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This is the second part of If You Could Do It Again. Thanks for reading and please vote and comment!! I’d like to thanks Julri and Nomoretears for their help and technically savvy!
The alarm clock on his bedside table shrieked with it’s insistent noise. Paul opened his eyes and saw the familiar surroundings of his bedroom. He was back in two thousand and eleven. He felt relieved but also a bit disappointed. It had been an amazing experience to relive that one day, even in a dream, even though it was a day from a time he tried very hard to forget. Seeing his past with more experienced eyes had let him truly bury the weights he had been dragging for so long. The weights that the judgemental townspeople had attached to him and that he had carried through his life, letting it effect him in so many different ways. He had striven harder to succeed because of them, but also he had doubted himself more than he should have. He took a breath and hopped out of bed feeling like he was eighteen again, or had just been recently. A sharp pain in his hip reminded him that he was fifty and that moving so fast was not necessarily a good thing to do. But nothing was going to corrupt his bright outlook on the day.
Paul showered and dressed and headed downstairs with a spring in his step. He decided against his usual grapefruit and coffee breakfast and began pulling out the makings for pancakes with strawberries and bacon. A buzzer on the wall told him he had a guest just as he was pouring the batter on the skillet.
“Who is it?” He asked as he pressed the button.
“It’s Todd, Paul. Let me in. I got your presents you conveniently left at my house.”
“Oh Todd! This is awesome! I was going to come see you later. Come on in!” Paul pressed the button to open the front gates and began whipping up a little more batter.
He was flipping up the first of the golden brown pancakes with the crushed bacon baked into them as Todd came into the kitchen carrying an armful of presents.
“What are you eating?”
“We are eating bacon pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries.” Paul smiled.
“Have you lost your mind?”
“With real butter and real syrup.”
“You have lost your mind.” Todd said. “I’m not eating that.”
“You will eat it and you’ll love it.”
“No, I’m not.” Todd refused.
“What did you have for breakfast today?”
“A bowl of granola, two cups of skim milk and a decaf tea.” Todd answered.
“Oh yeah. You’re eating this.” Paul said and pushed the first stack of pancakes toward Todd.
It only took a few minutes of aggressive persuasion before Todd agreed to one bit of the sinful meal. One bite lead to a short stack with extra whipped cream and strawberries. With his mouth full of pancake, Todd noticed Paul’s unusually happy attitude.
“What’s got you so chipper today?”
“Why can’t I be chipper?”
“You can, obviously but in my profession when a person has such radical turn of emotions as you seem to have had, there’s a reason for it.”
“I had a really, really good dream last night.” Paul admitted and tucked into his own breakfast.
“Really? I’ve had good dreams but I don’t think any of them have effected me like yours has effected you.”
“Well have you ever had a dream where you’re eighteen again?” Paul asked.
“No, but I have had a dream where I was a woman who was writing a book and Eric was my husband who kept throwing pickles at me.” Todd answered.
“You had a dream like that and they still gave you a therapists license?”
“Shut up and tell me about your dream.”
Paul did and Todd listened intently, only interrupting to ask questions if it were truly necessary. By the end of the tale Paul’s eyes were a bit misted over but he still held the smile on his face.
“And Dylan just got up and walked home? Through the woods in the middle of the night?” Todd asked.
“I know. So, doctor, what do you think?” Paul asked and took a sip of his coffee.
“My medical opinion?” Todd asked.
“No, your opinion as a concerned citizen. Yeah, your medical opinion!”
“I think you took some really great drugs last night.”
“What?!” Paul was affronted.
“You remember that time we went to Costa Rica and you made us all drink that stuff that your friend made, Mr. I’m-the-shaman-of-the-jungle-drink-this-and-speak-with-dolphins.”
“Yeah, I didn’t know that was going to happen.” Paul said, attempting to sound apologetic though his boyish grin ruined the effect.
“I saw walking trees, Paul. I saw walking trees and was running around the beach trying to get everyone to safety while Eric was counting the sand and separating it by color and I don’t even remember what happened to you.”
“I was listening to the music of the stars.” Paul answered, a little embarrassed but also amused.
“Oh God! That’s right. You were even singing with them that weird song.”
“Yeah.” He chuckled. “Todd, I didn’t do any drugs last night. I don’t even have those drugs nor would I know where poker oyna to get them. Besides, does what I told you actually sound like a trip to you?”
