Side Trips Challange "Am I the same person I was 10 years ago? "

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  1. #1

    Side Trips Challange "Am I the same person I was 10 years ago? "

    Side Trips NON-FICTION

    The topic is

    "Am I the same person I was 10 years ago? "

    Important you must read this before entering

    The goal this month is, the art of the short story. Pretend you are in an intimate setting, a party or sitting in the living room with your close and trusted friends. Going around the room each of them take a shot at proving or disproving the concept that they are, or are not the same person they were ten years ago. It is your turn to share.

    As a writer it is your job to tell an engaging story that will convince them.

    There are changes in how the Challenge is to be scored. Criteria for judging will be based on delivery and entertainment value.
    There is no limit to the number of pieces that you may score as a member. Please add a brief description of how you arrived at your findings. Please score as many as you can, you are under no obligation to score any, of course the more feedback for the entrants the better.
    Total average score wins

    All entries are to be sent to me to be posted anonymously in the thread. There will be a separate thread for scoring.

    Post any questions in the Road house Diner thread, or go to last months challenge to read the entries or go to the voting and polls section to see how they were scored

    The winner will receive a badge pinned to their profile and given a month’s access to FoWF where you’ll have access to hidden forums and use of the chat room.


    • All forum rules apply. Side Trips is considered a creative area of the forum. If your entry contains inappropriate language or content, do not forget add a disclaimer or it could result in disciplinary actions taken. Click here for the full list of rules and guidelines of the forum.
    • No Poetry! Nothing against you poets out there, but this isn't a place for your poems. Head on over to the poetry challenges for good competition over there. Some of us non-fiction people wouldn’t be able to understand your work! Click Herefor the poetry challenges.
    • No posts that are not entries into the competition are allowed. If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to take part in discussion please head over to the The
    • Roadhouse Diner We’ll be glad to take care of your needs over there.
    • Editing your entry after posting isn’t allowed. You’ll be given a ten minute grace period, but after that your entry may not be scored.
    • Only one entry per member.
    • No liking entries until the scores go up.
    • The word limit is 650 words not including the title. If you go over - Your entry will not be counted. Microsoft Word and Google Drive are the standard for checking this. If you feel it’s incorrect, send it to the host of the competition and we’ll check it for you and add our approval upon acceptance.
    • Sources must be cited if appropriate. Citations are excluded from any word limit. The content of footnotes (which includes expository, supplemental information) are also excluded from the 650 word limit, but instead must abide by its own limit of 200 words.
      • 1. Important note: The inclusion of cited sources is not always necessary. Some non-fiction genres, such as memoir or personal essay, do not typically include sources.

    There are a few ways to post your entry:

    1. I will place your entry in the Writer's Workshop forum if you wish to protect your first rights, in case, or if you hope to have the entry published one day. otherwise it will be in the Side Trip Challenge forum for all to see.
    2. All entries are to posted anonymously. To do so, send your entry to the host of the competition. Please mark in the title the story name and that is a entry to the contest. If you wish to have us post it in the workshop thread then "say so." Your name will be made public in the poll thread once the challenge is over, unless you would rather remain un-known.

    Writers of all skill levels are welcome and encouraged to participate.

    This competition will close on:
    Jan 17 12 AM est.
    Last edited by Plasticweld; December 9th, 2016 at 03:57 AM.

  2. #2
    The Old Man's Friend

    “I wish I could die of pneumonia.”

    It was a warm, May morning in 2007. I was driving Dad from his home in Sequim to Renton, on the other side of Washington state’s scenic Puget Sound. We were on our way to Greenwood cemetery to inter my Mother’s ashes, and death was on Dad’s mind.

    “What?” I asked, baffled.

    “They made me get vaccinated for pneumonia. Back then we all got shots at the fire station. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. It made sense.”

    “Yeah, I suppose,” I agreed. “The city didn’t want a bunch of sick firemen.”

    “Yep.” A pause. “And we didn’t always go into the most healthy places.”

    “‘Entering Healthy places’ wasn’t exactly in the job description,” I said.

    “True, that.” He smiled.

    I wondered where Dad was going with this line of thought. Was he confused?

