Time Traveller tells of amending what’s been amended and the unfortunate time travel to the cemetery
Greetings, Time Traveller! We welcome and congratulate you here and now!
Thank you, Good to be here, good to be back! I’ve just come back from 2020, and I have to say, it’s good to be back.
Oh, how come? Wait, who’s the president of the US in 2020?
Oh, I didn’t check…
Are you serious? So I guess the world is pretty much the same, isn’t it?
It is and it isn’t. It depends. I’ve always been a bit anxious about travelling to the future, intriguing as it may be. So much can go wrong cos we have no actual knowledge about futurity. The past is of course simpler in this aspect. But not always. Especially not for a female time traveller.
There’s a lot we take for granted nowadays, I’ve come to realise. I mean I’ve always realised that, but still.
So you’re the female aspect of Time Traveller Persona?
Yeah, yes, I just said.
Right! I congratulate you. We’re not gender-bias as to our Personas here in The Sewers, all are welcome.
Cheers, I know.
So what have you been up to?
Well, before 2020 I went to my former teacher’s high school graduation party.
Mrs. Chaired? What is it with you? You’re obsessed with this woman.
No, no, I just had a bet with my mates. In sexual education class Mrs. Chaired once said she and her husband had been together since age 15, and that he gave her a ring in their graduation party. Everyone said it was bollocks, but my mate Lisa said she totally believed Mrs. Chaired, so I had to –
Wait, wait, you mean Lisa-Lisa? The Lisa?
Yeah, my mate Lisa.
We certainly aren’t best friends, right? We’re not really mates either. She’s a friend of a friend of a friend. I mean I see her sometimes in the café where I work, she gets a latte. Heh, just last week actually I went back to our graduation party, but that’s another story.
You mean you also went back to your own graduation party?
Yes, but that was after I went to Mrs. Chaired’s graduation party. Apparently –
Did you go to your own graduation party when the past was your present?
Are you checking my consistency? I didn’t go, but that’s another story –
I wasn’t questioning your consistency, because as a Time Traveller you can change your past, so your alter-history doesn’t have to be consistent. But why didn’t you go in the first place?
Oh I just… I was a miserable teenager, pretty much like any other teenager, I felt shitty about myself and ugly, hiding in my room was the better option. But I don’t feel regretful about it, it’s alright.
Yet you keep returning to that specific time. Seems like you’re not quite over it.
I am over it, but I’m also intrigued by it. I think these years of our lives are important years, formative years, crucial in our becoming what we are.
Precisely. And when you keep trying to amend events that took place when you were a teenager, one might be tempted to ask what is it you’re perpetually trying to amend.
I try very little to amend actually, that’s not the point. The point is that I visit, I revisit. We can learn from our past without changing it. We can also unlearn from our past.
What does that mean?
I’ll give you an example, right? One of my first quests was to the cemetery in my town. It sound gloomy but it isn’t. I went there cos all my life I remembered I had the most important, meaningful and life-changing conversation there. I used to go there, as a teenager, with my best friend Trisha, always after dark. It’s not what you think. We went there cos it was quiet and we liked to sit there and talk and know that no one can see or hear us.
Excluding the dead.
Right! Heh! That’s my favourite Angelus Novus album by the way. Anyway, it was just a quiet place for us. And I guess there was also the thing about being cool and brave, though I don’t know who we were trying to impress, cos we didn’t tell anyone we were going there. So Trisha’s parents were going through a divorce back then, she was so upset, she was just miserable. Utterly miserable. but she always had something smart to say about it. Whenever we talked about something that’d happened in our own little lives she’d be turning it into something existential. It was an amazing talk. I remember that by the end of it we laughed so much! It was like we understood something for the first time.
What was it that you understood?
Well that’s where I’m getting at. For years I remembered that night to be so meaningful and life changing, but I had no recollection of what we actually talked about. So I decided to go back to the cemetery that night, hide somewhere in the dark with my notebook and pen, listen to us talking and write it all down.
It was my third or fourth time travel. Five minutes into it, I dropped my pen.
It made a noise of course. And they – I mean teenage me and Trisha – heard it and panicked and ran away. I think they saw my hood when I was trying to hide behind a gravestone. That’s a really scary sight when you’re in the cemetery after dark, isn’t it?
Yes it is. Do you have any recollection of yourself being afraid that moment?
Of course, of course I do. I mean I don’t. It’s complex. My being afraid that moment only became a reality after I time travelled, so my recollection of being afraid is not complete, I mean it’s different. But that’s not the point. This visit to the past made me unlearn something. I thought it was a life changing conversation and it wasn’t. I accidentally prevented it from happening and nothing’s changed.
Perhaps it’s happened on another occasion.
