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  • Alan Grant

The Time Traveller's Strife

Of the things that could go wrong while crocheting, opening a portal had seemed like a low probability.


But there it was, staring Jason Mourn right in the face. He had to pinch himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, that this was really and truly happening. The answer was yes, the big blue portal remained glowing in front of him. He pinched himself again, just to make doubly sure he wasn’t hallucinating, the result the same, that big blue light dominating his apartment. He braced himself, edged closer bit by bit to see what, if anything, lay on the other side of that big blue light. He stared into the unknown and what he saw next made his heart palpitate faster than he had ever experienced. It felt like it skipped not one but ten beats at a time. Was this real? Was it really Hannah Nugent staring back at him? Beckoning him forward? She looked much more amiable since their last encounter. It was weird to see Hannah smile, especially after the tragedy of her sister’s wedding, where he made the unfortunate decision to interrupt the ‘I do’s’ with a proposal of his own for Hannah. That went down like a battalion of lead balloons. This was followed by a confrontation with Hannah’s father during the reception about his antics, which in turn lead to an altercation which resulted in Hannah crashing right through her sister’s own wedding cake.


He’d have given anything to change that course of events. To right his wrongs. To save his proposal for a more appropriate time. But most importantly, proposal or not, to have Hannah back in his life. How he longed to just be around her again. What he’d give to hear her voice, even if it were only to hear her barking orders at him or to be in the throws of a screaming match once again, that’s all he longed for, her sweet angelic voice.


‘Jason?’ Hannah’s projection asked, ‘are you ready?’


Was she speaking to him?


‘Yes,’ another projection said. ‘I’m ready.’


It was him. It was Jason Mourn himself. He was getting ready for the wedding. He remembered this moment. He was watching a memory.


‘God, you never do this right,’ Hannah said, redoing the abomination that he had made of his tie. ‘How old are you? And you can’t even tie a tie properly’


It’s true, he couldn’t. Until now. He had long since learned. Just one of many things he applied himself to learn during their time apart. He always imagined the look on her face when he’d see her again. When he’d walk right up to her and tie it in front of her, a symbolic gesture of how he’s changed, that he’s matured, that he’s capable of such things. And oh how she’d swoon.


‘My hero,’ she’d say as he’d scoop her into his arms like a romantic lead and draw her in for a passionate kiss, just like Gone with the wind. The wrongs righted, water flowing under the bridge and bridges mended on all sides. All would have been right with the world. Or at least that’s how he imagined it. But maybe he didn’t have to imagine anymore. Maybe he could rectify his greatest mistake. He gently placed his hand against the portal. It had gone straight through. It was a doorway after all. A doorway to the past. Who was he to deny himself this gift? This chance to change the past. Anyone else would do the same in his situation. The past was where he wanted to be. This past. It would deliver a far more fruitful future. One with Hannah in it and not reduced to photographs, videos, and a memory blanket that he was in the middle of crocheting.


He made his choice. And with a flash, he was now in front of Hannah. He was there, really there. She was right in front of him, tying his tie. He was truly in the moment. This was his chance. He gently caressed her hands.


‘What are you doing?’ She asked, ‘We’ve no time for that, we have to be at the church in thirty minutes.’


‘It’s okay.’ He said and shook her hands away.


‘Jason,’ She said, ‘Hold still and let me tie your tie.’


‘I can do it,’ He said.


This was it, the moment of truth. Oh, how she’ll swoon. He completed his gesture of growth with aplomb. How could she not see that things were different, he was different.


‘Oh,’ she said.


Here it comes, he thought, the romantic kiss, just like Gone with the Wind.


‘I guess you’re not as helpless as I thought you were.’ She said, ‘Now get your coat, and meet me in the car in five.’


And with that, she stormed out of the room and towards her sister’s nuptials.


How could I be so stupid? Jason thought.


How could he hope to win her over by simply tying a tie? No, she deserves a gesture of more grand proportions. And he was going to stay in the past as long as it took to win her back in the future. He felt something in his pocket. It was the ring. The ring he had proposed to her with, on this very day. But he shot this notion down upon further recollection. It had been the cause of all his downfall. It’s what had cost him Hannah in the first place. It was the catalyst that had brought about all his misery. All the regret and heartbreak that he had felt for the past five years since their breakup. Heartbreak that he never intended on feeling again. Although, he thought. Perhaps it didn’t go so well, not because she didn’t want to marry him, but because it was an ill opportune time to ask her in the first place. How could he think that during the ceremony was the ideal place for a grand romantic gesture? He had to plan it better obviously. He put the ring back in his pocket, exhaled, and thanked the Lord for this newfound opportunity at an ideal life. One that was his to create. He walked off with pep in his step, filled with hope and grand romantic ideas of how he could pop the question and make her swoon, just like that Hollywood lead. He wouldn’t make the same mistakes. The ceremony was ill-judged for a proposal, but it was open season on the reception.


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