the 8 or 9 years that I had known her, but I guess that’s what dreams are for. Throwing together weird random parts of your life in a blending machine and seeing what happens. In the dream Clara and I were holding hands. Weird. I’d never thought of her like that but whatever. In the dream we kissed, and that was it. I woke up.
That morning was the first of countless other strange mornings. I remember stretching and thinking I really needed to get around because it was probably 1 pm and I had to work at 3. Hey like I said I was that guy, and sleeping till after noon was just what I did. I stretched and stretch and started to squint and open my eyes.
“What the Hell,” I whispered as I looked around at the room I was in that was clearly not my basement.
“Morning Baby,” Clara whispered as she leaned over in a bed that was again, not mine, and kissed me on the cheek and then the lips. “You climbed into bed much too late last night for me to thank you for what you said to my Mom you know,” As she started to run her hands down my chest, I freaked and jumped out of the bed faster than anything I’ve ever done.
“Clara,” I tried to spit out with some trouble finding the words, “What the hell are you doing? Touching me, and,” I paused again looking around at the room I was in again. It looked like a princess nerd room. There were Pokemon and Mario posters hung up behind a ballerina music box, and make up.
“What the hell?” I said again looking around at everything not realizing that while I’m doing so Clara is climbing out of the bed in just her underwear towards me.
“CLARA!” I screamed, “What the shit are you doing?!” Being a guy I couldn’t help myself though, I have to admit I was checking her out at the same time.
She leaned up onto me as I stood there and put her arms around me smiling as she nuzzled into my neck and laughed. “What do you mean yah goof,” as she kissed me again, “I’m only doing the same thing we have been doing almost every night for like a year now.”
You see I told you that Clara was the reason I decided to go back to school, I never said that she remembered it.
To be Continued…