Past Times

I saved her, I actually saved her this time, but at a terrible cost.

And as I lay there, shaking and growing ever colder, she held me close and waited for the inevitable. I distinctly remember this being the other way around before. Every time I tried to change the outcome, there she was, dying in my arms. I had to live out almost every possible scenario there could have been just to be with her but every single time, I failed and she paid for it.

It never occurred to me, not even once, that if I’d died, she wouldn’t have to. I knew our lives together were about to end any moment so I reached out to embrace her one last time. As we held each other, time seemed to stand perfectly still. I couldn’t get the words out quick enough. Each breath was agony but I got there in the end

“Tell me about that night at the prom again, the night you didn’t dance”

Wiping the tears from her eyes she spoke, her voice trembling “But you’ve heard it a thousand times before from every other me”

I looked up and smiled “But not from you I haven’t…and I swear to you, this time, it’ll be different”. As she described the events of that night, my vision blurred and everything disintegrated into nothing.

It was the summer of 1989 and everyone was making their way to Haywood High for the prom. Jennifer, in her baby blue dress her mother made her, found herself sat alone, waiting for Scott but he never showed. Turned out he was more interested in Stacey, the bitch from the cheer leading squad.

Every single time I heard that story, I had the images play out in my mind as Jennifer laid dying in my arms. Of all the different quirks, styles and histories her other selves possessed, they always had this one sad story to share.

As I sat alone in that pitch black void, I focused so hard, much more than before until there I was, tuxedo and all. As she sat in the dance hall in the corner, wiping away her tears with a silk handkerchief, I walked over and said

“Y’know, there’s always room for at least one happy ending, Jen”

“Do I know you?” she said softly

“I’m new here and it would be my honour to escort you to the dance floor”

“I don’t know, I’m waiting for Sco-”

Before she could explain I cut her off

“Trust me, Scott’s blown it. Please, just one dance and then I’m gone, I promise”

With that, she smiled and reached out to take my hand. As we began to dance, I could here our favourite song, those first few chords are unmistakable. I couldn’t help myself, I looked into her eyes and sang softly

“When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue…”

We shared a glance. She knew. I could tell. Without knowing at all, it felt as though she’d heard those words sung before, like in some half forgotten dream. The dance lasted forever and sometimes it felt like our song just played on and on.

Suddenly, the fire escape doors at the end of the hall swung open and all that could be seen was a blinding white light. We were still dancing at that point, her head gently resting on my shoulder. I stopped, stepped back and placed my hands on her face.

“Jen, know that what I did right here was for you and nobody else. It’s felt like an eternity to find you and now that I have, I can’t stay.” I kissed her on the forehead and looked back into her eyes, now filled with tears. “See you around sometime!”.

I ran for the exit and just like that…I was gone. She was happy now, she’ll look back on this day and remember this was the best time, the time that she almost didn’t dance at the School Prom.

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