“The fact that you thought you were eighteen again is a little trippy. Yeah.” Todd said.
“No, I didn’t think I was eighteen. I thought I was dreaming. But it didn’t even feel like a dream, it felt extremely real. It felt like more real than a memory. It was intense!”
“Maybe it was a flashback.” Todd suggested.
“It wasn’t a flashback. Is there such a thing as an intense dream that is a mixture of a memory?”
“Some people say that their dreams are unusually detailed and realistic and since dreams come from the subconscious almost anything is possible.” Todd stopped and glanced at Paul as a realization hit him. “Paul, you’re not thinking that you actually went back in time and made out with your old sweetheart, are you?”
“I don’t know. I know it’s not possible but at the same time it felt so real. And I have the memory of not telling him I loved him just as I now have the memory that I did.” Paul confessed.
“You have the memory of the dream in which you told him you loved him. It’s not a memory of an actual event.”
“How do you know?”
“Because it’s not possible to go back in time. Even physicists agree that it’s not possible. The past is the past. It’s unchangeable. If you could actually travel through time and could go back in time, then what if you went back and changed something which blocked you from ever figuring out how to travel in time in the first place. You couldn’t do it?”
“What?” Paul asked, completely confused.
“I’m not sure I understand it all myself. Eric’s much better at this sci-fi shit than I am. Look, you have the memory of never telling Dylan you loved him, right?”
“Now you have a memory, which you admit is a recent memory, of telling him you do. It’s simply the memory of a dream. The only reason we know dreams are dreams are because they happen when we’re sleeping, so we usually remember falling asleep just before or waking up just after. And there’s usually a dream-like quality to them, an unrealistic quality which points to it being a dream.”
“But what if it’s not, Todd?”
“Then you’re crazy and it was a wicked hallucination, but that’s just my medical opinion.”
“Stop being my doctor and be my friend. Tell me what you really think.” Paul asked.
“As your friend, I think you’re crazy and I think you should see someone.”
“Fuck you.” Paul said as he started putting the breakfast dishes away.
“All right, I’m sorry. Just kidding. As your friend, let’s assume for the moment that you’re not crazy.”
“Thanks.” Paul said, sardonically.
“You’re welcome. Then if you went back in time, why did nothing change?”
“What do you mean?”
“Ever see The Butterfly Effect? Guy goes back and changes one little thing and then something else goes wrong and something else goes wrong and he keeps on having to jump back in time to correct all the things that he fucked up when he corrected the one little thing in the first place.”
“That’s actually a movie?” Paul asked.
“You get the point though? You went back in time to tell the love of your life that he was the love of your life and nothing changed. You still own this house, you still have money, you’re still blessed with me as a friend and you still have love handles.”
“Whatever. I’m just saying….” Todd shrugged.
“I guess you’ve got a point. Why did nothing change? If I had been back there like I feel that I was and did the things that I did then why am I still here like I never went back at all?”
“There’s one way you could find out.” Todd said.
“Oh yeah, how’s- Oh no. Oh hell no! I’m not doing it.” Paul threw up his hands and shook his head frantically.
“It’s the only way, Paul. If you want to know, it’s the only way.”
“I don’t want to know. I’m ok with it being just a dream.”
“Don’t be a pussy, man. Just go out and find him.”
“Find Dylan and ask him, talk to him about it. Get confirmation. Then at least you know.”
“No, I can’t do that. He left me on the mountain after I told him I loved him.”
“You’re not sure he did or not.” Todd reminded him.
“If he didn’t then I’m going to go up to a man I haven’t seen in thirty two years, a man I’ve never come out to and ask him if he remembers being up by Baker’s Pond one night hugging and kissing? Are YOU crazy?”
“Hey, that’s my line. And I wouldn’t suggest doing it like that, no. But you could be a bit more subtle about it. Just look him up, ask him for coffee. Either way, it’s been thirty two years. I bet he’d be excited to see what’s going on in your life.”
“I don’t know Todd.”
“Then think about it. Till then, it’s just a dream.” Todd said, and stood up to leave. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I either have to go purge this breakfast or exercise for eight hours straight.”