    Mom didn’t die from pneumonia. She had Lupus. A weird malady causing her lungs to slowly crystalize. The official diagnosis was “congestive heart failure” because her heart was having to work twice as hard with half the oxygenated blood. One thing led to another and she had a stroke in July of 2006, which took away almost everything that made her Mom.

    Dad never left her side. He rebuilt the house for wheelchair access. He fed her by hand. He gave her medication. He cleaned her diapers. He did everything.

    He looked particularly haggard when I visited in October.

    In the beginning, she had hope. They both did. But she didn’t improve. Her brain was too damaged. She eventually lost that hope and in the end simply refused her meds, allowing nature to take it’s course.

    Six long, grinding months after her stroke, she died. It was Christmas Eve, 2006.

    I thought about this as we drove to the cemetery with Mom’s ashes in the trunk.

    Retrieving his train of thought, Dad said, “Pneumonia is a gentle way to go. No pain. You just drift off. Fade away.”

    “I didn’t know that,” I said.

    Mom’s ashes were buried in Greenwood cemetery next to my older sister, Teri, who died in 1983 after being hit by a car.

    After Mom died, Dad soldiered on for six more years. I think he spent most of the time preparing for his own death. All his possessions were put in order; his papers collected; all debts paid; nothing was left to chance.

    It was like he knew…

    He called me on my birthday in 2012.

    “Well,” he said after wishing me the best, “I know my expiration date.”


    “Pancreatic cancer. Doctor gave me six months.”

    After I recovered my wits, “Dad, I’m sorry to hear that. How you holding up?”

    “Not bad so far. My oncologist is a woman, and she’s gorgeous! Makes me want to stretch it to seven months just for a sponge bath reward.”

    “That’s the spirit!”

    He made it three months. His second to last week was excruciating as the cancer ate through his torso. His last week was spent in a morphine fog in a hospice bed at home. On the mantle, a portrait of Mom watched over him. I’m not sure he recognized her. He died April 15, 2012.

    But back in 2006, as we drove to bury Mom’s ashes, he wanted to talk about pneumonia.

    “A nice, gentle slide into oblivion,” he said quietly.

    “Dad?” I was starting to get worried.

    “You know what they call pneumonia?,” he asked, looking at me.

    “Dad, you okay?”

    “You don’t get it now. You’re still young. But someday you’ll understand,” he said looking past me at something only he could see.

    “Okay, Dad. What do ‘they’ call pneumonia?”

    “The Old Man’s Friend,” he said almost to himself, and turning, watched Puget Sound slide by in the window

  3. #3
    Decade Dance
    Ten years ago I was involved in the public sector games of budgetary control within a moral crisis of subcutaneous intrusion. Eventually it took its toll for me with metabolic civil war. Ten years I had spent in the government’s Education Resources by 2010, climbing corporate ladders of institutional endurance until my energy system snapped, and when the Conservatives got in I got out.

    Misdiagnosed with Late Onset Type Two Diabetes in 2009, I went through a process of rejection by bodies which could not understand the rebellion of mine against mistrust. I had just completed an Advanced Certificate in Dramatherapy, that brought to my attention the possibility of a career in Poetry Therapy. It seems a good idea to me and I embarked in a degree course in English Literature and Community Engagement. Although the National Association of Poetry Therapists told me my professional accountancy qualifications could count as the equivalent of graduation, I wanted to make it relevant by expanding my grasp of literature. Since my drive to be useful would not justify an uncontaminated arts degree, I was relieved to see Bristol University attempting to find a use for our cultural inheritance.

    I applied for a job as Mentor in a hostel for recovering addicts and pursued this vocation for over two years, beginning before the course commenced. I found a great deal to learn from outcasts of our society: ex-prisoners, who took the initiative to learn from their own mistakes. The adventures of audacious addicts could expand our understanding of human experience and I adapted my position to Creative Writing Mentor, acting as scribe for individuals, most of whom had been excluded from school for being drunk or selling drugs.

    I left my public sector job six years ago and gained a First in my degree as well as the Hopkins Prize for best overall degree performance. In 2011 I was elected as Regional Coordinator for Lapidus: Words for Wellbeing and have been in position ever since. I am now working as a member of Project Staff at the University of Bristol’s Policy Studies Department, involved in an ESRC-funded [European Social Research Council] investigation to make higher education more accessible and congenial to disabled people. We have put on a well-attended Forum Theatre event and are now working on collaborative writing, exploring the common experience of disabled people in traditional educational establishments. An activist I never have been, but recent political events both in Britain and the States have undeniably highlighted the importance of acting together to preserve shared values. Drama has always appealed to me and I am happy to defy any complaints against histrionics.