I don’t have any recollection of it, other than the one I erased from history all together. Think about it: this talk in the cemetery exists now only in my memory, it’s got no traces in actual reality.
But you don’t really remember it –
Exactly. The little I remember of it is all there is of it. It’s weird. It’s a weird feeling. I’m in possession of something that just the mere remembering of it is its only way of existing.
It became this way because you tried to do the exact opposite: to turn it into a concrete piece of history, to write this conversation down. The irony.
Yeah, I didn’t think about it like that. Maybe it’s a lesson I’ve learned.
It seems this incident will only push you further to visit and revisit these years of your life.
Well, probably, yes and no.
And why did you revisit your graduation party, which you didn’t attend in real time?
All times are real, really. I went there actually – it’s a bit embarrassing – to spill a drink on her dress. On Lisa’s dress.
You spilled a drink on Lisa’s dress?!
Yeah, yeah, I’m not proud of it, but it had to be done.
But two months ago you undid just that!
It’s complex. It is. Look, it’s not that I didn’t think about it before I did it. I thought about it a lot actually. She just – she had it coming, didn’t she? She deserved it and there was no reason for preventing it in the first place.
Why did she deserve it?
She was bully, let’s be honest, a snob, mean.
You avenged her.
No, I don’t avenge. I amended what I had amended, which means I put things in order. That’s all.
Why did you feel the need to avenge her?
She’s just a – I didn’t avenge her, I just said, I put things in order. She’s not a nice person, I mean she wasn’t. As a teenager, she was pretty awful. But you can’t judge a person for who they were as teenagers –
But you just said – formative years and all that –
I mean you can’t judge. We all had our times when we were just awful, and people change. She just had it coming back then. I think it’s humbled her, the fact she had a messed up dress in the graduation party, I think it’s made her a better person.
So how did you do it?
I just snuck in there – I wore a hood. I didn’t want to spend too much time there, so I brought a little bottle of red wine back home.
Right. You stained her dress with red wine from the future.
And you see her from time to time nowadays.
Yeah, of course, she’s married, the wedding was about two years ago. I wasn’t invited. I mean I was invited but I didn’t go, I had something that day. I do see her from time to time cos we live in the same town, she stops by at the café every now and then and we have a little chat, we talk about Mrs. Chaired. She never comes to the café cos she lives on the other side of town.
Seeing her, Lisa, must always stir something in you, something from the past, some, let’s say, unfinished business.
Heh! Unfinished business. You make it sound like Kill Bill or something.
It’d be cool if you’d sometimes do something vengeful and grandiose like in Kill Bill, I mean what’s stopping you? You’re a time traveller –
Yeah, I think no one will ever fully understand the true meaning of being a time traveller. No offense of course. It’s complex. Revenge is simple, it’s a one way road; time travelling is complex. It’s a junction of thousands of roads, of endless possibilities, of infinite considerations and consequences. I don’t expect anyone to understand.
And what about Mrs. Chaired?
She told the truth. Her boyfriend really gave her a ring on the graduation party.
So Lisa was right.
Yeah, couldn’t believe it myself until I saw it.
What was he like, her boyfriend?
Oh he was alright, alright-looking, nothing more than that.
Please tell of your quest to the future, to 2020.
I’d rather not, not right now.
Is it about Mrs. Chaired? Is she getting divorced?
Oh – heh –no. I’m not getting into it.
Is it about Lisa? Does she get cancer?
No. I’m not going to talk about it.
Fine. What about Clair? Last time I talked to your Persona’s male aspect, he had some elaborate plan about her.
Yeah, Clair is alright, she’s nice, she’s alright. I don’t really buy into this working-in-a-book-shop thing she’s got going on. She’s a bit of a poser, but, if you ask me, she’s posing just right. I’m impressed and unimpressed at the same time.
Before we finish, can you tell us about your upcoming quests?
Well I don’t really want to discuss this in detail, but it’ll have to do with the Shift Manager in the café I work in. at first, I thought I’d go to his past and prevent him from becoming the Shift Manager in the café. He’s unbearable. Just unbearable. But then I thought it’s not right. It’s too much. So I think I’d go to past and see what’s made him become so unbearable.
What is he like?
He’s power-tripping, it’s unbearable. I mean you’re just a shift manager in a café, who do you think you are?
Why do you think he’s like that?
I don’t know –
Perhaps he was a reject in school –
Yeah that’s my main assumption.
If that’s the case, are you planning to amend it? To somehow prevent him from being a reject?
That would be a really interesting experiment, but I’m not sure I’d actually go through with it. I haven’t thought it through thoroughly, and I try to always travel ready.
Of course. Well we’ll be waiting to hear how it all went. We thank you and congratulate you at the meantime.
Thanks, be safe and cherish your present time.