Lies at the Funeral by Lance Polin
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Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.|
Time travel isn't supposed to be possible. It isn't. It really doesn't exist. No matter what I may have said (or might still claim again), I know that it's just a fantasy. It's one of those flights from reality that have landed me in the crazyhouse time after time after time.
I guess years ago I wanted to see myself as something special, as a person with a secret knowledge that could help me survive the world. I believed I could see through things, could see through time. I was a physics student in those days. I believed that anything was possible.
But then I started looking at history, at all the wars, all the crises. The world has been barbaric since the dawn of time. And I did not like the way this looked, or how it felt. They say that history repeats itself. Again and again and again.
My time traveling focused mostly on the past. I had yet to cross the line and see for myself, the future. And I resented my unwillingness to try this. I decided that my goal was to make accurate predictions on the coming disasters and nightmares by reading about how they'd already happened in a history textbook. I would underline passages like it was a secular bible. Because this once happened, I believed, things are bound to happen again.
This outlook can have a devastating impact on a person's life.
Every time my wife and I had one of our more frequent falling outs, yelling and screaming irrationally because we had grown to hate one another, every time after I believed she was about to leave me, I had a breakdown. I went into the hospital. I relaxed. Slept. I felt superior to all of the other crazy people. This was not a ploy to get my wife to hold onto our life together, a terror of loneliness and no hope at all. No. It was merely the diseased reaction I have always had to stress.
But then I had a breakthrough. I could see through time. There was a funnel through the past and into the future. It wasn't just that history repeated itself--history was parallel in different contexts. The world was an evolutionary repetition, survival of the fittest and all that other lazy bullshit . . .
I started predicting the future with more insight. I learned so much history I became like a time machine. And I was so insightful, that I came to believe that there was a very straight path to the corner of madness. I could understand everything. I could reconcile the actual motives of the past.
So I started wandering around like a prophet. I lost my job. I was repeatedly injured. I spent more than one night in jail, and I started drinking and getting high every single night (and in the daytime too). The world had become too much, too much, too much, too much . . .
And I escaped into the past, learning all about times every bit as corrupt as our own. Yet sometimes things go too far; you get too wrapped up in an idea and it blossoms into frantic insanity. If I could see the future, why couldn't I live there? If I could understand the past, what was to keep me from returning to it? Was time even real?
So yes, I went nuts, occasionally, until my wife finally decided she'd had enough. She dropped me off at the hospital and never came to visit me. She did not come to get me when I was released. I haven't seen my children since.
Now I sit here on my couch in the dark. I can see out the window. I hold a picture of my son in my left hand. And I return, once more, to the past, to the never was that fills my memories. And I remember back when my father died and all the lies we told at his funeral. I remember how much I wanted to tell the truth, how I wanted to say, "You know, he really was kind of an asshole."
We always tell lies at funerals because we need to misremember the past. And so it starts all over again . . .
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