    Ten years ago I had successfully achieved the status of MAAT (Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians), which I have just discovered shares the name of an Egyptian Goddess of regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities. I feel there is an overabundance of statisticians in our commerce. Quantification dominates medicine, in which the only sane response can be to study symptoms of individual patients, each of whom may have unique causes for similar imbalances. Quantification itself is an imbalance in our politics, which leads to marginalisation of minority groups. To save becoming a clunk in a dysfunctional computer, I am planning to do a doctorate in twentieth century American drama, before moving to my hometown of London to pursue United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy professional qualifications, with a view to sowing the seed of Poetry Therapy in Britain. Part of this involves being: allowing the fields of systematic activity to lie fallow for long enough to enable new art to sprout.

    But what is art if not some subjective substitution for science? Art is a thing I shall cultivate, if only because I grew out of science twenty years ago. In the last ten years I have changed me; you are next.
    Last edited by Plasticweld; December 12th, 2016 at 11:32 PM.

  4. #4
    Living with the grouch.

    It's been ten years already since i made that leap of faith, one of the biggest decisions of my working life. I had got myself another job, jumped ship so to speak, and was loving every minute of it. Sure it was scary but it was exciting too and it would be a good twelve months before it even began to feel like work, although there were times when i doubted the wisdom of such a move with thoughts like "what the hell have i walked into? I'm never going to get this." There was so much to learn but the basics were pretty much the same as in my last job. It was after all just another transport company hauling freight. Or as one person quaintly put it, " same shit different place" but i was alive to it all where as, after almost twenty five years service to my name with my previous employer and a gold watch looming large on the horizon, i'd been dying a slow death. Surrounded by people, fellow workers, who had... given up basically... sold their souls for a regular wage and who could blame them? But bitterness and resentment hung in the air like a bad smell. I couldn't let that happen to me but it was now or never.

    As one of the most ardent followers of "what if?" i'd finally been and gone and done it. What if had been booted out by what the hell. It had breathed new life into me and simple pleasures were the order of the day.

    Bus rides that i'd made so many times before, to places so familiar suddenly seemed full of wonderment. Drudgery gave way to interesting and i was seeing things through the eyes of a tourist almost. Little things, pavements and tarmac roads looking fresh and new after summer rain. A solitary Kite circling high over head. Litter, shabby shop doorways and discarded cigarette-butts. Uh! The nice and the not so nice. Open fields seen from an upstairs window as my bus made it's way from one town to the next. Reading my newspaper and actually having an opinion about something. It was as though i'd woken from a long sleep and now i was most certainly awake.

    On Saturday mornings after my Friday night-shift i'd get the bus home and then, if i hadn't dozed off and over-ran my stop, i'd be making ready for my trip to Barkton. Soon, a twenty minute bus-ride would have me feeling emotions akin to a home-coming. More often than not, at some point in my meanderings, now there's a word i haven't used for long time, i'd see an old downan trundling from litter-bin to litter-bin like some modern day Womble. I so wanted to say hello to that guy, just a simple " hey! how's it going? " Like he'd have given a damn about me, the whole thing made me feel so small and insignificant but that's life i guess. He's still there, his long golden hair that, whenever i see him, reminds me of slightly soiled wet straw.

    A trip to the library for a book and a free pee in their warm clean lavatory and then i'd have to get my fix. Chips at the shop on the square. Also, by now i had become a connoisseur of the good old British staple and taken on the mantle of self-appointed critic of High Street chip-vendors, a man on a mission, to boldly go where no other chip-scoffer had ever gone before, yeah well, why not? , and loving every minute of it.

    But those ten years have taken their toll, i feel as though life has gone full circle and i'm back to where i was ten years ago. Am i the same person that i was back then? No of course not but i'm becoming an old misery-guts like the one that i very nearly became way back then and the grouch is upon me. This time around there is no new job opportunity and well, i don't know.

