Man of time

Harold began to live his life again, and this time he was going to do everything right. The year doesn’t matter, but Harold was back on the day that he thought would changed the rest of his life. The day he decided to quit college and follow his dream of being independent and living a life of adventure. And that road lead to another and that road lead to another, and with each choice he made he was changing the course of time, which caused everything in his history to alter, that he forgot those he loved along the way. He was altering everything even those he hadn’t met, that he even forgot to mend his ways, and all together forgot the purpose of his journey.

Time passed by, and unbeknownst to Harold he was rewriting his story. When we come upon him, he was having lunch at his local diner when a man sitting beside him spoke to him.

“How’s it going?” the man smiled, lifted his grey fedora from his head and placed it on the counter. “I expected you to be further along.”

“Can I help you?” Harold didn’t recognize the stranger who was well-dressed in the wrong fashion of the present and more of someone in the past, like his great-grandfather dressed during his time.

The man appeared friendly in his late thirties, with rosy cheeks and a twinkle in his grey eyes. He was slender and wore a red tie and a grey suit, nicely pressed, even in a hot days as this one, he looked out of sort.

He probably isn’t from around here, thought Harold. He guessed the man was lost, a salesman, that barely saw his wife and kids.

“I see you have forgotten me already?” the stranger said.

“You might be confusing me with someone else, mister,” Harold said, taking his gaze back to the jumbled papers in his hand.”

“No, I definitely have the right person,” the man said. “Have you mended what you came for?”

“Excuse me?” Harold was perplexed. “If you’re lost, you can buy a map at the gas station… I’m a bit busy here.”

“I see,” the man didn’t seem disappointed. “You lost track of time, it has indeed passed you by. Time can do that, it ebbs and it flows, quickly evanescence before our eyes.”

“I don’t have time for this…” Harold was about to say.

“Exactly,” Pieter pointed to a woman who was sitting by herself in one of the booths. “You’re letting it pass you by without even knowing it.”

A change came over Harold, “Pieter? That can’t… you were…”

“Much older,” Pieter said, “my future self. I am somewhere in the present, closer to my future, further from my past.”

“What are you doing here?” Harold asked.

“Your changing the course of history,” Pieter said, “you history. What you once knew will know longer be as you have changed everything, your present will change or stay the same just with different choices. It all depends on the choices you make today. One slight change can make all the difference. You haven’t full filled your purpose.”

“What does she have to do with it?” Harold was peeved. “When I set to change my past I was determined to make right all my wrongs, and if I don’t finish preparing my report I won’t get that position I have been aiming for. I am not going to miss out on that opportunity again. I won’t let it happen.”

“For what purpose?” Pieter asked. “To pass up the opportunity for happiness.”

“This opportunity means everything to me,” Harold said. “It’s the one chance I get to prove…”

“To prove your father he was wrong?” Pieter cut Harold off again. “Is this what its all about, proving your self worth? What about those that you’ve forgotten? What about her? Have you forgotten who she is?”

Harold glanced over at the women. She was finishing her meal with a cup of coffee while she read a book. At first, he couldn’t place her, her face didn’t seem familiar and the longer he gazed the longer he started to feel something familiar about her.

“Do you remember her now?” Pieter asked. Harold must have remembered her because he shifts in his seat uncomfortably and a look came over him.

“She is better off without me,” Harold turned back around and returned his attention to his papers.

“I find that hard to believe,” Pieter said. “Have you forgotten the promise you made to her and the promise she made to you?”

“As I said, it is better off this way,” Harold didn’t look up.

“I don’t believe that for a minute,” Pieter said. “Some people go through life without finding someone special as she was to you. Then there are those who choose the wrong life partner and live to regret it, others have no time for anybody else and live foolishly. Some choose to be alone and are happy that way, or embittered, but that is not your destiny. No, not yours. Have you thought about how her life would change without you? She loved you very much.”

Harold glanced back at the women.

“What are you afraid of?” Pieter asked gently.

“I wouldn’t have to break her heart the way I did,” Harold admitted.

“You can change that,” Pieter said.

“What if I can’t? What if I forget and break her heart again? She is better off without me,” Harold fumed.

“You can’t be sure of that,” Pieter said, “you can’t be certain she will be happier without you and you without her.”

“What if I can deter it?” Harold said. “Avoid that one mistake I could never take back.”

“Then someone else will come along and make sure it ends the way it could have that terrible night,” Pieter said.

“What are you talking about?” Harold looked up.

“You don’t know do you?” Pieter shook his head solemnly. “We could go there and I can show you. You will have to show me where to go, sometimes, I move so fast I can’t see where I am at.”

“Go where?” Harold wasn’t sure he wanted to go there.

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