Paul spent the next day thinking about Todd’s suggestion and had to admit, parts canlı poker oyna of it made sense. But the risk of total disaster loomed just as ominously. Paul figured it couldn’t hurt to locate him while he thought of what to do in the meantime. He went onto his computer and tried a name search for Dylan Boch. The only result was a business page which listed him as one of the engineers. A private email was listed so Paul sent him an email.
Dylan, Oct. 11, 2011 I hope this is the Dylan Boch from Denniston N.y. that I grew up with. My name is Paul Stark. I don’t know if you remember me. I came across your page and thought I’d say hi and ask how you were doing. Would love to hear back from you. Paul P.S. If this isn’t the same person, I apologize.
Paul knew it was the same man, there was a picture on the site of Dylan standing next to a building wearing a hard hat and a proud look on his face. He apparently had a lot to do with the construction of what looked to be an impressive structure. Paul’s heart leaped in his chest. He was still beautiful. The years had left their mark, as they had on his own body but Dylan was still Dylan. His brown hair had grayed a bit at the temples, his muscular chest and stomach carried a little more weight that it had thirty two years ago. But his beautiful green eyes still sparkled with boyish mischief and excitement. Paul felt himself thicken and undid his belt.
He unzipped his zipper and pulled his hard cock out of his pants. His hand wrapped tightly about himself as he stroked his shaft while gazing at the picture of the boy he loved, now a man. He imagined them in bed together, holding each other as they had that night. Pressing their hard bodies against each other. Paul moaned Dylan’s name and came hard as he stared into bright green eyes.
He took a tissue from the box on his desk and wiped himself off. Just as he threw the tissue away, he heard his email notify him that he had a waiting email. It was midnight and Paul tried to calm himself down telling himself that there was no way he could have gotten his message and responded so quickly. When he checked his inbox, he saw the familiar address he had just written to. He opened the email.
Paul! It’s great to hear from you! It’s also a little weird. I’ve been thinking of you lately. Wow man, I’m so glad that you wrote me! I’d love to hang out and catch up. Are you in the area still? I live in Albany, N.y. now. Hopefully, you’re not too far away and we can meet up. It’s really good to hear from you. Dylan
Paul was a little amazed by his luck. Albany wasn’t far from him at all. In fact, it was only an hour by thruway. He reread the email and noted how many times Dylan had mentioned that it was good to hear from him, though he still didn’t know if they shared the same memory of a special night on the mountain. Paul wrote back.
Dylan, I’m so glad it was you! I wasn’t certain. I live down near New Paltz so I’m not that far away and would love to get together and catch up. Let me know when you have some free time and either feel like coming down or I’ll come up there. I’m pretty free most of the time so whenever is good with me. Let me know and I’m looking forward to it. See you soon, Paul
Paul didn’t sign off and didn’t have to wait long before he received a response.
Paul, Again, this is weird. I’m going to be down in that area tomorrow. Feel like getting together?
Paul responded, typing with shaking hands.
Dylan, Absolutely. Here’s my cell phone number. Why don’t you give me a call tomorrow when you’re free. Paul
Paul, Will do, man! Should be clear around two. Will give you a call them. I’m looking forward to it too! Dylan
Paul signed off and went to bed but laid awake fighting against nerves for sleep. Sixty miles away, just outside of Albany, another man struggled for sleep.
Dylan walked into work and sat down at his desk with his cup of coffee and bagel. He was earlier than usual and had the office to himself, at least for another twenty minutes. He ate his breakfast, drank his coffee and read as much of the newspaper as he could stand before tossing it aside. The date loomed up from the front page stating Oct. 10, 2011 making Dylan sigh. `Where had the time gone?’, he wondered. He was just about to get to the work he had planned out on his desk, when he heard the outside door open and someone walk in. He looked up to see his secretary, Marge standing in the doorway.
“What are you doing here?” She asked.
She was an older matronly woman who had resigned herself to living a single life and totally dedicated it to work. She had only once taken a sick day in the twelve years she had worked for him and had to be threatened to use her vacation time. Though she was usually a gruff and grumpy sort of person, Dylan knew that she cared for him in a way they neither discussed.
“I couldn’t sleep. Thought I’d come in and get an early day.”
“Something bothering you?”
“No.” He said.
“Don’t bullshit me, Dylan. What it is?”
“Nothing. Really, Marge.”
“How long has it been, internet casino Dylan?”