  5. #5


    (Mildly mature)

    I walketh nervously through a wood on foggy evening when -- a man appeareth in front of me. Before I couldst flee, he smileth, and I became as a doe caught in the headlights of his kindness.

    Sayest I, "Dude! You scared the crap out of me!"

    He shruggeth. "Thou didst call for a wise man."

    "No, I didn't. I never -- " A light dawneth in my head. "I'm writing a fantasy book and wise man is a standard trope. Can you roleplay that?"

    He hesitated.


    And so that came to pass. When finished, he sayeth, "Our scale is now unbalanced. I chargeth thou to become a goddess."

    "Like, someone people worship? That's creepy."

    He smiled wisely. "Not that kind of goddess."

    "Well, what kind? Can we skip the technical jargon?"

    "Pay attention to what people need." He dissolved into the mist.

    I've always focused on what people are thinking, so trying to sense their needs was very different. And awkward, and really hard; maybe I was just imagining things, I never knew.

    Most people want to feel liked. Almost everyone likes to contribute and feel worthwhile. They want to occasionally be told they did something right. Sometimes they need to share and feel that someone understands them; sometimes they need a laugh to make their problems a little more bearable.


    I was studying intently in the library, endeavoring to capture Stephen King using an interrobang, when the room suddenly becameth dark and a hand was laid upon my shoulder.

    I screamed, the lights came back, I didst turn . . . and it was him. "FUCK FUCK FUCK," I whispered. "Where the hell did you come from?"

    "I travel through the ethereal space."

    And I'm a virgin. "I didn't call."

    "You feel stress when others are angry with you."

    "Huh? No shit."

    He spoketh ponderously, "I now place my energy field around you, to protect you."

    I saw naught of any energy field. "Thanks, I think. Let me guess -- our scale is unbalanced again."

    He noddeth. "Become the jigsaw piece for the other to fit into."

    The lights flickered and he was gone.

    Magical bullshit aside, he cares about me and he wants to protect me and make me safe. I like wrapping myself in that. It does protect me. It's a little easier imagining an actual energy field, looketh not a gift metaphor in the mouth.

    Jigsaw puzzle piece? I'm still not sure what that means. When someone is angry at me, I can be angry at them. Then we fit together perfectly. If I can forget my anger -- say, making them laugh or asking for their help -- they have to change to fit with me. If someone is bored, I can try to be someone sharing laughter and excitement.


    I didst make a gargled scream, my toothbrush departing my mouth for the sink below. "What the hell are you doing in my mirror?"

    "How goeth your quest?"

    "Well, it's not a quest, and it's impossible, and I spend half my time imagining things that could be totally wrong. Except for that, really good." Having spake my irony, I admitteth, "I'm a better person."

    He nodded wisely.

    "But it's so draining." I know, I doth whine. But it's hard on me.

    "Take energy from others."

    "What do you mean by that?"

    "Our scale is unbalanced."

    "What? Wait! No, it's not unbalanced yet, you haven't explained energy."

    "Tell others of our doings."

    "That's impossible. Not happening." I righteously didst squeeze toothpaste onto his face, but he disappeareth and I could see only the chore of cleaning my mirror.

    Someone thanked me for being supportive. Before, I would have been denying or self-deprecating; modesty suits me; if fear the proverbial fall coming after pride. Today, I sucked all the positive energy I could out of her gratitude. I need that fuel.

  6. #6

    He softened my heart.
    English not the writers first language

    Long time ago I got a little cat, who had come running to the house of a friend - following in the paw steps of his own four ones.
    The little one was always last in line for feed, and when finally getting there, there wasn’t much left.
    I got the little Rudy with me home and we lived peacefully and joyfully together for some years before he developed diabetes.
    I’ll never forget an evening when reading in bed with Rudy jumping around behind me – suddenly a little paw was softly placed on my hand – whow, I was delighted – didn’t dare moving not to disturb the moment.
    Not long after three more were following – finding their place on the same hand.
    Had it been a delight with only one paw, it was monumental with all four of them.
    I understood he now trusted me enough to let his whole person depend on me J

    He was what the vet called a ’downfalling’cat.
    He loved running on the railing of the long balcony, from one appartment to the next in the height of third floor, where we lived at that time.
    But one day he fell down - I heard him screaming - run to the balcony and saw him flying downwards.
    Luckily there was grass beneath where he fell, and he was still there, flattened out, when I reached him less than a minute later picking him up.
    The vet didn’t open before monday,and it was then he got the diagnose ‘downfalling’ cat, a cat who cannot recognise the limits when jumping.
    He got his shot of cortisole to dry out water in the lungs, which the vet saw as the worst to had happened.
    Rudy took to flying a couple of more times, when living there – thankfully the grass was beneath.

