The Time Traveller
Perhaps this is the thousandth time I have witnessed this.
Yet, this is the final time.
I am a time traveller without a DeLorean.
This pitiful attempt to rewrite the past has eaten away at me like a parasite. I know it has destroyed me more than the growths which now suffocate my consciousness.
I cannot change what has gone before.
I stand on the distant shore. Around me the lights twinkle, sparkle and shimmer. I take the corroded coin from my pocket and place it in the static binoculars that are normally only used by tourists. I place my eyes into the cold metallic sockets and swivel the device. The distant fairground comes into focus and I see the knowing and hungry grins of carrousel horses flash by. Then I see Bethany, my beautiful daughter.
It is June 1996, the summer of Euro96. The sounds of Brit-Pop echo through warm evenings full of joy, promise and hope. Noel crones Don’t Look Back in Anger, and two comedians sing Three Lions.
She absentmindedly laces up her roller-skates. I help her, half-awake half-asleep through the fog of yesterday’s alcohol. I replay that goal in my head. I see myself check the Nokia, laughing to myself at the joke my friend sends to me: black text on ethereal green-screen.
I play Snake on the chunky device ignoring her increasingly confident twists and twirls – her elaborate (yet futile) attempts to get my attention.
The water that separates us has become cold and dark and seemingly eternal.
I scream. At her. At myself. At a god that can sit back and allow this to happen.
The laces come undone and wrap around the wheels.
The visions have become more frequent as I sleep more often. But I will suffer them no more.
Now, for the first time, I see a boat is waiting on my shore.
I climb in and let the tide pull me.
I sense that when I reach the other shore, she will not be motionless, she will not be cold. There will be music and hope. I will hold her hand and never let go.