This is an entry in a journaling game I’m currently playing. An explanation, and my first entry, is here.
I snap back into spacetime with a dizzying jolt. I’m… in my parent’s house. It’s chilly, and through my parents’ bedroom window, I see Christmas lights on some of the houses, glittering in the darkness—but only a few, so it’s sometime after Christmas. Downstairs, I can hear one side of a conversation.
Dad. On the phone. I listen carefully, and recognize the words he’s saying. I’m on the other end of this call, I realize, and my breath catches in my throat as I realize: this is the last time we spoke. When he mentioned the upcoming surgery in passing, and insisted I not change my travel plans. In a few days… he’ll be gone.
There’s a paper there, on the bed, with a list of things he needs to bring to the hospital. I’m stunned: he planned this far ahead, and yet… if I hadn’t called by chance that day, I might not have found out until after.
I grab the blue ballpoint pen on the paper, and write:
I’m writing from many years in the future. Proof? I know your secret: it’s back again. See?
I pause. Will that make him tell Mum? Or will she still find out from the doctor, after the surgery, after he… No, I don’t have time to fall into that, or to think about this. I start writing again:
Your endless, amazing stories made me a storyteller too. Thanks, Dad. No need to worry about me anymore. Found my way, somehow, in Korea. A life. A family. Look at your grandson! Great kid. Your sense of humor, and your temper too…
What’s this surprise you’re hiding?
Miss you & love you.
PS: We named him after you.
Finally, I think, I managed to finish a sentence. I have just enough time to pull a photograph of my son from my wallet, and drop it on the paper…
… before I’m once again torn from this moment and out into the timestream.
Strangely, nothing changes. That phone conversation I overheard is still the last time I talked to him. Did he see the note, the picture?
He never revealed what that surprise was, the one he mentioned to the nurse when he asked for the phone, asked to call my Mum and was told it was too late to call, that last night in the hospital. His last night.
Then it hits me: it couldn’t be…?
I need to be careful, I realize. Or… maybe I’ve already done all this? Maybe it already happened? I watch the endless moments of my life blur past me, dizzying, as I plummet toward who knows when—