    In my place he got his own eating bowl, and his own feed to down – nobody disturbed him.
    Suddenly he grew like a telescope, I called him the half-meter cat as he measured half a meter/20inches from the root of his ears to the root of his tail.
    We didn’t change his name,which he got from his earlier house, where my friend’s wife was German, and ‘Rudy’ is what they call a red-haired in Germany.
    Like Ginger in G.B.

    Seven years old he developed diabetes, and the vet gave him two more years to live.
    He was to have an injection of insuline two times a day with 12 hours interval, and a special feed afterwards.
    He got his injection 5 o’clock a.m. and again 5 o’clock p.m.. – we were very disciplined about that.
    Whatever I did, up in the mountains or down in the plains – 5 p.m. I was there, as I of course was 5 a.m.
    I planned around those two point of times.
    Rudy was a very sweet cat, which character trait even the vet acknowledged J

    We lived happily ever after –with lots of fun – and I loved that cat.
    But finally I had to let him go.
    With diabetes a lot of other things developped – I’ll not dwell on that.
    In the end he didn’t have much fun.
    When at the vet’s for the last time I saw Rudy’s expression change from the grim one he had exhibited the last months, to the angelic smile I remembered from all the years of play &fun - telling me my decision had been the right one.
    I talked to him all the way through the passage, telling him what a good and excellent cat he had been.
    Rudy lived 12 years with diabetes, 10 more than foretold –alltogether he became 19 years – not bad for a little foundling J
    The years with Rudy made a huge change in my life as for discipline, and joy.
    He softened my heart J
    Last edited by Plasticweld; December 16th, 2016 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Spacing was off

  7. #7

    You always become more of what you are.

    I used to disagree with this statement. Sadly, as years passed, I had to concede its honesty.

    Sam, a man who at one time I considered my best friend, later a friend, later an associate, later on someone I knew…then in the last few years an embarrassment. Sam much like myself had big goals, big dreams and passion, lots of passion. The slogan was his and it turned out to be prophetic for both us. I cannot share his sad story but mine

    I will go back in time 40 years, almost to the day, and bring you with me. Standing in front of Mr. Dangler, who had a crease in his pants, a freshly ironed shirt and shoes that had been shined. He stood out in the mid-70’s. Steel blue eyes with a receding hair line, he looked every bit the part of a stern German officer. I could easily picture him saying “And Vey Haf Vays of making you talk.”

    That day Mr. Dangler had no intention of taking any crap from some know it all punk. He stared at me from behind his desk and told me flat out that my application for the work study program had been denied --The employer I chose was not on the list and my grades were barely acceptable.

    The work study program back then was a designed to give students real work experience in their chosen field. For me it was a short cut to knocking a year off my time in high school. My grades were at the bare minimum, I took extra classes and also ran a small painting company. I balanced school and work with the idea that I just had to pass my classes in order to succeed. I did not need to do well, only pass my courses, and now it was coming back to bite me.

    Salesmanship starts when the customer says no.

    I pleaded my case, explained why I had chosen the right company and why I was perfectly suited for the program. I explained that I was running a small company working 40 hours a week and going to school. Mr. Dangler had no idea that I was doing both. I explained my thinking and goals; he being a good German could respect my work ethic. Though my grades were sub-par he allowed he let enter the program. I succeeded in convincing him that I would make both him and the program look good.

    40 years later, I sit in my favorite diner, they all know me by name and I know them.

    “Would you like desert?” the waitress asks.
    “Yes… I would like chocolate cake and coffee.” I said in my sweetest voice.
    She replied, “I told you last week… I told you the last couple of times you asked… we don’t have chocolate cake.”

    Not easily deterred, I really do love chocolate cake, and no does not always mean no.