“Since the divorce was final?” She said and Dylan sighed.
“And Jessica left you a year and a half before that.”
“Yeah, there abouts.”
“Any women since then?”
“One or two.” He answered honestly.
“You’re single, your wife left you two years ago and you’ve only had one or two women since then?”
“For Jessica? No. It’s not that. It’s-.” `The fact that nothing feels right and hasn’t for a long time’, Dylan thought to himself. “I don’t know what it is.”
“Well, you have to forget that bitch anyway. She ran out on you, not the other way around.”
“Actually Marge, I left her a long time before she ever left me. I’ve just never admitted that to anyone.”
“Well, either way you’re better off. Maybe, she did you a favor.” Marge sighed.
“When you’re feeling like this you have to get out of yourself, get out of your mindset. Go do something new, call an old friend. Maybe someone you grew up with.” Marge suggested.
Dylan thought. He knew where most of the people he grew up with were and didn’t want to call any of them. There was one person though, but he didn’t know where he was. Dylan hadn’t thought of Paul Stark in years.
“Yeah, maybe I will. But only after we stop bullshitting and get some work done today.”
“You’re the boss.” Marge said and headed to her own desk.
That night, Dylan headed home with some take out and ate his dinner watching t.v. His dog, an Australian Shepherd named Ralph, lay on the couch next to him waiting for some Chinese food to drop. A couple hours later, Dylan let Ralph out to do his business for the night and headed to bed. He closed his eyes and listened to Ralph’s snores before slipping away himself.
“Get up!” Came an irritating voice, interrupting Dylan’s sleep. “You’re not going to sleep the weekend away!”
If Dylan were more awake he would have remembered that his ex-wife Jessica had long since left him and that the voice didn’t even sound remotely like hers, but he was still half asleep and irritated to the point of anger.
“Shut the fuck up, I’m trying to sleep!!” He yelled and heard his bedroom door slam open.
Dylan’s eyes opened as he saw his mother rush into the room. Confusion and disbelief seized him as he stared up at her.
“What did you say?” She asked.
“You best pray that I don’t tell your father what I think you said. I’m going to let this one pass as if I misheard something but if it EVER comes out of your mouth again I’ll tell your father and hand him that strap to beat you senseless! Is that clear?!”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry.” Dylan said automatically.
“You’re damn right you’re sorry. Now get up this minute before I change my mind.” She turned on her heel and left the room. “I’ve had enough of you teenagers and your smart mouths!” She called back.
Dylan looked about him and saw his childhood room, the same dresser he had used until college, the same bed he had slept in till moving into the dorms. The quilt on the bed had been stitched by his grandmother and lost when his family had to leave their house to avoid the flood. Most of everything they had owned had been damaged or lost but here it all stood as if nothing had happened. And his mother had died about seven years ago in Florida, but there she was waking him up as if he were eighteen again.
Dylan walked over to the mirror above his dresser and saw a younger man looking back at him. He WAS eighteen again or at least he looked it. `What the hell was going on?’, he thought. He reached his hand up to run it over his face and jaw. Smooth skin and the recent growth of youthful stubble all pointed to his being younger. But that was impossible. He looked down and saw the straining of morning wood in his tightie whities. He wasn’t sure what was going on but decided to run with it until he was.
Dylan took a shower and dressed before heading downstairs. His mother was in the kitchen cooking breakfast while his sister set the table. He hadn’t even thought of Laura. She was now married with a couple of kids and was the principal of a high school on Long Island. His sister looked up and smirked.
“You look confused, Dylan.”
“I am confused.” He answered.
“Don’t bother your brother, Laura. He’s having a rough morning.” His mother scolded as she placed eggs and bacon on the table. She was obviously still pissed.
“Yeah, I’m sorry about that Mom.” He said.
“It’s forgotten. Now sit down and eat.”
It was an uncomfortable meal, eating with people who were now either dead or much older, but Dylan did his best to hide his discomfort. The radio filled the silence as they ate and Dylan only half paid attention until the news report came on. The announcer opened with the line;
“And here’s the news for Saturday May twelfth, nineteen seventy nine….”
Dylan frowned and once again, wondered what was going on. In nineteen seventy nine he had been hanging out with friends, getting ready to graduate high school and working in the store with his father. His father who was still alive in nineteen seventy nine.
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