    “This is what I will do. I will pay you to bake two cakes, and I want one piece out of each cake. I want you to give away the other pieces for free to anyone who orders a piece of cake. You can’t tell them it’s free until they go to pay their bill. Then you have to let them know that there is only one stipulation for them to get free cake, they must order it the next time they are in.

    Today chocolate cake is on the menu. To get what I wanted, I had to make it so other people got what they wanted. Desert sales are up, the customers are happy and I have chocolate cake.

    Sam and I both became more of what we were back then, for one of us it was a blessing the other a curse.

  8. #8
    One Must Act

    Over a decade ago, there were two children, a boy named Brandon and another named Calvin. Both could not do what seemed to come naturally to the two dozen children who glided around past them. It was the second time these two clung to the edge of the rink, freezing and slightly embarrassed, while one of their more athletic friends, Andrew, spun and shaved the ice with his backward crossovers and bunny hops.

    Still, their other classmates went past without much taunting, while the teachers dropped in from time to time to offer them some company. Unfortunately, there are some things you cannot teach another. No matter how much direction or instruction, there are some things that one must simply do.

    But today was different for Calvin; with his borrowed skates and numbed extremities, he lifted off from the plastic comfort of the boards and with choppy steps, propelled himself away. Each footfall was shaky, unsure. He was slow, half the pace of the others, but without falling, he managed to go once around the rink. Then twice. Then three times.

    His former comrade in suffering was not happy about this. Calvin faintly remembers how Brandon, propping himself up with a chair, howled, “Come back here!” with reddened cheeks.

    But Calvin did not feel pride in what he managed to learn at that moment. He did not feel fulfilled or happy in what he was accomplishing. He was more than relieved that of the barrage of things that society wanted him to do (and as a boy, wanted him to do competently), that he could do this one simple thing.

    There would be many ice rinks that Calvin would cling to the side of. There would be many instances where, in the stillness that Calvin chose, the cold would seep in and claim yet another piece of him. He would learn that, in spite of what society expects and demands of us, one can still get by just by sticking to the side. But there were instances where he set out and found where his capabilities actually lie. In time, he would find that past the barrage of hoops we are expected to jump through, there is a lush fields of learning, of mastery that lay beyond. At first, these moments were a couple, then a few, and then a handful.

    Now, they are becoming many.

  9. #9

    Subconscious Intertemporal Transmission Log Extract – Subject: Identity

    2016 calling 2006:

    “Are you asleep back there? Presumably so, because conscious in distracting reality you might overlook this fragile message from the future, relayed through so many intervening nights of dreamless sleep. My strong feelings are forcing it through, so maybe you’ll sense some of it. In fact I’m sure you will because I know you, being me.

    “I have this friend, a young married woman. She and her husband both have jobs and live in a house of their own with their two children. The problem is that this may not happen if she can’t get a job back in your time and, having no work experience, no-one will employ her. We can fix this paradox, but only if you get this message and have enough faith in yourself to act on it. She’s taking a voluntary job and will be suggested to assist you. Without references she can’t do any more than that but I’m giving you my reference now. She’s capable of everything that you’d want. You’ll have to train her but it will be worthwhile.

    “Don’t try to reply right now. You’ll probably have a weird dream if you do. Just leave memories in the usual place and I’ll collect them later.”

    2016 calling 2009

    “It’s me again. Who else would be inside our head? You got my message then. Given a reference from you that bank will soon employ her. Feel pleased. Breaking the time barrier solves paradoxes rather than causing them. Do you understand how this works though? Perhaps you think that you’re really intuitive, able to infer the future from the past, or just lucky. When will you realise that we cheat, me telling you things you couldn’t imagine otherwise? When will anyone else realise that they do it as well for that matter? What do they think sleep is for? Relaying all these messages takes time, paradoxically. Never mind, you’ll work it out eventually. To that end I’m going to tell you a story about how someone influenced their own life by passing information backwards in time. You’ll hate me for doing it, but you can’t hate someone without believing in them, can you?”

    2016 calling 2011:

    “Wow, impressive! You wrote my story down. You got some of the details wrong and I think you included some chatter from between times, but you’re getting the idea. Let’s try something more ambitious. I’ve been watching this TV series about people who have a machine that tells them what’s going to happen to other people so that they can help them. Perhaps if I tell you about that you’ll understand what we’ve been doing for years. By the way, it’s almost Christmas here, so I could add a literary theme, Dickens perhaps. You experience the present, forever haunted by experiences past and I am the shadowy spirit of experiences yet to come. Do you fear me because of that? Do you feel that you have no free will, that you are fated? There’s no reason to do that. There are many like me, all reporting back their experiences so that you can choose your future wisely. The choice is always yours.

    ”By the way, someone here wants to know whether I’m the same person that I was ten years ago. What should I say?”

    2014 calling 2016-2017:

    “I got your messages loud and, well, unclear actually. They came as a shock and writing them down was awkward. I’m no writer. You did say six years ahead in time, didn’t you? I have an answer to your question, but you know that already, don’t you?”

    2016 calling 2006:

    “So, am I the same person that I was then? We know that I’m not. I am still who I am then. Sweet dreams and always follow your heart.”


    2015 calling 1962:

    “Hello? You’re wondering … ”


    Sometimes with answers to philosophical questions accepting that non-fiction is fact is difficult, but it's also optional.
    Last edited by Plasticweld; December 20th, 2016 at 12:09 AM.

  10. #10

    “So, what do your classmates think you’re doing?”

    Lips twitching, I considered my cousin’s question. To my classmates, I was just the quiet, dependable one. The one that didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, and treated the local “hang outs” as things best avoided. Boring. Shame how they so readily lapped up a carefully constructed illusion I’d perfected as a teenager.

    Some people went around claiming that being a doctor or a lawyer ran in the family. Being part of the performing arts, or simply being born artistically inclined, ran in my family’s veins as smoothly as blood.

    “Probably fritting over the essay that’s due after the holidays like they are.”


    This time the laugher won out, “I finished it at the start of term. Almost three months ago.”

    Jacob unlocked the house door. “Should I be surprised?”

    The “not really” went without say.

    To my family and close friends the real me wasn’t quite what my classmates or colleagues believed. Oh, I was as studious and hard working. But among those individuals close to me I was as mischievous and curious as any cat. Whose artistic tendencies knew no bounds.

    My classmates, after all, would never see me with the guitar case pressing against my back. Wouldn’t know I could play it. Or the piano. Violin, just hand it over. My colleagues only knew I could paint because I told them. My nom de plume was none of their business.

    The me they “know” was their delusion.

    It was funny in a way. When people found an obstacle in their way they so often went around it. It might even stop them. I just went up and over. Didn’t even slow me down. My degree wasn’t what I once envisioned. Didn’t mean I couldn’t pursue my childhood dreams.

    No one could have predicted what happened that night ten years ago. A chronic drunk that’d plowed headfirst into the van my aunt had been driving. Vehicular manslaughter was a bittersweet sentence. Didn’t return life to the dead.

    Didn’t repair the damage dealt.

    So, I had a permeant limp. One leg was a tad shorter than the other. Those pins holding my right knee together were an eternal nuisance at airports. Sometimes my joints were more befitting an old woman in damp weather. But if I let such insignificant things stop me then I wouldn’t be me.

    Pushing these thoughts aside, I followed Jacob down the basement stairs. Already the gentle thrum of music greeting us. It was bright down here. Warmer too.

    But then that was to be expected.

    To say this was a regular old basement was nothing but an outright lie.

    For with the door open it was clear the basement recording studio was the sort professionals envisioned and what the home bound hobbyist dreamt of. It was my uncle’s. He’d being using it from the 80s to record with known bands. Big was an understatement. Two walls had long since been knocked down. A painfully narrow hallway led to the tiny laundry room; the dregs of what a basement was supposed to be used for.

    With his back to us, Jacob’s friend Eric was tapping his foot as he monitored the control surface. He had just won a scholarship to one of the best schools for music in the Americas. Made it easier to find a job where a natural ear for music couldn’t.

    While, even from the stairs, just through the window I could see my godfather’s broad frame. This break from the band was sorely needed. Everyone knew it. I loved my mother’s cousin, but I also adored my godfather. He was even smirking as he stood nearly shoulder to shoulder with Alex, my cousin’s bassist, keeping rhythm with his guitar. Though I couldn’t see her, Sarah’s crooning voice came through from the vocal booth.

    Home sweet home.

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